I graduated high school in the year 2000. The recent graduates of this year’s class of 2014 weren’t even in kindergarten when I was finished with my primary education. Even though we are now peers as college freshmen, they will never understand the technological struggles of my generation. Take for example, the dial-up modem. Can you imagine the student of today trying to do research for a paper online in 2000? The fastest dial-up speed of the time was 56 kbps. The internet speeds I’m using right now are currently around 40 mbps, which converts to 40,000 kbps. That’s insane in comparison! Even though the technology was there, most students still used books and paper materials for any information that was required for their research. Now imagine the work done centuries before the year 2000. It’s amazing to think of what was accomplished with such little technology.  It’s interesting to think of what would be possible now had our forefathers been able to access the resources we take for granted in this century.

Today, I use the internet for everything. I can’t depart towards a new destination without first looking up directions. I can’t start cooking a new recipe until I’ve found the right website to pull it from. And I most certainly couldn’t start my day without reading my fair share of online news and emails. Having seen the early stages of the world wide web, I fully understand the value of having so much information at my fingertips. The greatest benefit I get from using technology is that it allows me to explore this world. I watch copious amounts of documentaries online during my free time. Between foreign films and educational programs, I can barely stay up to speed with the blockbuster hits. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading other nation’s news articles. I love to compare how other countries present a certain news story in comparison to our country’s news agencies. I started doing this after I came home from my last deployment.

I spent the last year of my life in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. I was on a peace-keeping mission with the United States Army on a year long deployment inside of this history-rich area. While I was away from my family and friends, technology kept me connected. Not only did this bridge the gap of communication, the internet allowed my family to see an area they might not otherwise get to see. Through video, I was allowed to share this unique experience with thousands online. I was surprised how many people were interested in my videos. This is due in part to that area being such an important place to three religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. While overseas, I used the internet to help learn Arabic and to also learn about areas of the globe where my other friends were deployed. I, along with the internet, have come along way in fourteen years. I can’t contemplate what life would have been like here without the web. In another decade, one can only imagine where we will be in comparison. The speed at which technology is moving is astounding. I feel that we are becoming a better world through these innovations and I look forward to further advancements.

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