Shane Morehead, Staff Writer

While forms of mechanical pencils have existed for centuries, they’ve only become ubiquitous in schools recently. I’ve had moments where I look around and every single person in my class is using one. Since students started using them, many companies have been trying to outdo each other with new and supposedly better designs. The first patent for such a device called it the “Ever Pointed Pencil” because of the spring and replaceable graphite that eliminated the need for sharpening the pencil. I’d rather use a mechanical pencil than a regular wooden pencil. Somehow I always mess up when I sharpen a pencil.  The point either breaks the first time I use it or it’s not actually pointed. A disadvantage of mechanical pencils is that most of them are made primarily out of plastic. That takes petroleum to make, and when some kid throws it out, it’s not easy to get rid of it. Wood pencils take trees, clay, graphite, and aluminum to make so they’re not good for the environment either. In a perfect world where people don’t throw their mechanical pencils away and they pass them down to their kids as family heirlooms, mechanical pencils would be the better option. That’s not our world though, so without a well-funded research and a lot of data on the waste of both of them, there’s no way to know.  A problem that wood pencils bring to the classroom is that students get up every few minutes to sharpen their pencil. I remember my classmates in elementary school socializing at the pencil sharpener line. They would go there just to get up, not to actually sharpen their pencil. I’ve always held on to mechanical pencils for much longer than wooden ones. Something I enjoy about mechanical pencils is finding lost pencils on the floor and taking the graphite or eraser from them and using it for mine. I feel like a scavenger in a post-apocalyptic world where pencils determine your power. When I do eventually lose my mechanical pencil somehow, it feels weird to use a normal one again. Overall I prefer mechanical pencils to wooden ones.