While I was in high school I was much engrossed in science fiction, especially those under the themes of cyberspace. I chanced upon a secondhand book, a collection of short stories entitled Live Without A Net. And I bought it. The stories there center on the theme the title suggests—a future without cyberspace, without virtual reality, without the Web. And it made me think: what would happen to a world without the Internet? That seems impossible of course, but for a while I faced a dilemma similar to that.
I remember a time during my recently-concluded 2nd year in college (first semester in particular) when I had no access to the Internet at home due to some lapses in payment, which later on turned out to be some sort of misunderstanding in how much to pay. It hasn’t been easy to be away from the World Wide Web for months, but I managed to get through it, and I learned much from the experience.
From September until the middle of November last year, there was no Internet in the house. I had to endure academic life without easy access to the Internet, so I had to find it elsewhere (and that was tedious). That meant lending saved money for it and spending spare time for it, either at the library or the computer shop. But there's no way—it seems to me—to get connected with my classmates and do most of my schoolwork but online. Besides, our aged PC is slow and broken, and I didn’t have a laptop to use for a while. And when I have had one again, there was still no Net.
So, after lunch I often extended my stay in the city for at least 2 more hours either in the library or the computer shop near the campus. Sometimes I went right away back home and, upon arriving, went out again to one of the two computer shops I know in the neighborhood. On one of them I even had my usual seat. I brought with me my 4 GB USB, my headphones, and necessary notes, even my planner. I would try to stay online at the least possible time, but it usually went from two to three hours. Sometimes four.
At the comp shop, I usually would open Google Chrome (or Mozilla Firefox) and Microsoft Word. Often there’s music on the background, care of YouTube.
That 1st semester, I had a lot to do on Word. From research inputs for Marketing; project proposals for Broadcast Media; to scripts for a video project on Natural Science; to more researches and write-ups on Asian History and even NSTP.
Of course, I also logged on to Facebook. Aside from scrolling the News Feed, I got information about assignments or announcements on our block’s group page. Our block's communication, when out of the class, is heavily relied online (social media in particular).
I also contacted my classmates/groupmates there about tasks we or I had to accomplish on our projects. For instance, since I lead a part of our block—the research part of our block’s broadcast plan (our major project on Broadcast Media)—I, as my fellow leaders did, created groupchats (which I call group threads) and group pages on Facebook. There I posted announcements and pleaded them to comment a word of my choice in response to that post (for example: 'Chow!' or 'Checkmate'). We also send and gather personal outputs either on those places. Moreover, I collaborated with my fellow leaders or groupmates on Google Docs.
On several occasions, a time would be set for the group (or the block) to show up on the groupchat on Facebook, and meet up about a major project. I even remember a time when I went back home early before traffic builds up, because I had to be online at about 6pm. No time to rest for a while upon arriving home. but on ?
This change in my routine was a trade-off, a sacrifice. Instead of commuting back home after lunch
and do schoolwork at home (as planned), I would go to the library or the shop the whole afternoon. Sometimes I would reach evening, and I reached home at around 7 to 9pm. Or when I would go home then out again to a shop, I returned home at around the same times. In fact, instead of having money saved for Christmas, I had to sacrifice it to accomplish necessary work online. It seems that everything’s online.
A college student doing much research, paperwork, and group work, the World Wide Web was a necessary resource for finding and gathering information, producing outputs, and connecting and communicating with people.
Maybe I’m so late to state, but indeed times have changed. This is a time where the generation of people—I included—are living with the Internet as necessary as the radio in the 20th century or the cellphone at the present. It has become the primary means of connection and a source of information (aside from the library) these times. Internet has already been an essential for students!
It’s been considered a tremendous and valuable resource these days. It shouldn’t be ignored, however, that the library is also an essential for a student, especially in research. (I even consider it’s contents like treasures in a mine) Yet the sources of Internet are necessary to be integrated with whatever you find in a library, because the Internet has much recent material, be it articles, and even video and audio clips.
Unless anything else gets you busy, the Internet is even the stuff of the day, usually on rainy and stormy days. Isn't it good to be in the house during the typhoon, just to stay dry and safe? You even have the extra time to finish remaining loads of schoolwork. But now, without the Internet, living the day appears to be almost boring! And the day is almost lost in direction, unless you have come up with things to get you busy again. If there was only the zeal to read the book, or a station similar to UK’s BBC Radio 4...
Apparently, I did miss the Internet very much. But I’m thankful that this sort of sacrifice I did for a large part of my 1st sem paid off. I passed and survived the sem, earning a harvest that I should be thankful for. Besides, it seems that at the end of every sem, what matters is that you’ve survived.
I was also glad the Internet was accessible again at the comforts of the home before the semester ended, just in time for the semester’s most pressing outputs I had to accomplish (and cram, sadly) with my classmates numerous kilometers away. The Internet provider was replaced, and I find the service efficient enough.
Sometimes we have to face such challenges. In these kind of circumstances we learn to make ways and take alternatives. It’s like the rats in a maze searching for cheese around the different parts of the maze when the cheese in one part was gone. Besides, it helps to take a break from the Net once in a while—even more than that.
The current challenge for me, now as I have been accessing the Internet, has been to manage the time and content I consume online. Why? Sometimes, going online gets you nowhere, letting time pass away without any productivity. Here is another struggle, and it is real.
You reader, have you ever had that experience of having to find Internet access away from home? How would you face a day (or more) without the Internet? I want to hear from you.