Back(Up) to School: A Personal Story


It will soon be that time of year again for many of you—back to school time. As a student, myself, who’s interning at Backblaze over the summer, I know the hassle of back to school shopping. There are many things a student needs for the coming year of classes: an abundance of pencils, a reliable computer, and overpriced textbooks. However, one thing that many students don’t think about is backing up their computer. I would like to share a personal story of a time when cloud backup saved the day—or, more accurately, the night.

Back in my freshman year of undergrad at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, I took a course titled “The Computer in Business,” although it’s better known as K201, or by its notorious reputation as a terribly difficult weed-out class. The lab portion of the class primary revolved around nine large projects using either Microsoft Excel or Access. In K201, just like in most other courses, losing class files can be extremely hazardous to your grade. In fact, backing up files had been so highly recommended by the professors that it was even written into the syllabus and made a mandatory aspect of the course:

A student must always make and keep a backup copy of each graded project that he or she submits. Besides being good computing practice, it is required for this course.

It was the second to last week of the semester, and I was up late in my dorm room working on the final project for K201. As typical for a procrastinator like myself, I was chugging a Red Bull while frantically trying to finish the assignment before the 8 a.m. deadline the next morning. I sat there, struggling to understand why my Excel function was failing me. Then, suddenly, I had a revelation as to the cause of the error in my formula. In all the excitement, as I lurched towards the keyboard, I had a temporary lapse in spatial awareness, causing me to knock over my opened can of Red Bull directly onto my laptop, spilling the sticky, yellow energy drink everywhere. I froze. The computer froze. I went white. The computer went black.


Panic filled my whole body. I desperately lunged for the roll of paper towels sitting on the mini-fridge at the other side of the room. I did my best to soak up the copious amount of liquid engulfing my laptop. However, I knew it was futile. Step two of my master plan to rescue my computer’s dying hard drive was as follows: I propped my opened laptop up sideways on a chair with my plug-in fan blaring away at it on max settings. Step three was wait. However, around two minutes into step three, I became impatient and remembered the urgency of the rapidly approaching deadline. I had to abandon my laptop and find an alternative computer to work on the assignment.

It was only then that I realized that I had probably lost all my work. This last thought filled me with dread and despair. With very little hope remaining, I exited my room, proceeded down the hallway, descended the stairs, and made my way to the computer lab. I logged in to one of the available computers in my dorm’s study room, and I was about to open up a new, blank Excel spreadsheet, when I was abruptly stopped by a sudden realization. Backup! I had used backup software to save my files in the cloud. I was overjoyed. My cries of excitement cut through the room’s silence, startling the late-night studiers. After apologizing for my random outburst, I returned to my work. The others followed suit. I opened my browser and went directly to check if my project’s file had been backed up. It was! I felt as if I hadn’t saved the file in a quite a while, however when I opened up the Excel document it seemed to me that all my work had been saved. Well, nearly all, at least. That one pesky formula that I had been working on wasn’t there, but no matter—I now knew the proper function to use. Thanks to the cloud, I was able to finish my assignment in time despite the catastrophe that had destroyed my laptop.

I am immensely grateful because without my backup I would have been completely screwed. Backing up is absolutely essential for students, especially to keep those files from classes, clubs, and other extracurriculars safe and secure. You wouldn’t go to a Scantron test without an extra backup pencil, would you? So why would you keep important files on your computer without an external backup?

Got a school-related disaster/backup story you want to share? Send it to and we’ll compile some of our favorites and share them on our blog. Thanks.


About Ari Aisen

Ari was a Backblaze intern in 2016.