Margaret Riegel

"I was gypped, and if you're my age or older, you were gypped too. It was just bad timeing - nobody's fault - but we missed what has turned out to be an essential part of our primary education: computer literacy. They tried to prepare us for the real world in school, but the thing that has since become unavoidable part of this world was not yet in place. We strugggled through years hearing about computers before we were allowed to touh one. Speaking for myself the anticipation developed into severe computer anxiety. I sure could have used a preview of one of those machines at the fearless age of seven.

Because of this lack of education, most of us who now use computers are self-taught. My first tutorial was a nightmare. I was a freshman in art school and I decided I would type an art history paper on a word processor. I was assured it was a cinch. 14 hours liater, I had successfully typed and accidentally deleted the entire document. My panic galvanized. I wouldn't even play Pac-Man again until I was a senior. I had to gather up my courage and take control of this situation before I graudated. The importance of computer literacy was becoming increasingly apparent. It was time for another whirl but this time with a little guidance. I signed up for a computer graphics course. The first day fo class confirmed every fear I had. One click of the mouse, one glimpse of the paint palette, and off we went to a green-gray classroom with not a computer in sight. The professor wanted to teach us "computerese". They tried to teach me French for ten years with no luck. There was little chance I was ever going to be able to talk to a machine.

Necessity turned out to be my most effective teacher. After graduating, I founda computer-free job until the boss walked in one day with on of those pretty, white, fruit clad boxes. We were due ato present a "Mac" project in two days. Thank God for the part time messenger/computer major who was able to answer all my questions. It has been three years since that ordeal and I still haven't completely conquered my fear, but I'm over the hump.

At long last the computer has become a medium that I can use freely. I only wish that I could have said that when play-doh was my favorite medium."

- Margaret Riegel from the Visual Chemistry Booklet

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