That’s a bad pun, and I apologize. But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we are obligated to laugh at cheesy dad jokes. And at this rate, I’m pretty much a giant block of sharp cheddar.
The experience I longed for most as an undergrad at 45 years of age was taking part in campus life. Mind you, I had taken about 3,427 classes at my local community college over the last 25 years, but that was the path to transfer into university. A long, daunting, arduous path (and absolutely nothing against community college, I wouldn’t be where I am without it!).
To me, University equated to my major, which is Literature & Writing. Rubbing elbows with my peers. Discussing Hamlet in a group setting. Joining writers’ groups, critiquing our work. Impressing professors with my charm and wit…shut up, it’s a real thing.
Instead, like millions of others, schooling was moved to online learning. COVID-19 wasn’t messing around. At first, I was miffed. Jokes aside, I had looked forward to the classroom environment. I enjoy the energy when a topic is brought up and everyone gets involved. I looked forward to adult conversations about subjects I am passionate about. And let’s face it, I adore my 7-year old, but I can handle only so many conversations about My Little Ponies.
Thing is, online learning has turned out to not be so bad. In fact, while my own child is out of school, it’s working out perfectly; I can’t imagine how I’d have juggled five days of on-campus classes. A few classes are synchronous, with regular Zoom meetings (which aren’t nearly as impersonal as I thought they’d be). A few are asynchronous, which means I can work on what I need to do when I want to work on it (no slacking!).
There are several pros. No traffic. No parking anxiety. No $600 parking permit needed, for that matter. I easily save $200 a month on gas. Group work, which I loathe, is also online! The refrigerator is right next to me. I can have a cocktail, for Christ’s sake. Most important of all, no matter what I do that’s school-related, the bathroom…is right down the hall!
The pros of online learning certainly outweigh the cons. But the truth is, I crave in-person learning. The very point of Literature & Writing is to discuss, share, banter, argue, and enlighten each other.
I also wanted to make friends. I did a lot of that in community college, and I miss it. But this time around it’s my major (are you sick of the italics yet?)! Like-minded individuals. Networking. Reading each other’s work. These are people who might be my colleagues one day.
I know things could be worse. I’m lucky I’m in a position to be going to school in general, while others struggle deal with far worse issues. I simply have to hope we all get through this and come out the other side stronger and better! And, with a lot of crossed fingers, things might returns to some kind of normal come fall of 2021.