You hear a lot of horror stories through the college grapevine: So-and-So got locked out of their room in their bath towel; there was an unplanned quiz in one of your classes, etc. Perhaps the most terrifying of all the stories you hear is the one about a computer crashing just hours before a 20-page dissertation is due. I always sympathized with these poor students who were doomed for a long night in the library frantically wracking their brain for details about their paper. I was thankful that I had never encountered that experience. Until one day when my world collapsed.

I spent spring break diligently working on projects and papers so I wouldn’t fall behind once the semester restarted. Each day of break, I would devote one hour to writing a few paragraphs of my paper for my poetry class. By the end of break, I had the entire project completed and felt quite proud of myself.

On the last day of break before returning to Gannon, I awoke and routinely reached for my laptop to check my e-mail. As I booted up my computer, it displayed a message about a fatal error being detected and the screen turned dark. Fatal error?! Desperately, I tried to restart my computer with no avail. Because I was still home for break I thought I should consult the most tech-savvy person I know before I officially announced the death of my computer.

I barged into my older brother Jeff’s room and begged him to try to fix my laptop. After a good 20 minutes of fiddling with the device, my brother somberly turned to me and said there was nothing else he could do. My beloved laptop was fried.

Because I was leaving for school in a few hours, there wasn’t enough time to get ahold of a new computer. My parents agreed to let me come home in two weeks to pick up a new computer, but this meant that I had to survive a whole 14 days without a laptop.

Luckily for me, I live adjacent to Nash Library and just down the street from the Power Room in Waldron Campus Center, so I’m not really ever that far away from a computer. Unfortunately, I only managed to save half of that poetry assignment I had been slaving over all spring break. Guess who is the poor student frantically rewriting their paper in the library now?

If there is one bright side to this whole situation, it’s that I am using my time a lot more efficiently since the loss of my laptop. I’m no longer aimlessly watching cat videos on YouTube when I should be writing a paper (mostly because I’m afraid of library patrons judging me).

If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s to always be prepared if and when the unthinkable happens. Always, always, always save your work on another device, such as a USB flash drive. You never know when disaster may strike.