Network Connection Not Found: An Internet Horror Story

Accessing the Internet on campus is more difficult than it sounds and some students attending Shepherd can speak of the difficulties while trying to use this college necessity.

Just take a jaunt stroll to the bottom floor of Scarborough library to the User Support Desk. There you will often discover a queue of students, many with laptop in hand, with one common question: how do I access the Internet?

It’s safe to say that I can be classified as one of those students that most certainly do not hold the Internet systems on this campus in high regard and after hearing my Internet horror story, I’m sure you will understand why.

During my freshman year at Shepherd University in 2010, I was filled with a range of emotions. Of course, I was ecstatic to be starting a new chapter in my life, but just like any other incoming college student, I had concerns and expectations for my new life at college as well. Considering the lofty prices for tuition and room and board, I never expected that having unlimited access to the World Wide Web from my new residence at Thatcher Hall would be next to impossible in the 21st century. It most certainly was.

Within the first few days of living at Shepherd, I concluded that it was naïve of me to think that I could simply access the Internet by logging onto my brand new laptop and clicking the Internet explorer icon on my desktop. WiFi was not provided in the residence halls at the time. I learned that an Ethernet cable was needed to gain connection. I immediately purchased one, thinking this would be the secret to my success as it relates to accessing the Internet.

My attempt proved to be insufficient and the “No Internet Access” icon remained at the bottom right corner of my screen. Several weeks into my freshman year, I was made aware of a place where I could seek assistance for my internet issues: the User Support Center in the Scarborough Library. Upon my first visit there, I found a line of distraught students that stretched from one end of the room to another. The sight resembled a line of passengers waiting to board a plane or a typical day at the DMV.

After idling in line for more than an hour, I was finally attended to by an IT Services staff member. I asked for assistance only to be given directions about downloading software to confirm its compatibility. Without getting too technical the download was unsuccessful and despite the work of several IT Services staff members, none could rectify my Internet headaches.

Simply put, despite paying so much for my college education and querying help from numerous sources, I spent my entire freshman year at Shepherd without Internet access from my dorm room.

In order to complete assignments and access commonly used online learning programs such as SAKAI, my iPhone and computers in the library (when available) were my only options. It is safe to say that my education was hindered and my ability to complete assignments that required the Internet was limited at best.

Stories like mine are not hard to come by among Shepherd students and even though some improvements have been made since 2010, such as making wireless internet available in several residence halls, many still face unnecessary struggles when trying to get on the internet.

The process to get online at Shepherd, which I have in part described for you, is extensive and ineffective. Available computers in the library and around campus seem to always be in short supply. Moreover, when access to the Internet is eventually gained, prepare to endure more impediments such as very slow Internet speeds and freezing screens.

In today’s society, especially while attending college, Internet access is critical to success; however, in my humble opinion, Shepherd is unable to effectively provide it.

In order to prevent my experience from happening to another student and to change the opinion of many other students like myself on the issue of Internet access at this campus, Shepherd University must make the problems and obstacles with Internet access a priority immediately. Too many students are affected negatively by the tribulations caused from computers and Internet connections and in the year 2013, and it is completely unacceptable.

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