College students can’t afford surprise costs

Let me start by saying I am a PC user.

I always have been.

I own a Mac, but that’s only because my last laptop crashed and I was used to using a Mac from my classes.

But two years ago, if you had told me I would have to buy a brand new Mac, fully loaded, to be an interactive media minor, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

I will admit, my laptop has grown on me. It goes everywhere I go, the battery life is impressive and it is virus-free. But it was expensive. And many IM majors or minors, myself included, are going to have to stock up on hundreds of dollars of additional software.

I can understand and appreciate the benefit of having your own laptop, with the same programs used in class, to ensure your work will always be with you. And, as today’s article pointed out, Bradley won’t “own” the work on your laptop. But $600 in software? That’s a hefty amount for most people.

And yes, most students do have their own laptops, a lot of them being Macs. But the interactive media department seems to have gone about this in a surprisingly haphazard way, leaving many students stunned, not to mention scrambling for cash.

What students seem to be most upset about, and I agree with them here, is that there was no warning of this change. At all. According to the article, this change had been in the planning stages over the last year, and the final push came over the summer. But students heard absolutely nothing about it until they showed up to the GCC labs and realized the computers were missing.

The plan itself is not the issue. A push for students to have their own laptops, specifically Mac laptops, is common at other universities. Using the money saved on updating the labs to purchase other equipment is fine, and I’m sure students will come to appreciate it. And yes, there are laptops available to rent if need be. But the bottom line is, this appeared out of nowhere. It seems strange to forget to e-mail more than 100 students in a department to say if they don’t have the appropriate laptop available, they are going to have to shell out close to $2,000, and fast.

I know I don’t have that kind of cash lying around.

What about the incoming freshmen who bought a non-Mac laptop over the summer? If they’re involved in the IM department, they’re going to have to get creative.

I can see how, down the line, this requirement will be beneficial to incoming students. It’s practically essential to have your own laptop on a college campus now, and the GCC is entirely Mac-based.

But next time someone wants to require that kind of investment, a friendly warning email always eases the blow.

Until then, I know quite a few IM majors who have some saving to do.