Opinion: Going To Class During A Pandemic, Climate Apocalypse, and Era Of Police Violence Has Made Me A Better Student

Studies show that people who are more involved in activities outside of their classes are actually better students. For me, this includes agonizing over the fact that I am going to classes in person in the middle of a pandemic, climate apocalypse, and era of white supremacist police violence. And I’m better because of it.

Having to balance worrying about so many different issues all at once has taught me time management in ways I never knew before. Last year, you might have caught me at the library trying to study but getting distracted by my Instagram Explore page. But now that I also have to worry about the defunding of the US Postal Service, I’ve learned to schedule my time better and plan ahead. I pencil time in my planner for my asynchronous weekly Youtube modules for my political science class and then wait for my alarm to go off before I start freaking out about the potential for the election in November to be delegitimized and send us further down the road of American fascism.

Going to Zoom classes has also given me a great sense of routine. Every day, I log into my synchronous Zoom meetings because I know how hard it would be to catch back up if I fall behind. And every day, I turn my camera off before I log in and doom scroll through medical news about whether the president of our country might be dead or not. It’s so good to have a schedule and know what I’m doing every day!

Being in class again has reminded me how much our extended summer vacation made me miss learning. If we get a hurrication-coronacation combo, you KNOW you’ll catch me hitting the books, trying to understand what the heck Oscar Wilde was trying to say in Picture of Dorian Gray, all while my friends get sick through no fault of their own, and my family has to evacuate their home so they don’t get caught in five different tropical storms at once. Good thing our school’s administration emails us pictures of therapy dogs sometimes. I’m so on top of everything right now that seeing a picture of a “cute floof” is just a fun bonus for me!

Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s when you take a ten-minute break for every ten minutes you work. This method works so well for me. I just do twenty minutes of reading, ten minutes of taking deep breaths while thinking about how the White House is trying to fast-track a vaccine that probably won’t be safe by telling the Food and Drug Administration to lower their standards.

My Google Calendar for tomorrow has me going to two Zoom classes, a meeting for my research, and having three separate panic attacks in my bedroom (one for me to think about how J.K. Rowling is a vicious transphobe and millions of people are still going to defend her and buy her books because they want to cling to a children’s book they read ten years ago, one for me to think about how Donald Trump will never denounce Proud Boys because that’s his base, and one for me to think about our government is conducting hundreds of nonconsensual hysterectomies on immigrant women). Can’t wait to get to it!