Wrong Side of the Digital Divide

at 11:35 PM

One of the hardest things in high school is not having a computer at home. And for me it's not as easy as going out and buying one, because my family isn't able to afford it. But most of my teachers aren't always mindful of that.

They always tell me to go to the library or stay after school to complete my computer work. But what they don't understand is that I have after school commitments like a job, and school clubs and programs. The public library does have computers, but they limit patrons' access to just an hour, which is in no way enough for me to finish my homework. On top of that, just getting to the library and home again takes an hour of my day.

Recently, I had an assignment due in class to compare and contrast three different businesses and their advantages and disadvantages. At home over the weekend, I hand-wrote three pages on notebook paper, but for obvious reasons, I wasn't able to type it. So one day at school, when I should have been headed to my pre-calculus class, I instead found myself in our school's computer lab typing the paper. I ended up missing the whole class and part of lunch, and now I'm behind in math.

My school does provide computers for students who don't own them, but they're the really old desktops. My friends say they barely work because they're so slow. But that's not the reason why I didn't request one. For me, it's the size. We just don't have the space in our apartment for a giant tower and monitor.

I do have a smartphone, but mine is only so smart. I can't access Word documents or edit Powerpoints or use Google Drive -- all things my classes at school require.

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I live in the age of technology, but unfortunately that doesn't mean I have access to it.

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With a Perspective, I'm Catory Goodman.
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Catory Goodman is a high school junior in Oakland. Her commentary was produced by Youth Radio.

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