October 10th 2013
“Sir,” I said when I walked into class, “can you give me full marks for my assignment that was due yesterday. I know it’s late, but I have a valid excuse.” I confidently said with my head held high.
My professor looked at me with his eyebrows raised, “Well, go ahead then,” his voice was filled with amusement.
In my mind, I was preparing myself to tell him the whole truth. I wanted him to know exactly why my assignment was late. The story began to go through my mind, this is what happened:
“I was on my way home from school when I suddenly remembered that I forgot to finish the assignment, which was due by midnight. I began to worry but remembered that my brother had an old Matlab CD somewhere. I felt relieved, thinking I had this covered.
“When I got home, I told my brother that I needed Matlab on my computer to finish my assignment. He nodded and said that he needed to install it, which would take about an hour. However, hours later, when I went to check if Matlab was installed, I found out that my brother had forgoten to install Mattlab. I was already pressured for time with only five hours remaining until midnight. Little did I know the worst was yet to come.
“So, my brother started to get ready to install Matlab on Windows 8. To our horror, the installer would not start for half an hour. He also tried to install it on my computer, which also ran Windows 8, but that also did not work.
“I was freaking out, ‘Oh my god! I won’t be able to do my homework!’ I cried out. My brother looked at me, his chest puffed out and his head held high; only thing that was missing from the picture was a red and blue outfit, and a handsome face.
“’Never fear, Dr. Naz is hear!’ he called out with a grin on his face. I gave him a weird look, and he began to explain, ‘You see, we can try to use Windows 7.” He said proudly. When I looked at him blankly, because none of our computers held Windows 7, he smiled and continued. ‘I have Windows 7 on a virtual machine, which I got because I am a student.’ By that time, I gave up on trying to understand his geek talk.
“So he fired up his virtual machine and began to install Matlab. It started to work! We were jumping with joy, when suddenly an error message popped up stating that the computer did not have enough space. It showed that Windows 7 only had 270 mb of space left.
“Once our initial shock passed, my brother scratched his head and nervously laughed ‘You see, about three years ago, when I first got this virtual machine, I was just messing around with it for fun. No way did I think I would be using it to try to install Matlab three years later for my sisters’ homework! Which is why I chose a small hard drive with only 10 gigs.’ My eyes filled with anger. This could not be happening.
“After this conversation, it showed that Windows 7 only had 7mb of space left. My brother rubbed his eyes, wondering if they were misleading him. He looked at the screen and his mouth dropped down, now it said that it only had 480kb! What in the world was happening! ‘Oh, apparently Windows 7 is updating itself and filling up the space.’ He said, understanding the situation. Then my brother recalled something that gave us hope. ‘Wait! Microsoft released an update this Tuesday that saves a lot of disk space. Maybe when it finishes updating, we will have lots of disk space left!’ so we waited for the update to finish. Before long, an error occurred and the update stopped. According to the error, there was not enough space to finish the update.
“We were now dumbfounded. I was beginning to lose hope. Then my brother had an idea, he could try to extend the virtual hard drive from the virtual machine settings. Well, by this time, we were not surprised when yet another error occurred. Our luck was horrible, apparently my brother created a snapshot three years ago that was causing us problems. Unfortunately, the fee virtual machine software was unable to delete snapshots.
“So my brother had yet another brilliant idea, he proposed that we download a trial version of a thousand dollar virtual software. That software would be able to delete the snapshot. As he worked on that, I went over and began to play with my virtual pet while my brother played with his virtual machine.
“And then the process began: 15 minutes to install the virtual machine software, another 15 minutes to delete the snapshots, and another 20 minutes to expand the virtual hard drive.
“My brother called out to me ‘Shati, Done!’ I was grinning ear to ear thinking I could finally do my homework with almost two hours remaining. But then my hopes dropped to the bottom of the sea when he said he had yet to install Matlab which could take over an hour.
“An hour had passed, Matlab was finally up and running. My hopes rose beyond the sky, I was actually going to finish my homework. I quickly ran around grabbing my book and pulling out the assignment. I worked as fast as I could, typing away on the keyboard. I saved my work and logged onto Blackboard, which is where we submit our homework, and uploaded my assignment onto it. I clicked on the ‘send’ button and let out a breath that I didn’t know I was holding. But then my eyes caught a little text on the top of the page which read: assignment late. I looked down at the clock ‘12:01’ it read, my assignment was due by 11:59, and I felt the world crumble around me.”
My thoughts of the night before ended.
I opened my mouth to begin my explanation, then realized that there was no way I would be able to tell him that story and make him believe it. I sighed and let the first thing that came to my mind slip out of my mouth.
“I lost track of time while watching Doctor Who?”
And that’s how my journey ended.
Do you know what I learned from this experience?
One: Don’t procrastinate on homework.
And Two: If you do procrastinate, you might just get a great story out of it!
-Lots of love, Shanzida
*End note: Everything was true in this story, but I did not actually attempt to give an excuse to my professor. Thanks for reading!*