Computerless in Radford: Dealing With Stressful Working Conditions

3 min read Living life without a personal computer for two days is unthinkable in this digital age, but I did that very thing.

Hands on computer

Photo Credit: (Glenn Carstens-Peters) Due to my incompetence, I was without my personal computer for several days recently.

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By Michael Aaron Coopersmith | mcoopersmith@radford.edu

Living life without a personal computer for two days is unthinkable in this digital age.

Due to my incompetence, I was without my personal computer for several days recently. There’s an unusual feeling of disconnectedness that travels over you.

However, for a second, it is liberating.

The feeling fades, though, and becomes replaced with pestering anxiety to adapt to the situation.

The feeling fades, though, and becomes replaced with pestering anxiety to adapt to the situation.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, computers have been a way for people to stay connected to the world. With our classes, friends, and co-workers all online, you’re stranded by not having a personal computer.

One might ask, “Why didn’t you just use your phone?” Unfortunately, my phone is currently malfunctioning, and can’t download more apps, so that is just one more predicament in this experience.

So, Zooming from my phone wasn’t an option for me. The next best option would be to operate out of the library and student media offices at Radford University – which I did.

My days would begin by waking up early enough to rush to the library and find a spot that wouldn’t be crowded, which would hopefully lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 in these public spaces.

I loaded up my backpack as best I could, filling it with books and work supplies, knowing that it would be nightfall by the time I could return to my apartment.

Hands on a computer
Photo Credit: (Christin Hume) All this culminated in finishing off my days staring into computer screens across campus.

Many students occupied McConnell Library’s main floor. I assume some were in the same position as me. Others just wanted to get out of their crowded dorms and still be productive.

I traveled up the stairs to the floor above the main level. Each level that was higher than the other has fewer students.

I ducked into the Harvey Knowledge Center for my first class, hoping to make it on time. It was to no avail.

The Apple computers in the center didn’t have Zoom on them, even though I was told they had Zoom installed in their system. Not wanting to have to try and find a computer that wasn’t in use, I gave up on making it to my class.

Not wanting to have to try and find a computer that wasn’t in use, I gave up on making it to my class.

The Harvey Knowledge Center had been my salvation – it provided me with a computer to get my work done. My usual practice of eating at my desk was just a memory.

I lived out of a vending machine for the time being. This practice was more out of convenience, yet eating was reserved for the room, storing the vending machines.

When the library would close around 10 p.m., I’d pack my things and wander over to the Student Media offices to finish any work I had left.

All this culminated in finishing off my days staring into computer screens across campus.

As I reflect on this experience, it seems that I rely heavily on procrastination. With a personal computer, I wait too late in the day to even consider doing work.

I was no longer working on my schedule, but a plan set by the building hours, much like a real office job, while surviving out of vending machines and sanity draining computers.