What to Do After Losing Files or Flash Drives

Imagine this.

It’s midterm’s week at your college, and you’ve spent the past few days working diligently on a project that is due for one of your classes. Despite procrastination’s best efforts to distract you, you’ve managed to avoid the temptation to put the project off till the last minute.

It is the day before it is due, and as you are putting the finishing touches on your masterpiece, something happens. And by something, I mean something awfully heart-wrenching. Your file is gone; gone as in magically deleted and/or lost. At this point, either way you are forced to re-do some amount of work in a short amount of time.

Whether this has happened to you or not, losing a file, project, or even a flash drive is not only stressful, but frustrating. You have put in all this time to your work, only to have it all be gone in an instant. Where should you even begin to get this time back? Is there even a way to get it back?

This past term, I had this exact situation happen to me. Here is what happened.

I am a class example procrastinator when it comes to school work; always have been. However, with work, softball, and a full class load this past term, I could not make the mistake of saving everything until the last minute; especially when most of my class work consisted of hours upon hours of computer projects. So I buckled down, drank multiple cups of coffee, and slaved away in attempts to finish my projects in a timely fashion.

The week before finals rolled around and I was ahead of the game, with two huge projects almost out of the way. As I went to grab my flash drive, which practically contained my life, to get feedback from my professor on one of my projects, it wasn’t there. For days, I searched near and far for this darn small, orange flash drive, until I finally came to the conclusion that it was lost forever. I then entered into “freak out” mode feeling at a loss for hope.

For all of you out there who have been through these types of situations, I am here to say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Losing your flash drive, file, and/or project may feel like the end of the world, but there are steps to gaining back your sanity and possibly even finding your lost work.

Step 1: Deep Breaths and Calm Down.

First thing first is think level headedly. In order to do that, the best thing to do is step out of the room for a few seconds, take a couple deep breaths, and just calm down. With a level head, you will be to think clearly and reduce your stress, at least a little bit.

Step 2: Look EVERYWHERE.

Literally check every file, every square inch of your room. Retrace your steps. In some computer issue cases, you might be able to find a previously saved file with some or even all of your work. Taking precautions in case something like this were to happen could include saving in multiple places, such as your computer, email, and/or flash drive. I highly suggest saving on some internet website, that way you can access it through any computer in case you lose your flash drive or your personal computer crashes.

Step 3: Begin work immediately.

Especially if lost work occurs the day before it is due, there is no sense in waiting to start back up again. Stay in the zone as best you can, accept the fact that what’s done is done, and move on. Of course a breather and possibly a coffee break could help you cool down a bit, but try your best to keep the juices flowing and your brain moving so you don’t have to start completely from scratch, and your memory can help you out.

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Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson is a junior at North Central College in Naperville, IL pursuing degrees in journalism and interactive media studies. When she is not in the classroom, she balances her time playing for her school’s softball team and working at a local frozen yogurt shop. Jordan enjoys watching movies, thumb wars, and occasional trips into the windy city.
Jordan Johnson

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