In today’s society, it almost seems absurd to say that some people do not have the privilege of owning their own computers, smart phones, or having any access to the Internet for that matter. I have been fortunate enough to grow up with access to these technologies, and I rarely considered not having these opportunities until taking this course. Very few times when I sit down on my computer, or phone, or television, do I think that I am lucky to be able to utilize these devices. Even in classrooms, if you were to take a look around the room, at least half the class is generally fixated on some sort of screen, whether it is a note taking device or a distraction, it is uncommon to have everyone fully in the moment. While thinking about these technologies as a privilege, I also have to take a moment to realize what my life would be like without them.
With access to the Internet, I have been able apply to colleges, keep in touch with people thousands of miles away from me, access school assignments, look for jobs and internships, and simply browse the web. Without a computer, phone, or Internet access, I would not have been able to apply to as many colleges as I did, or maybe even apply at all. Yes, I may have been able to go to a public library and use their computers for a fixed amount of time, but I would not have had the luxury to perfect my essays, bring my computer to meet with my college counselor, research each school, and submit my applications, all on my own time. It is hard to think about certain people around the world that are smart and driven enough to go to a 4-year university, yet have to go through leaps and bounds simply to apply. Additionally, without the Internet or these devices, I would have lost so many connections while being at school. Some friendships don’t need to be in constant communication, but having the ability to communicate with my friends at home while I’m a 3-hour plane ride away is pretty amazing. I also talk to my parents and siblings on a daily basis and it is so hard to think that not everyone can Facetime while walking to class, or just check in whenever need be. UT and many other schools use websites like Canvas to assign or submit assignments constantly, and without the Internet this would not be possible. Also, when I search for summer internships, I need to submit my resume, which I created on my computer. I then have either a phone or skype interview, which I need a smart phone or Internet access to complete. After that, I keep in contact with them via email or phone call. All of these steps would not be possible without the technology I am able to use. Lastly, I spend a great deal of my free time online. Whether it may be shopping, watching Netflix, on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pintrest, or BuzzFeed, I am almost always consumed by a screen.
Nowadays people constantly talk about utilizing networks or creating networks in college that will be important all throughout life. Well, these networks would not be possible if we did not have Internet access. Although there are many aspects of the Internet that seem to be a constant worry that continues to grow, people need to take a moment to think about the opposite end of the spectrum. While these scary security thoughts are very important and should constantly be on the top of everyone’s mind, imagine a world in which we did not have to worry about Internet surveillance because we did not have any Internet. That seems like a whole other world that we rarely consider. After taking this course I have come to realize that these communication devices are something I truly take for granted and really should appreciate.