Students spend a huge amount of time writing essays, reports, dissertations, and other written work. It is a big part of many academic courses, so no student wants to boot up their computer to discover their essay has gone up in virtual smoke.
Dealing with the Pain
If you have ever lost several days’ worth of work to an IT failure, you will know how frustrating and stressful it can be. The last thing any sleep-deprived – and hungover – student needs is to have to rewrite their college dissertation from scratch, the night before it is due. Even if you have your notes, it won’t be an easy task. It is also unlikely that the college will give you a deadline extension if the problem is IT related.
The best way to prevent this kind of issue from causing you untold stress is to put precautionary measures in place. In this post, we are going to look at a few things you can do.
Invest in Good Quality Equipment
Cheap IT equipment has a shorter shelf-life than more expensive brands. You may not be able to afford a new MacBook but try and buy the best quality laptop or tablet you can afford. Cheap brands come with cheap components, which are more susceptible to failure. Read reviews before you buy and make sure the brand you go with has a good reputation for reliability.
Once you have invested in a good quality, reliable brand, implement the following steps:
Always back up your files at least once a day. It is a lot easier to re-do a document if you have only lost a few hours work rather than several weeks’ worth of painstaking effort. Cloud backups are the most efficient, as they happen in the background. There are several services you can choose from, including LiveDrive, MozyHome, and iDrive. Choose the one that best suits your requirements. Some offer free storage and others are run on a subscription basis. Unless you want to back-up a ton of media content, a free service should suffice.
Work in the Cloud
Working in the Cloud is a useful tool for college students. You can write essays on Google Docs and all your data is safe from IT disasters. You can even invite other people to collaborate on your files or make edits. However, if you are required to submit work in MS Word, you will need to copy and paste your work into a .docx file, which screws up the formatting.
Work in DropBox
Dropbox is another useful Cloud storage system, but unlike other apps, you can work on documents in Dropbox, which means they are automatically backed up each time you save the file. There is a limit on how much data you can store in Dropbox for free, but you earn extra storage capacity each time you install Dropbox on a new device.
Finally, emailing work to yourself is a quick and easy way to back up an important file. Files are also time-stamped, which is handy if you need to prove you wrote the document.