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College is hard: From getting a bad grade on a midterm or having a seemingly endless amount of problem sets and essays to do, there are a myriad of stress-inducing adversities to  overcome. One of the worst challenges a Princetonian can face is attempting to tackle this stress without access to a laptop. This challenge is one you will likely face if you ever need to get your laptop fixed at the Office of Information Technology.

OIT is a great resource. The technicians are more than accommodating, and they succeed in helping any and all students. But, OIT needs more loaners to make this process a little easier on students who do face technical problems. Often OIT cannot help students immediately, and the process can take hours, days, or even weeks. Sometimes OIT can offer students a computer on loan, which they can use until their own is returned. But OIT does not have a sufficient supply of loaner computers to meet the demand of students with laptop issues. This leaves many Princetonians attempting to tackle the challenges of everyday life without the ability to do work and to do so efficiently.

If this has ever happened to you, you know how hard it is to get your work done without ready access to a laptop. College is almost impossible without a laptop, and searching for a place to do your work takes time out of your already busy schedule.

First you must find the nearest computer cluster. And even when you do, there is no guarantee that any of the computers will work or be available for use. At this point, it is intuitive to wonder, “Why not just get a loaner computer?” While this may seem like the easiest fix, getting a loaner at Princeton is no easier than using computer clusters.

I stopped by recently to get my laptop fixed at OIT, and they said that it would take three or four days before I could get it back. Thinking about all the essays and homework assignments that I had due, I asked if there were any loaner laptops that I could use. To my surprise, they said that they had a limited amount of loaner computers and they saved them for students who needed repairs that would take a couple of weeks or more.

While the technicians do promise to get your device to you as soon as possible, even a few days without a laptop can cause you to fall behind in classes.

Easier access to loaner computers would ensure that students’ academic performance isn’t put at risk because of something as trivial as a technical problem.

If your laptop does break, it’s not the end of the world. Computer clusters are a functional last resort, and tech services do all they can to make sure everyone has access to the tools they need to succeed. However, considering the fact that the University has been known to hold students’ academic achievements in high regard, there is no reason why they shouldn’t use their great endowment for this cause. Something as necessary and as trivial as a lack of loaner computers can be fixed by investing in more laptops for students to take when they do not have access to their own.

Lourdes Santiago is a first-year from Gilbert, Ariz. She can be reached at lourdess@princeton.edu. 

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