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The Internot, Part 2

| Learning | December 11, 2013

(I work as an assistant at the community college computer lab. Most of our jobs are helping students with simple things like printing papers, checking email, and logging in for classes. A student, who looks to be in her mid 20s, walks up. She is carrying a brand purse, wearing lots of large jewelry, and hot pink clothes with tiger stripes.)

Me: “Hello. Welcome to the computer lab. May I help you with anything?”

Student: “Yeah. I need to type up an essay for my English class. Do I do that here?”

Me: “Sure! Do you have a log-in for the computers?”

Student: “I’ve never been here before.”

Me: “That’s no problem! Come over here to this station and we’ll set you up.”

(I help her set up her log-in. She seems comfortable with computers.)

Me: “Now, we’ll just set you up on a computer and you can get started. You can print your paper here, too.”

Student: “Cool! Can you show me how to print?”

Me: “Yeah. As soon as you are done, come get one of the lab techs and we’ll help.”

(I set her down at a computer and she logs in with no problems. She immediately opens the web browser.)

Student: “Okay. Where do I go to do my paper? How do I print?”

Me: “Actually, you can just open up the word processor.”

Student: “Do I just Google that?”

Me: “Er… no. It’s on the computer. You don’t need the internet. Just go to ‘start’ and click on ‘[Program Name].'”

(She closes the web browser. Then she clicks on ‘start’, and opens the web browser again.)

Student: “Do I search for it here?”

Me: “Um, no. You don’t need the internet. It’s just on the computer. Here, let me show you.”

(I click on ‘start’ and open the word processor. It pops open. The student lets out a gasp.)

Student: “How did you do that without the internet?”

Me: “It’s just on the computer.”

Student: “You can put things on a computer besides the internet?!”

Me: “Uh, yes. Yes, you can.”

Student: “So now what do I do?”

Me: “Just go ahead and type your paper. Let us know when you are done and we’ll help you print it.”

Student: “Okay. How do I do that?”

Me: “Type your paper? Just start typing?”

Student: “With this thing?”

(The student points at the keyboard that she had just used to enter her log-in information. I nod approval. She slowly hits a key and looks up at the screen. The letter she hit appears in the document. She hits another a little faster, then a few more.)

Student: “Oh my gosh! This is so cool! How does it make my letters appear on the screen?”

Me: “That’s just how keyboards work. They are designed to put letters on the screen. Do you need me to set up your essay’s dimensions?”

Student: “Yeah. Could you?”

(I begin setting up the margins and line spacing to meet her teacher’s requirements.)

Student: “Is that how you print?”

Me: “No. I’m just telling it to match your teacher’s requirements so it comes out correctly.”

Student: “Oh. So, is that how you print?”

Me: “You know what? Why don’t you type your essay first. Then I’ll show you how to print.”

Student: “Okay!”

(She begins typing slowly. I leave her at the computer to do rounds. About an hour later she comes up to the desk looking irritated.)

Student: “The stupid computer keeps eating my paper!”

Me: “Oh? Let me come take a look. I’m sure we can figure it out.”

(I go to the computer. Her essay is on the screen. It looks edited and finished.)

Me: “What are you trying to do with your paper?”

Student: “Let me show you.”

(She sits down at the desk. After a few moments of clicking on random menus she finds the ‘print’ button and selects it. It brings up the print menu. She hits ‘print’. She then stares intently at the computer tower.)

Student: “See?! I want it to print, but it’s greedy and just eats the paper instead of giving it to me!”

Me: “Actually when you hit print, it prints out of the printers at the main desk.”

Student: “Isn’t that what this thing is?”

(She points at the computer tower that is sitting next to the monitor.)

Me: “No. That’s the computer. The printers are much bigger. I can show you where to pick up your paper.”

Student: “Is that where the word processor is kept? Inside the big box?”

Me: “Yup. That’s what it is there for. It holds programs until you need to use them. Now, follow me and we’ll get your printout.”

(The student follows me up to the main desk. I hand her the paper and she takes it. She pulls out her phone to send a message to her friend.)

Student: “[Friend] is never gonna believe your computers can hold things besides the internet! And in a big box too! Thanks for helping me!”

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