This is a story of lost assignments….
It was early March and the day had started like any other day in Bangkok, Thailand…
I woke up by sunrise, walked down a dilapidated side street to fetch myself an ice coffee and a fresh fruit shake. Spirits were exceptionally high this morning, and I was feeling good. The forecast this morning were beautiful clear skies with a high of 35. It was a good day.. a productive feeling day, if you will. After a slow waltz back to my hostel, I grabbed my 2 travel bags…
Before I continue with this story lets first take a few step back before moving forward. You may be wondering what would lead a Laurentian student to Thailand? And rightly so. Well here’s the nutshell version of my past several months:
I’m currently exchanging abroad at the beautiful University of Tubingen in Germany. The semester breaks in Germany are quite different to what we have at Laurentian. Here we have mid February – mid April free from classes. However, we often times will have independent assignments that need to submitted (I’ll come back to this later in the story). I have been once to Thailand before to teach and travel and have decided to return and do the same while also completing 2 research papers for my host university. Click the link HERE for some more information on teaching abroad.
Now you have some backstory. So back to the story
….I grabbed my 2 travel bags…
One with my life essentials; laptop, chargers, and my hard drive. And the other with my passport, clothes and a few toiletries. And then I was off! Like a sloth in a steam room I winded down a side street to the intersection where I was to meet the infamous BTS Sky train.
We darted down the track station to station, every second on the train I spent welcoming the frosty air. I was now feeling cool and ready to conquer the day.
After my time spent enjoying the A/C that come free with the cost of fare I was off again; like an Olympic speed walker, strategically worming my way through the traffic to my next air conditioned room. The cool air was calling my name. And I made it! DING DONG, the sound of the opening 7/11 doors welcomed me with a shot of cool air…
There are over 8,000 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand, of which half are in Bangkok! Really, the density of these stores in the Thai capital is amazing. Wherever you are in Bangkok you will find a 7-Eleven store nearby; some even say you will find one within a 5 minute walk from anywhere…. “actoftraveling.com“
…I grabbed my second daily ice coffee and I was out the door and into line where I queue for the minibus that will take me to next destination; where I was to be staying with a Thai family.
Waiting in line I sparked up a conversation with a Thai woman. I said a few of the phrases I knew and she giggled and that was it; the bus had arrived. I then reached down to grab my laptop bag, and it wasn’t there. It had vanished. And with it my spirits, because I knew my final 2 term papers were due the following week. And that missing bag, and the contents within it were my many months of hard work.
The following minutes I am sure you can imagine the feelings. Those of disgust, panic and disappointment. But as unexpected things happen, and lost work is not the worst thing that could happen to a traveling student, I was managing my emotions.
Now if you have made it this far in the post I would like to offer you what we as university students like to call a “recommendation” or a “how to not be like me”.
Below are a few of my “how to not be like me’s”:
- Keep your electronics safe (not to be confused with “save” which I’ll mention in literally the next point)
- Save your work to an online portal (dropbox)
- Email to yourself
- Use an external hard drive
- Watch the below video
- Discover Parkinson’s Law..
The moral of the story:
I imagine a few different reactions to this post. Some of you may have learned from my unfortunate circumstance and are now scrambling to load all your work onto a recoverable internet based medium. However, some might just be thinking of how ignorant I must have been to let this happen. No matter your personal feelings to this post, what I feel we could all benefit from is the realization that the University Experience, and the factors that makes it purely individual and special for each student is of particular importance.
Let me try to explain.
University provides us with many of the building blocks of our future. We learn how to critically think as individuals and along with this, our character can grow. With this being said, university is not easy; but if we were able to do it exclusively without any outside forces acting upon us, I beg to differ. So what I try to explain to you now is that the university experience is not only one of books, assignments and time spent within the confining “bubble” that is a “university”; but also a mix of external and unexpected, unavoidable moments. This for me was losing my computer, and with it my hard work. For you it may be completely different. A loss of loved one, or struggling with self image. In any case, these individual “growing” experiences make the university experience much more important than the accolade that is the diploma.
In closing I would like to congratulate all the Laurentian students on another year. Kudos to you. The university road is not a well traveled one. It is individual unto yourself. Make the best of it. Welcome the unexpected, it is all part of the experience.
And for those who are wondering. I found an internet cafe and spent the next 7 days working tirelessly to complete the 2 papers. They were eventually completed, and handed in by their respective due dates.