In the wake of the colossal disaster that is the COVID-19 pandemic, I’d say I’ve learned me a few lessons. Figuratively, and then literally. Although perhaps it’s not figurative at all (what with life lessons from the infamous school of life being the solid, in thing now… or maybe since time immemorial. Let’s just skim over these chronological facts here…) because, well, that’s a story for a whole ‘nother day. For today, we shall focus on the academic lessons.
Now, before anything else, let’s just get it out there, that I’m your typical university student. And I say that at the risk of being dead wrong. I might be the anomaly. Perhaps typical university students absolutely love school, are devoted to their ‘academics’, positively relish reading their notes and simply cannot wait for the tests. I’m not that one…. I’ve recently come to accept. I’m the tragic one who abhors exams. I love reading…..magazines, thousand-paged trashy novels, blogs about absolutely meaningless things, but any academic content makes me drowsy. Positively migraine-inducing. Really. I’m not being hyperbolic or anything here.
I’m a last-minuter, and I say this with shame (head hung low and all expressions shameful). It’s nothing to declare out in the open like that, you know? But I am…. Promising myself to study every day from the beginning of the semester, to absolutely do that assignment the nanosecond I’m made aware of its existence, and then going to binge on series after series every waking moment, pushing bowls of popcorn down on any guilt brought upon me by my procrastination, until it’s absolutely necessary to panic because the assignment is due tomorrow and I have no choice but to face the monster ( which then leads to a panic riddled me staying up all night, type-type-typing away until all my fingers are well near broken). In high school, I used to fantasize about what it would be like to be a bookworm- embracing the good old books, carrying content by the text book in my brain…. Laboring under the weight of big, education filled bags because I had a passion for it, making deep jokes about chemistry… all the good stuff. Missed me by miles.
But I’m digressing. I happen to be in a world-class university of scholarly excellence. Now, now, don’t get all worked up about it. I don’t use that phrase to be vain. While I’d love to be carrying that around like a badge of honor, now I use it to show my battle scars (sob). Let me tell you what I mean. Briefly.
With this entire. Quarantine period having come up, everyone seems to have plenty of time to just be. Lazy around, or push yourself, discover yourself and other such deep things, but not me! No!!, I have to actually be in school. Away from school. The Horror! stated in March, not school; just the looming threat with a dash of sickening anxiety. Make that two.
“We’ll have online classes” said the class rep, skeptically
“What, online?” Guffaw
“What are we, Harvard?” double Guffaw. A bucket load of dissing memes and parodies… thrice as many GIFs.
That was the overall reaction of my class in March. It didn’t go quite as we thought. And so now, six months down, I’m devastated to say we’ve had not just classes, but exams. And now again classes. So you see, I think this qualifies me to dish out sage advice, just as I’m about to. Pay attention kids. Here goes; –
1. Don’t sit in your bed. In fact, if you can, stay more than six feet about it at all times. Put walls between you two even. Because those things have voices, and seductive voices at that. And I’m willing to bet that even the bravest men cave (let it be said at this point that I don’t gamble frivolously). So, don’t sit in your bed, unless, of course, it is the only spot for miles that has a trace of network, and you totally rely on free school bundles. This is my predicament. So I sit in my bed. Which leads me to number 2:
2. If you must sit in your bed, sit at an angle on 90°. No more, no less. Now, you might think I’m being an unreasonable buzzkill here… “Can’t I sit at 86°?” you might ask. No, you can’t. because the voices, the bed voices, they see you. They tell you your back hurts. In fact, your neck is stiff and you’re tired from holding up your chin. And what an awkward position that is you’re sitting at! And then you start to think you’re in actual pain. But really, it’s a trick of the mind. A hypnosis sort of thing the bed knows. So you prop yourself up against the wall with pillows, then you curl up in a foetal position, then you blink, and when you un-blink, class was over hours ago.
3. Bring your confidence with you. Just because as a general rule of thumb, the camera will make you look bad. It’s that thing with video calls all over again. Although, if I’m being totally honest, the camera seems to hate me more than everybody else.
4. Get your entire neighborhood soundproofed. This is really about some cockerel that wouldn’t shut up during my presentation (and it wasn’t even the top of the hour!)- and this is just one of the nicer background noises we’ve heard.
5. Write. Yes, I know. Sounds all serious and boring and focused-student-y. But if you don’t, your mind will wander so far, you’ll have to get a search party to track it down. And who ever heard of a search party in Kenya?
Till the next post buddy. Hope you make it out alive.