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Computer on the Fritz
By Elizabeth Horner
Teen Scribe

Recently, I suffered a great loss, or at least it felt that way. Our home computer with internet access protracted the electronic version of severe stomach-flu virus that just won’t go away. I am without e-mail… fanfiction… and even plain old Google. We need to call the electronic doctor again, only after 3 days of what appeared to me to be a full recovery! It reminds me of the old saying that sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until it is gone. I really feel the absence of easy access to the internet in my life. I’ve never had to experience the world as it was before the internet technology, before the revolution that called for an easier, faster, cooler, and smarter connection to the world.

I don’t know what it’s like to tough it out like my grandparents did, with hand-written work, using volumes of books or the Encyclopedia to write a short high school research paper, or draw my own lines to make graphs or hand-draw to illustrate something instead of finding suitable pictures on the web. In spite of the inconvenience that comes with trekking outside our home to use the computer at a friend’s house or from the Greenville Public Library, there was just no way I could function cut off completely from this technology --- at least not if I want to continue to maintain the activities I am involved in or even to keep up with school requirements and maintain good grades. It has become a staple of my daily living.

Our new standard for the expediency with which something can be accomplished and the amount of work we each need to do in a day have increased as technology has become more advanced. It makes it hard for those who are without a computer and internet access to keep up with the demands of time, and remain a part of this modern life.

One of the biggest godsends that came to me while I was mourning over my return to the Dark Ages is the 2 hr. internet and computer pass available at the Greenville Public Library five days a week. Putting forth an effort to make efficient use of my time, I’ve been able to get almost all of my work done, Monday through Friday. But then weekends were a problem. Mom and I had to call in favors from friends. But whatever method I tried, it made me feel stressed out and pressured for time--- it was not the ideal way to study!

I did get some good news soon after – a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. The library changed its hours and is now open on Saturdays too! When this stint sans technology passes, I will walk away with a new appreciation for the dedication of those students without great resources who still strive to make the grades. I want to hand out my sincere thanks to the Greenville Public Library staff for giving students a place to seize the opportunities technology provides us.

As I feel the mouse and keyboard these days, I see it with a different level of respect especially after the recent event in Egypt. At the same time, something within me screams that we can’t lose our resourcefulness or our ability to do things in the old-fashioned way. Electronic devices may hold the key to a productive modern life and store all the knowledge we have gained, as was demonstrated by Watson’s, a robotic contestant on Jeopardy victory over two human returning champions … but may we as humans, who have been granted the wisdom to know how to use it, proceed with great care too, so that it does not ultimately destroy us.


 
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