It was a Friday, and I needed a camera for a project due Tuesday. Little did I know what a roller coaster that simple task would be.

The problems started when I tried to rent one. I went to IMRC first, only to find that the hours of the rental place had changed; instead of closing at 2:00, it now closed at noon. Discouraged, I went to the CMI to see if they had any available. They didn’t, but they would have one back by Sunday, so I reserved it and went back to my dorm to get all of the rest of my work out of the way. In hindsight, that was a very smart move.

I returned Sunday and hung around until the CMI closed, but the camera hadn’t been returned; while not in a full panic, I was nonetheless concerned. It still wasn’t back when I checked in first thing the next morning. Fully discouraged and about to give up and use my phone’s camera, I was about to go back to my dorm when I remembered that the IMRC equipment rental was open. I don’t think I’ve made it to the IMRC in a shorter amount of time.

If only that was the end of it.

So I took the camera back to my dorm, took the photos I needed for the assignment, and was about to take the SD card out of the camera to transfer the images to my laptop when I realized something was very off: the camera didn’t have an SD card. It had a memory card but like nothing I’d seen before, thinker and wider and longer than an SD card. Thankfully, the camera came with a USB cord, so I hooked that into my laptop… only to find the camera not show up in finder. A quick google search revealed that I need a program that came on a disk with the camera to get my photos off of the camera, and my camera, being a rental, hadn’t come with it. So, after some more googling, went for my final plan. I launched the Windows partition of my Mac and sure enough, it detected the camera and I got the pictures off it. A quick switch back to the Mac partition and a few hours of editing later, and my project was done.

What I take away from this experience are a few things. At any stage of this I could have panicked and given up and not done the assignment on time. But I didn’t, and as a result the outcome was a much more satisfying and reassuring that under pressure and against the clock, I still was able to solve my problems as they came up. And, for the future, I now know what to do to fix that specific problem. My experience also contributed to a policy change for the better. As a result of my experience and the experience of others trying to rent cameras that weekend, the hours of the IMRC equipment rental place were changed so people would have a larger window to rent equipment on Mondays and Fridays, so some good did come out of it.

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