that would be my solution. then copy your work onto your friends harddrive
I suggest you find some data recovery software. If the segments with your coursework on have not yet been rewritten, then you stand a good chance of getting them back. However, if they have been rewritten, you will need some professional help. Or if you can get the good old Debug out and do it yourself. Warning: can take more than 24 hours.
From what you have said, I think it's good idea you should update your AV software regularly and scan your pc regularly. Startup in command prompt (recovery console) and see what you can do. Warning: can be tricky when you don't know what you are looking for..
Always backup, no matter how brilliant, how fast, how stable your pc is, it will crash, whatever the operating system. (Linux doesn't, because it's not a graphic based evironment. If your desktop crashes, you kick it out of the memory sticks. You can't do that with windows.)