Photo by Elliott Brockelbank

I was an excellent student in high school. It was not just that I went to school every day, which I did, it was that I genuinely paid attention in class. I did not realize, though, how hard I was unknowingly working until I got to college.

Suddenly, I became a different student. Without the parental oversight or knowledge that my small town teachers knew who I was, I stopped attentively listening or taking meticulous notes.

I wrongly assumed that it was my intellect alone that had carried me so far. Sure, I was attending class, but I wasn’t really paying attention.

I probably would have carried on this way, taking Snapchats instead of notes, tweeting instead of thinking, or worrying about what I was going to eat after class instead of what was going to be on the next quiz, if not for a lucky disaster.

One fateful night, I was too lazy to put my laptop away. Instead, I kept it in my lofted bed, thinking I was careful enough not destroy it in my sleep. That was not the case. I awoke to the jagged plastic-y pieces of my Lenovo scattered across the carpeted floor of my dorm.

Now, I had to go back to the seemingly archaic pencil and paper. I had to take notes by hand, without the distraction of Facebook or Buzzfeed. I was instantly worried about how I would get my homework done, of course, now that I was laptop-less, but I was also very concerned that class would seem to stretch on for forever without my technological crutches.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I had forgotten how interesting learning could be when I knew what was going on.

I had not realized how much time I was wasting outside of class trying to catch up with what I had missed. I had not realized before what I bad student I had become.

Now that I had seen the light, I was changed for good. It has been a year and a half, and while I did buy a new laptop, I never bring it to class.

While I cannot say that I have gone from a failing student to a straight A super star, I can say that I consistently feel more prepared for my exams. I feel more comfortable discussing what I have learned in school.

But most of all, by truly paying attention in class, and not just attending class, I have become a happier, less stressed Tech student.

Maybe I am an anomaly, maybe others find pencil and paper tedious and unproductive. But I am so thankful for the wild sleeping habits that resulted in that broken laptop. Without that fateful intervention, I know I would not be half the productive and successful Tech student I am now.