Do We Still Count?

Martha Armstrong, Assistant Editor

My vision of lounging under a tree on campus typing papers or studying was quickly replaced by the realities of waiting in line at the library for a computer to access the internet.  I have since learned that FMU has decided to expand Wi-Fi capability, and I applaud that effort.

When I first started as a commuter student, I had no idea that the Wi-Fi would become a daily headache for me and other students. Last spring year, I tried to download coursework in class, and the inability to access the internet has caused me to get behind in lectures. I invested in my laptop so that I would be able to do my schoolwork on campus as opposed to using the library computers. In fact, I have scrambled to complete my Blackboard assignments on time and have had to run, yes run, to the library to email my assignments on time because I could not access the Wi-Fi on campus.

Nevertheless, as my frustration with the wireless network grew, my ability to connect had also gotten noticeably worse.  Last spring, I would sit in my vehicle in the parking lot well before my next class to do assignments on Blackboard. After a few weeks of receiving the error message: “Connection Timed Out. Please Try Again,” I gave up on the parking lot. Thinking that I was receiving this message because I was too far away, I would walk inside only to be greeted with the same error.

Do I rely on internet access too much in planning my day? Possibly. However, we are in the 21st century where calendars and to-do lists are synced; we trade emails instead of phone numbers, and much of our class assignments professors are assigned online.

Yet, just looking around campus, one cannot miss the students on their cell phones listening to Pandora or checking their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Perhaps the Wi-Fi system overloaded.

I do understand, however, that unless any problem is made aware to the proper department, nothing can be done about it, which is why I breathed a sigh of relief when The Patriot reported in January that FMU is undergoing expansion to the school’s internet access in the dormitories. I also heard through the grapevine that FMU was adding Wi-Fi to the apartments on campus as well. This shows that FMU is responding to the demands of the on-campus students.  I commend that effort, but, what about us – the commuters? Do we still count?