Well, I guess no one had 2020 vision…
Last semester, I sincerely thought that schools wouldn’t close down, and that we’d be living in this odd sort of limbo. Masks on, social distancing enforced, and hand sanitizer running freer than water at Niagara Falls. Turns out, that this would not be the case.
There are plenty of very valid concerns about online school: the isolation, the monotonous scenery, the feelings you get from sitting in a chair for hours on end. But there is another way of looking at this:
Just like any other idea, there are flaws to taking classes online because it negates some of the best parts of school. No more leaving the house in the morning, no seeing friends in person. Going out for lunch, learning and doing things in and out of classes, sharing jokes and conversation with people in the halls – that’s all over for now (in the original sense). School lets that all happen organically: you’re going to have to get out of bed and see people whether you like it or not, so you end up making the most of it.
School is important for two reasons: learning and community. While there are some who do those things better through the interface of a screen, it can be challenging for many others. The online system attempts to have students learn, and does an admirable job in that respect, but the social experience of school is something that it does not emulate to the same degree. You’re free to do whatever you want when not in class and can miss out on some of the built-in structure and stability that attending – and experiencing – school affords. This can result in a vicious cycle of and monotony and numbness that shouldn’t be the sum of your educational life.
And I don’t digress.
Online learning’s already been extended until February, and I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’ve seen this episode before. All any of us can do at this point is to make the most of a sort of less-than-ideal situation.
Find a way to interface with people in your life in those bite size ways that the current platform allows. Chat for five minutes between classes over the phone. Text a little during lunch. Find ways to make sure that the days don’t blur together. All that stuff about taking up a hobby can sound patronizing, but it can be a tremendously helpful way of adding much needed variety to your days.
Make this time of online only school worth remembering. Live in a way that you can look back and reflect on your actions, what you learned, the conversations you had, and know that you made it through a major historical event in a way that you will never forget. If you can avoid entirely relegating this experience to a veritable black mark on your collective experience and have a couple of decent memories amidst the tidal wave of nonsense that has been the past year, you’ve won.
If you can imagine yourself laughing in ten years about how awful things are now, and what we did to get through them, you’ve won.
If you manage to make it through physics online, well, you’re liable to get nominated for some kind of medal of bravery, so get ready for that big win.
At the end of the day, what I am saying is best summed up in the following immortal words:
Immortal words are hard, OK?
Julian Apolinario, Editor-In-Chief