This isn’t something I was broadcasting up until now because the thought of it made me completely sick. Even worse, the thought of what could have happened instead made me feel like I wanted to die.
On January 20, we had the day off from school for MLK day, so I was working on my BFA at home, sitting on the couch in my living room. Since October, I have been using my external hard drive for my files, since the flash drive I had been using broke and I hadn’t had a chance to buy a new one (or was too lazy to do so). So I just figured I would use the external hard drive in the meantime. Not only were my current working files on the hard drive, but all of my past work from school and my various jobs was also stored there. I set my laptop on the coffee table, my external hard drive sitting on the keyboard while I adjusted my position on the couch, or went to the bathroom or something. I don’t know what I was doing, but for some reason I had to set my laptop on the coffee table. When I reached for it again to set it on my lap to continue working, the external hard drive slipped from its place on the keyboard and fell onto the hardwood floor of my living room. Though the space between my coffee table and the floor is only about a foot and a half, the hard drive was damaged beyond what I could do to fix it. I attempted to plug it in multiple times on different computers, but none of them would read it. My boyfriend helped me take the hard drive out of its plastic casing and we hooked it up to an actual hard drive reader, but it could not read the drive either. This ruled out that the internal components of the drive were damaged, and it would have to be recovered.
If it’s possible to call me lucky in any way from this event, it’s because of when it happened. January 20 was the second week of this semester and I was not very far in the production stages of my BFA. I had done all the research and submitted my proposal, and I had both of those [very important] documents saved elsewhere. I lost a lot of my pre-production work, but most of it was enclosed within the proposal anyway. I was heartbroken in many ways because I had lost everything that I had ever done in undergrad, including a project that I had yet to send to one of the researchers I was working for. I was so devastated, but the more I thought about it, I wondered if it was a good thing that it happened to me. If I hadn’t dropped my hard drive and lost all that work, I would have continued to recklessly use it on a daily basis. The same thing could have happened much later into the semester — much deeper into the production of my BFA. I could have actually lost the entire nearly finished BFA project. And what would I have done then? I couldn’t graduate without it.
Potentially losing my life’s work has been a huge wake-up call for me because I’ve been so much more aware of how I save/organize my files and where I store them after they’re finished. When your teachers tell you to back up your files, no matter what your profession, DO IT. Don’t think that you’re on top of your shit and it won’t happen to you. I am so completely neurotic and picky about being organized, but disasters still happen. I kept telling myself that I would get a second hard drive and that I would use it solely for finished projects/backup/storage, but it was always “tomorrow” or “when I get paid next.” I never dreamed that it might be too late.
And here I am now, paying upwards of $1500 to get the files back. I’ve had the worst experience dealing with this data recovery company. Every deadline they’ve given me has been completely wrong and exaggerated. After I first dropped off the hard drive, they said they would be in touch with the initial diagnosis within two days, three at the latest. It took them a week to call me, and only after I called them first to ask. After the diagnosis was made and I was given a quote for the recovery price, they said the recovery would take up to two weeks, but I just received a call from them today, almost two months later. In the meantime, I caught up with almost everything that I needed to crucially finish. It has been such a hassle, and it might seem like it isn’t worth it, especially for the huge invoice. But hey, that’s what rainy day funds are for, right?
Backup your files, kids.
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May have gotten a freelance job. Let’s hope she doesn’t expect “student” pricing.
Smoke bomb, Kim Keever
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