I am sharing this story today to prevent all future students from making the same mistake I did only two short years ago. It was second year of university and I had my first big paper to write. It was 20 pages long for a Child and Youth Studies course, and although I had written quite a few essays first year, nothing came close to what I was expected to do in this second year course.
The paper took me three months to write, including research, drafting, and finalizing my work. It was due on a Monday at the end of November, and I finished the Thursday before. I was so proud of myself! I not only wrote an awesome paper, but I actually finished early. After making my final edits, I saved my work and carried on with my day, happy that a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders.
Friday evening I was heading to a concert in Toronto when I had to look something up on my lap top. As the computer turned on, a sad little computer man came up on the screen that looked like this:
Letting out a nervous laugh, I tried to restart my computer to no avail. After taking my laptop to I.T. Services at Brock, they referred me to the Mac Outpost Store (sounding very doubtful all the while) in St. Catharines. When the Mac Outpost people told me that my computer had fried, and that the best chance I had would be to pay $600 and send my laptop to Japan, with only a slim chance of even some of my files being recovered, and that it could potentially take weeks to hear the results, I cried. Not just a few tears either: a full fledged sob-fest. Not only had I lost my hard drive, all my lecture notes from the semester, and another 10 page paper, but I had lost my 20-pager that had taken me months to create, and was due in only 2 days.
After I pulled myself together I had a decision to make. I could either wallow in my sorrows all weekend and not hand in the paper (subsequently failing the course) or I could focus, lock myself in the library for 48 hours and get-er-done. I chose the latter. I did go to the concert, in case you were wondering, as I figured I wouldn’t have the mental capacity to write after the evening’s traumatizing events, anyway. Aside from the concert, I truly don’t remember that weekend. All I know is that I turned into a robot, got little sleep, and ended up with a 20 page paper at the end of the 48 hours.
As I visited all of my professors the following week, explaining to them that I had lost all of my lecture notes, I got some sympathy, but the same response every time: why didn’t you back up your files? My answer: I thought my laptop was invincible? That kind of stuff doesn’t happen in real life? DON’T KNOW!?
So… the moral of this long story is to back up everything. ESPECIALLY if you type your lecture notes. Invest in an external hard drive. It’s sooooo worth it. Learn from my mistakes, and don’t let this happen to you!