Recently, University of Maryland President Darryll Pines announced that he expects classes to be in person for the upcoming fall semester. Online classes have posed challenges to some students, and many were excited about this update. For those who feel like they’re going to miss attending class from the comfort of their own room, here are four things to look forward to when in-person classes return.
Getting ready in the morning
The current culture of waking up 10 minutes before your 9:30 a.m. class won’t be around for much longer. I can’t wait to wake up an hour before my class actually begins to factor in all the aspects of my morning routine. From the existential dread that hits when your alarm goes off to making time to pick out an outfit to show you’re trying — but not too hard — a 10 a.m. class no longer calls for a 9:50 wakeup. Sitting at a desk where people are able to perceive me is more enjoyable than lying in bed in pajamas half-awake with my camera off. And putting on a nice shirt and sweatpants won’t even cut it anymore. At least now, you can attempt to look nice for the cute person in your class who doesn’t even know your name.
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In three semesters of virtual classes, I still have not learned the proper etiquette of when to join a Zoom meeting. Those awkward moments when you join at 1:59 p.m. instead of 2 and are the only one on the call will soon be a thing of the past; now, you can walk into your classroom at 1:59 and experience that in person! Instead of dealing with the profound silence of a breakout room where everyone has their cameras off, we now get to sit in that same profound silence and look left and right, waiting for someone to answer. At least with in-person classes, you get a warning of impending danger when your entire class is sitting outside the classroom and someone asks, “Did you understand the reading?” assuming you remembered there was a reading at all.
It’s just an odd feeling when you join your Zoom class and there are 200 other people on the call. Nothing can replicate the feeling of walking into a musty, old lecture hall with incredibly steep stairs. Get ready to leave the comfort of your desk at home and return to 300-plus options all with different benefits.
The all important politics of seat-choosing is going to be back. You have to decide if you want to put some effort in and sit close to the front, goof off with your friends and sit in the back, or feign interest and sit in the middle. Or, you can do none of those things, and find your own little corner to exist in just so you get credit for showing up. Chances are, you’re not the only one who will want to hide in the corner, so be prepared for an unwanted companion as you online shop and ignore your lecture on inflation.
Walking around campus
Due to few of my classes being in-person, my walks to and fro are on a campus that is, for the most part, empty. Nowadays, my strolls across the campus usually only happen for a COVID-19 test or a midnight depression walk. The thrill of walking across the mall and seeing that person you ghosted on Tinder or rejected at the bar last Saturday is gone, and it’s caused a lot of students to drop their guard. When you have to walk across the mall for your next class, that risk returns. Better start practicing the see-a-person-from-a-distance-so-you-pull-out-your-phone-and-look-down-at-it-as-you-pass-them-so-you-don’t-make-eye-contact move, because most of us haven’t had to do that in a long time. The other exciting part of walking across the campus is walking your minimum of 10,000 steps a day. Better invest in some shoes with good support and nice socks to avoid the pain and blisters of suddenly moving again. With all the walking we’ll be doing soon, those post-class naps will hit a little different.
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While there is no guarantee that classes will be in person in the fall, we can at least look forward to some of these amazing things that come with the normal class format.