We’re all hoping for a personal semester in the fall, but I’d like to acknowledge that bittersweet At the end of our year at Zoom University. We all know what we won’t miss and what to look forward to when we come back, but what about the things we will miss and look forward to?
Here are the top five things I don’t look forward to when I return:
- Wear real clothes
Impractical fashion will be back after the pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, I love my heels, skinny jeans with no pockets and button-down shirts, but I love the look of “sweatpants, a crew neck sweatshirt and my most comfortable pair of hiking boots”. It’s been a year since I last wore heels. I can’t believe I wore heels all the time. I have way too many couples. Who needs so many pairs of shoes? Apparently I did a year ago. Do I even remember how to walk in it? Probably not. At the beginning of the fall semester, if you see a girl with a green backpack on the floor, it probably is me. Come say hello
- The time wasted commuting
I am a commuter student. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, I chose to stay in my house in Squirrel Hill with my parents and 17 year old brother. I don’t mind, I really love my family and home cooked food, But one of the massive downsides is the morning commute. The commute can take over an hour during rush hour, which is much longer than it should be in Pittsburgh, and I have to get up two hours before my class gets to campus on time.
Don’t get me wrong, sitting on a bus listening to music is much less strenuous than walking 6 miles to Oakland and back like I did on most of the pandemic weekends. I can actually walk 3 miles to campus through Schenley Park, about the same time it takes the Port Authority bus to get from the bus stop at the end of my street to the William Pitt Union bus stop on Fifth Avenue. My commute, including waiting for the bus, usually took two to three hours a day, depending on the traffic. That’s two to three hours less now, I have to do something else.
- Coming home so late and leaving home so early.
In pre-pandemic times, I would come home every evening around 11:30 p.m. or midnight. Now I go to bed around this time. I left my house two hours before my first grade, which would have been 7 a.m. this semester. I now sleep until about 15 minutes before class or I don’t set the alarm at all. Alarms burden me and mine make bird noises, which should be the opposite of stressful. You see how this can be a problem.
- The amount of money I will be spending on food on campus when the food is really not as good as what I make at home
I ate out about four times a week and bought coffee or tea three times a week. I don’t even go anywhere it’s expensive – I actually have a $ 10 rule that I refuse to pay more than $ 10 for a take away meal. I almost always packed food to go to campus, but some mornings I got lazy, or I made plans to go out to eat, or I just underestimated how hungry I would be all day. Walking around with my backpack all day is exhausting and I love to eat snacks. And when it’s around dinner time and you walk past a restaurant that just smells amazing, sometimes it’s too good to resist. With my $ 10 in-game meal rule, including my 2020 summer semester, I’ve saved around $ 1,800 by not eating out alone in the past year. I don’t have the energy to calculate how much it would cost with my drinks three times a week – math is hard and I’m scared of the number.
- Go places where the weather is bad
I haven’t left my house in over a year to involuntarily go anywhere in bad weather. When it’s gross outside, I just stay inside and really strive for it fun that would make the Dutch proud. I touched an umbrella maybe once in the last year. I also didn’t have to carry around a wet, half-folded umbrella to carefully place it on the floor next to my seat during class. I mean, that’s partly because I left my Vincent van Gogh umbrella in my postmodern literature class just before spring break last year, went back 10 minutes later to get it, and it was gone. Whoever took my umbrella, please return it in time for the fall semester. I miss my umbrella.
Here are the top five things I’ll miss about Zoom classes:
- Sitting in stupid places / positions doing lessons
I can take classes wherever I want. If I were one of those people who didn’t care about COVID-19, I could take classes in Miami if I wanted. But I only look forward to being able to sit on the porch or in my garden when it is nice to bask in the sun like a lizard. Taking classes in a hammock is fun. Why doesn’t anyone have classes outside? That should be one thing. I also no longer sit in a way that is acceptable in a professional academic setting. Seriously, after this year I am no longer able to sit in a chair without my feet on something. I can’t do that in G24 from Cathy.
- The amount of free time I have / multitasking is so much easier at home
Aside from the free time I have now where I used to commute, it’s amazing how many things you can get done during a Zoom class. The best thing about Zoom courses is that they are either like a podcast or a casual chat between friends. That said, I can happily fold laundry, clean my room, carve a new print pad, do a bit of sketching, or make a new pair of earrings while you’re still in class and listening to what happens.
- My desk / work area
I never really appreciated my desk until Zoom University. Last year I created the perfect little work space in the corner of my bedroom. I have dried bouquets of flowers hanging on my window so the whole room smells like flowers all the time, and I’ve built my collection of books and plants on the shelves next to them to be pretty impressive. I have speakers and I make music while I work. And it’s in front of a window! I can open the window for some fresh air if I want! I can listen to the birds all day long and watch the various deer, marmots, cats, squirrels and species of birds that cross my back yard. As much as I love Hillman’s first floor, it’s dark and there are no windows with a nice view. And no, I can’t just sit on the fourth floor, it’s too quiet and it drives me crazy. You can’t even eat there without someone staring at you.
- The zoom chat
Zoom chat is a whole different world that I never knew existed and I’m not sure how ready I am to let go of it. It’s a whole different level of the classroom, much like sharing notes. It’s both helpful and fun. Just the fact that I can message someone privately to ask them a question or the fact that people just put funny sayings and comments in the chat during class makes it all so much more enjoyable. I had a forensic anthropology that told us in zoom chat how he first traveled to Bulgaria and how it took him forever to get his check in a restaurant because he nodded and his head after “yes” and “No” shooks are switched there. We just don’t get this type of quality content from in-person courses.
- The time I can spend with my family
For the first time in years we have a semblance of Shabbat on Friday evening. Even though we’re not religious, Shabbat isn’t about work and family time anyway. I spend almost every evening with my family now, watching shows – we’re currently working on Handmaid’s Tale, there’s a new season at the end of the month – and just spending time in each other’s company. Accepting that the beginning of the fall semester will be the end is heartbreaking.
Dalia Maeroff writes mainly on questions of psychology, education, culture and environmental protection. Write to her [email protected].