How BYU students survive sans laptops


It seems like owning a laptop is a must for some college students, but others are doing just fine without.

Students who don’t own personal computers find different ways to get their homework done and to keep up to date.

Scott Edwards, a sophomore from Provo majoring in English, said one of the reasons he won’t own a laptop is because it creates a big distraction and other problems.

“I don’t believe in any disadvantages of not owning a computer,” he said. “I do homework at school, which helps me stay on campus to get work done. When I get older, I don’t want any of my family members to have a private computer. There is always a temptation there.”

Benjamin Black, a junior majoring in Japanese from Boise, Idaho, said he is looking into a new laptop at some point but thinks there isn’t an enough reason to purchase one right now.

“Laptops are considerably overpriced when compared with a desktop of comparable quality,” he said. “I built my own desktop, which, when compared to a laptop in the same price range, has a lot more processing power, larger hard drive, more RAM and and a 40-inch 1080p monitor. All said and done, it cost about the same as a MacBook Pro.  Another reason I don’t own a laptop is to ensure I don’t get distracted in class checking Facebook or other things. There are times, however, when it would be super convenient to have a laptop to check on assignment due dates or send a quick email, especially when all the computers in the library are being used.”

The Office of Information Technology offers more than 360 laptops and even more desktops, including PCs and Macs. More than 1,100 students per year rent computers. The OIT still continues to increase its supply each semester.

Daryl D. Mastin, a manager of Student Computer Support at the OIT, said BYU sends the best BYU surplus computers to rent for students.

“We want students to have a good experience using our computers,” he said. “Often students start by renting a computer. That way, once they have been accepted into a specific academic program, they can purchase the best computer for their field of study.”

Despite the advantage of renting a computer, Mastin said the biggest constraint is the shortage of Mac computers.

“We have so few available, and more students are requesting them,” he said.

John Matson, a senior majoring in actuarial science from Murrieta, Calif., said he has been renting a PC desktop for three years from the OIT.

“I’d rather not spend my money on a laptop until I get a job,” he said. “If there (are) any problems, they can just fix it for you. They also have update software for you already. Only problem with not owning my own computer is that if I have any personal documents, then I need to put in my 8 gigabyte flash-drive. If I really need those documents, I back it up in my email.”

Casandra Friend, a senior from San Diego, Calif., majoring in medical laboratory, said she has many quizzes and tests she has to take on a computer and feels stressed and tired if she can’t come home to study in a comfortable place while she eats food.

“I can’t live without a computer,” she said. “I sometimes have to stay up to 1 or 2 in the morning to finish homework, and I can’t do that at school since many of the computer desks close at midnight. If I didn’t have a laptop, I would never be home.”

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