Playing musical chairs with my education

Hybrid learning has got me running around campus just to be on time

Finding an adequate study place is harder than it looks Photo Laura Lalonde

Now that school is back on track in a semi-normal way, my routine has easily fallen back into what it used to be: wake up, curse the world, go to class.  

Although now, going to class looks a bit different. For a lot of students, their fall semester schedule is a mix of online and in-person classes, some 30 minutes or even 15 minutes apart. At least, that’s the case for me.

This means I need to quickly find a place where to have my online classes. It’s a crazy survival game of musical chairs—if I’m not fast enough into finding a good study place—I lose by getting late to class.  

Having too short a break in between classes that are held so differently makes it difficult to maintain a routine.  It forces me to stay near campus, because I’ll have to either run to Hall after my online class, or from the Learning Square to sit who-knows-where. This ultimately pushes me to settle for a mediocre learning environment.  

The library spots I prefer might have long been occupied by a string of students facing the same dilemma as me, and if by any chance I scout an unoccupied space that seems too good to be true, it’s most likely because there’s no outlet near it.

What this style of teaching might not have taken into consideration is the inability to quickly find a place to study. I am very limited in where I can go, the places are not guaranteed, and worst of all, I’m missing out on participation points. If I’m in the library, for example, I have to consider the hard and fast rule of silence.

Awkwardness and side-glances aside, talking in public spaces is very disruptive to other patrons of the establishment, and allows them a voyeuristic access to my private life. It can get uncomfortable really quickly.

Choosing to study in a coffee shop, amongst the hustle and bustle that is the Sir Georges William campus is also an incredibly risky game. Without mentioning the awful cost efficiency of studying in a café, I could also face the misfortune of sitting next to noisy neighbours who could care less about me learning the ins-and-outs of historical linguistics.  

I have nowhere to call a home base.  In my little corner of some random coffee shop, drinking overpriced coffee and not being able to participate in class, I’m having the worst time of my life.

After a year of being holed-up in my tiny studio apartment, struggling to keep up with the class material because I found my wall more interesting than the screen, it’s no wonder I was looking forward to having my online classes outside my home.

Now though, staring at my own wall seems more inviting than running around the downtown campus, slowly watching my 15 minute break go to waste.