Ever wondered why UR starts every term in the middle of a week? I always found it absurd that we start school on either a Wednesday or Thursday, and in no time, it’s suddenly the weekend. However, after giving it some thought, I’ve decided this is in fact a fitting way to get back into the swing of things.
It’s the perfect number of school days needed to get a “taste” of what your new routine looks like. As Yellowjackets, most of us don’t have much going on academically on Fridays (in my humble opinion, the best parties are on Thursday nights), so you’d have two days of going through syllabi, and then you’re done with the “first week of classes.” Don’t get me wrong — I dislike syllabus week as much as the next student, but I’d rather have that than five weekend deadlines sitting on my Blackboard.
I also believe that having a mini week to start off the semester helped me get used to in-person instruction this year. I, for one, was in denial that I had to take notes and listen to professors at 1x speed until I sat in my first class last Wednesday. I trudged from Riverview to Hutchinson Hall in sweltering heat, walked into class with my obligatory Starbucks iced latte, when I realized that as we had to be masked, I’d have to quickly and discreetly drink it. I had to remind myself to actually raise my hand if I had any questions, as my brain kept waiting for a Zoom chat to pop up anytime. Another insane aspect was actually having classmates. For the past year, I attended all of my classes alone from a corner in my room. The only time I actually saw anyone else in class was once in a blue moon when someone turned on their camera, and I, for some wild reason, was in gallery mode on Zoom. So it was surreal to see 15 whole other people sitting with me at the table!
All in all, I was more than happy as I went home after my last class of the week. As the health app on my phone congratulated me on a record number of steps compared to the average this year, I was exhilaratingly exhausted. In-person instruction takes a lot out of us physically and mentally, but after this one mini week of classes, I realized why going to an actual classroom with other people is such an important aspect of college life. The fact that I had to be in class at particular times forced me to more carefully plan my day, and it definitely made it harder to procrastinate watching a lecture. It also helped me know my professors better, and I realized they sound nicer when they’re not little pixels on my screen, moving on the fastest possible setting.
So to the Yellowjackets reading this, both new and old, you’ll get the hang of this as soon as you accept that we’re back to class. It isn’t that bad!