|WhatsApp group chats are a dangerous place. A lazy question can turn into a heated argument within a few messages. Snarky students and the always super clear communication of the UvA makes for a lot of confused questions and passive aggressive answers. While I’m only a part of the WhatsApp group for third years, I imagine that this also goes on in the years below us. Every time I’ve heard people complain that their assignment had suddenly vanished, their laptop crashed or their project disappeared into thin air and where in need of extra time, I’ve thought to myself ‘That’s their own fault, you should be able to save a file and keep track of it if you’ve made it to university.’ I’ve always thought that I was in the category that was able to see through the confusing bureaucratic mess that makes up our beloved university, and therefore it should come as no surprise that I have finally dropped the ball myself: it’s unday evening, and the 3000 words I worked so hard on for the past week have suddenly disappeared. The deadline is Wednesday 23:59.
Aside from a lesson in humility, which I sorely needed if I look back at some of the things I’ve said, it has also shown me that I am not as tech-savvy as I thought I was. After the initial shock of coming back to an empty file where my shitty nine pages words had been just before I went off to dinner had worn off, I tried all the ways I knew to find my precious collection of words. Restarting my laptop, checking the bin and basically every other way google suggests to make lost files reappear. As my despair was starting to grow and after I had slowly debated offering my soul to the devil in exchange for a fully written paper on the municipality’s policy to reduce the shortage in teachers, I had to make a choice: was I going to try and finish this 5000 word monstrosity in 3 days, starting from scratch and probably make it a rushed mess? Or was I going to write my tutorial teacher and beg him for more time so I could make sure those words actually made some sense?
I still don’t know what caused it. Some friends see this as an opportunity to finally get me to get rid of the laptop that I got for my 17th birthday and am still using over five years later. Some put the blame on my girlfriends family, who where the only people in the room at the time of the incident. I think that what I chose to do in the end doesn’t really matter or interest you, but maybe we should all try to be a bit more helpful and less judging in those oh so friendly group chats in the future. Even tough it might not look like it, it can actually happen to everybody.