Why we appreciate school-funded internet programs

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If you’ve ever gone to a public school, then you are probably aware of school-funded programs you can download. These programs are typically very useful and important devices to succeed in an academic environment. Think Microsoft Office 365, Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, etc. All in all, they are professional programs that make life a whole lot easier. And for us students, they are also free!

Some of us may not know it (I definitely didn’t), but these downloadable programs cost a fortune otherwise. Office 365 can cost up to $150, and Photoshop can cost $20 per month. UC Berkeley offers its students Adobe Creative Cloud, which has a whole host of Adobe programs, including Photoshop, Acrobat and Lightroom, and costs $53 a month. That’s already more than $200 worth of programs, all for free.

These programs are also lifesavers. After all, there’s a reason they cost such a fortune on their own. With Microsoft Office, one can write papers, make presentations and create spreadsheets on the fly. Once you learn to use these programs at their maximum efficiency, you might find that they can also be used in nonacademic environments.

Want to teach your parents how to use the internet and fix the Wi-Fi? Create a quick presentation for free! Want to eat out with your friends one day, but the whole idea of properly splitting the bill scares you out of it? Make a spreadsheet to keep all your tabs organized and turn Venmoing into the easiest five-minute task of all time! 

One of the most underrated programs out of all the ones that are offered for free is Adobe Acrobat. You might know it as the thing that pops up when you download PDFs, but I know it as the third greatest tool ever created for the modern student, surpassed only by SparkNotes and Pilot G2 gel pens. With Adobe Acrobat, I can open up 30-something PDF files, and my laptop’s home screen is still navigable. Not only that, but I can also go around editing all my PDFs to look however I want them to look. Taking online exams has never been easier, as I can just download the PDF version of the exam, go into Acrobat, go into the edit menu and type my answers that way. The amount of paper I’ve saved by doing this probably made sure that some tropical bird in the Amazon didn’t have its home destroyed, so if we all made use of these programs and utilized them efficiently, we could literally change the face of the planet.

In sum, these programs are incredibly useful, and the fact that not everyone I know uses them, or is even aware of them, is upsetting. Attending a public school has its downsides, and we’re all aware of them. However, the availability of these programs is an example of how good our system can be, and we should take advantage of this opportunity to make our own lives easier.

Contact Hamzah Alam at [email protected].