Editorial: A disorienting orientation

Graphic Carl Bindman

An unusual year brings an unusual magazine, a digital magazine: The Disorientation Issue.

Orientation was our first issue after converting from newspaper to magazine in 2017 and has been a staple of The Link for much longer. As 2020 continues to throw the world for a loop, it was only appropriate that the inaugural issue of volume 41 reflect that.

We’ve lived a summer of isolation to contain a pandemic. We’ve experienced shock and grief from tragedies around the world and at home. Masked masses took to the streets in righteous anger at the violence endured by Black communities. Monuments to racists and colonizers have been torn down.

While most students probably didn’t have school on their minds, the Concordia Student Union council has clashed all summer. Many of its members were subjected to a work environment poisoned by racism and transphobia as they lost narrow votes on meaningful issues.

We encourage incoming students to realize how much it matters who represents them at their student union, and we hope in 2021 to see an improved voter turnout. Last year, it was 5.6 per cent.

Reimagining our Orientation issue for a digital school experience has probably been as disorienting as starting university from your bedroom. What is a useful map of Concordia when students are scattered in isolation?

The Disorientation Issue, and our coverage to come in the months ahead, aims to capture the breadth of this new learning experience. We, too, will spend the semester trying to figure out a balance between staying healthy—both physically and mentally—maintaining financial security, and maybe even passing our classes.

Amid the turmoil, some of us are finding ourselves in better situations. Fully online learning is an accessibility milestone. Yet, many students are feeling cheated out of core university experiences.

As we enter this semester we must remember that learning transcends the physical classroom. We must recognize which walls are barriers and which ones are load bearing. Within this chaotic and abrupt change we must find the pieces that will be the foundation of a better learning experience for all students.

Back-to-school season was already a hectic time for most of us, a dreaded end to summer fun intertwined with an uncool febrility for an environment that brings us sweet joy and bitter pain.

As we grapple with the fragility of everything we love, let’s not forget to find joy where we can. You won’t get to show up to your Friday 9 a.m. lecture with your hangover sunglasses or crack jokes to the desk over, but don’t let that stop you from pioneering new stupid university experiences. Take a bong rip during your Zoom lecture, shoot your shot in the chat—whatever keeps you sane.

Wash your hands, tip your service workers, and hopefully we can soon walk again through the leaky tunnel.

This article originally appeared in The Disorientation Issue, published September 8, 2020.