Why I Need a New Desk – Grad Student Rant

White Desk

This Walmart TV-Dinner Tray has served me well. It's time to move on, so I can get work done.

I officially become a grad student in 15 days! I’ve been struggling to write on my laptop lately, for two main reasons: 1) I want my own keyboard, and 2) I don’t have a proper desk/table.

This will be a series, with this first post focusing on desks. I chose to go back to school to get my Master’s. I’m not going to put up with back pain every again!

Intro to My Current Desk Situation

No longer able to type for hours at a time, the gross pushback from the keys triggers my nausea, and I retreat back to my reading nook to touch something calming – pages from my latest read A Place Called Rainwater.

The pillows that alternate between back support and derriere cushion slide as I shift one ankle over the other. I’m desperate to be comfortable in preparation for the school year, but this isn’t going to work.

This Walmart TV-Dinner Table was purchased as my cheap, temporary solution to the lack of library access because of COVID.

I mean, we did have a table in my campus apartment my ex-roommate and I agreed to share, but I had no backbone back then. I bought a cheap piece that didn’t fall apart, whose wobbling I found charming.

The bubbling on the surface is not endearing. In fact, this table disgusts me now. After graduation I moved to an apartment just the right size for one woman with little possessions.

Still, I’ve always wanted a table, and expecting it to be easy to find one. Alas, I was wrong. Furniture is too darn expensive, and I had no transportation in Iowa.

My Ex-Desk

Here in Chicago, there are options. Here in Chicago, I have a much better idea of my needs.

For example, I am not short, nor am I tall. Yet, desks and tables seem to be made for tiny-legged people. In what world can anything less than 28 inches be deemed acceptable?

The desks in high school were too short for me (and everyone). My Ikea desk from childhood was too short.

The website states its dimensions as 41 ⅜ (width) x 19 5/8 ” (length) x 29 ½ , however this is NOT accurate. At least in terms of seating space.

You must subtract the widths and heights of the shelves. I had this desk for most of my life.

From memory, the top shelf is about 4 in in height, so the actual height of the desk is 25 ½ in. The side shelf (storage area) is smaller than the length of the desk, making it about 12 in at most.

Back in high school, I remember complaining about my tiny desk. I wanted a larger one, like my mom’s personal work desk. I didn’t know how much desks cost.

Plus, I knew I would have my own desk in college. I spent my teens alternating between my bed, my floor, and my desk for homework assignments.

I remember sitting on a turquoise storage cube because desk chairs were too large to fit under the table. Part of me wishes I bit the bullet and got a desk chair, so at least I’d have one now!

Current Solutions and Future Plans

Since I am resolved to finally own a proper table or desk, I have done research for several months now (maybe even a year). The problem is pricing. I keep waiting for big sales.

To better manage the height problem – my current “desk” being so short my knees can’t even fit under – I use a cardboard box to raise my laptop close to eye-level. This helps prevent me from straining my neck and spine too much.

In the future, I will have a wonderful, ergonomic desk setup. Someday, I will work from home for long periods at a time, in comfort.

My Current Desk/Table
My Current Desk Setup

*This is my current setup.

  • Walmart TV-Dinner Fold Out Table
  • Amazon Cardboard Box
  • Laptop on Top


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Disclaimer* These are my opinions only, and are not to be taken as professional advice. I speak from my own experience. I made no money from this post.

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