The Reasons I Will Academically Underperform this Semester because of COVID-19:
The topic of Covid-19 and the effects it has had on people’s lives is a tiresome and unfortunately necessarily overdone topic. However, most posts about the virus carry a sense of hope. Asking people to look on the bright side. They get to stay at home, they get to find appreciation for things they never thought to before, university students are able to spend more time learning and less time commuting. This is what I am angry about this week Disclaimer: I understand that coronavirus is a very serious topic that deeply impacts many people’s lives. This post is only to hopefully bring some humour into a sad and often unnerving topic.
Fall Semester is my favourite of all. You get the best mix of rainy, snowy, and chilly. The weather is ever-changing and every day brings a new surprise when you walk out the front door to head to the bus. You get a chance to drink your coffee, listen to music, maybe even catch up with a friend on the bus. This is all IMPOSSIBLE from the comfort of my own home. When I wake up for class, half the time I forget to even open the blinds. My music feels too loud in the morning when it is not trying to cover up the screeching of the Skytrain, and absolutely no one wants to wake up at 8 AM just have a pointless chat.
This is an essential part of being a student. The feeling you get as you look at all the other forlorn faces on the bus makes you feel like you’re not alone. Watching others slump over in their chairs as the night class clock strikes 8 PM is just not the same as watching blank zoom squares. The look two students who are essentially strangers give each other when a professor does something particularly weird will never happen. The only person I can make eye contact with is the reflection of myself on my laptop and if that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is.
There is also something difficult about hanging out with your friends when you have looming deadlines. However, with in-person school, meeting up to study allows for talking and getting work done. With these virtual study groups, I would rather just turn the video off and work on my own. It feels disingenuine and makes for a lot of longing for the good old days.
Although these are great for classes that you never would have shown up to if they were in person, they really do put a damper on taking classes with professors you love. They don’t tell their usual jokes, because who would laugh? They don’t have the same passion, because the energy is not the same when you sit in a room by yourself and record. They also tend to go really fast. I find myself rewatching many portions of lectures because professors forget we are taking notes and therefore do not take the pauses they normally would. All this to say that by the end of a one hour recording I’ve spent two hours scribbling notes that will later anger me to read.
One of the reasons many people are excited and motivated to enter into post-secondary is because of the legendary stories people tell them when they’re kids. The stories of independence, parties, friends, food, and just the pure experience of being in the building of thousands of others who are making the choice to better themselves, unlike high school where they are there by force. It is being young and getting to learn things that finally make you feel like you know something worth your time and can share it with the world. This experience that movies often try to capture, old people, talk about, and professors and administration try to facilitate is just not achievable in the online world. This September I enter into my last year and I am grateful that I got to spend a majority of my undergrad in the classic university setting. However, I am still saddened and of course, angered that this is most likely the way it will end. No grand goodbye or ceremony, just the “leave meeting” button on zoom to wave me off.