One of the first things I learned about computers was to save my work frequently. We had a motto in my elementary computer class “Control S will save the day.”
I was instructed to save my work every time I made a change, or at least once every 5-10 minutes. Although that might seem ridiculously obsessive, it eventually made saving my work into a habit.
Even now I don’t think about it. I consistently save my work, the same way I buckle my seatbelt when I get in the car. It’s just part of the process.
However, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I learned simply saving my work wasn’t necessarily enough. After all, no matter how many times you update a saved file on your computer it’s still only accessible from one system. You can save all you want, but if something happens to that computer…
Trust me, that wasn’t an easy lesson to learn. It just so happened that I learned it in the middle of my second semester just two days before my English midterm was due. I had already completed the essay; it just needed a little bit of editing and I would turn it in. Until my friend accidentally knocked a soda onto my computer creating a sticky disaster.
I couldn’t access any of the files of my computer. All of my work was gone. The soda had done it’s job well, destroying my hard drive and taking everything from my English essay to my uploaded photos.
My professor wasn’t pleased to hear my plea for an extension. She pointed out that it was my fault I didn’t have another copy. I could have easily emailed the document to myself or saved it on a thumb drive. I hadn’t put forth the effort to ensure my english essay was ready.
So I got to spend all night in the library pulling together an essay that wasn’t as well written or as well researched as the original. Life just isn’t fair.
But I did learn my lesson. I no longer just save my work. I store an additional copy somewhere else. Either through a computer back-up service, or just by emailing the latest copy to myself.