Screaming On the Inside

Virtual learning has me virtually spiraling

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

These past few weeks have been weird.

I haven’t been working, I’ve taken up exercise (which has been put on temporary hold due to a knee injury) and my roommate has moved out — taking all of the dishes with her. 

However, it is the transition to online classes that I find especially challenging.

Thankfully, I don’t find any of my courses to be any more difficult than before. In fact, some have gotten easier. My problem does not lie with difficulty.

My problem lies with motivation. 

First of all, I love sleep. I could sleep all day if that didn’t feel so pathetic. Now that I don’t have to get up for class or work, I’ve really been wasting my days away. For example, it’s currently 1 p.m. and I only got out of bed half an hour ago.

Second, I have other things going on besides my classes. I still report for the Chippewa Valley Post and the Spectator, I’ve been looking at summer jobs or internship opportunities and I’ve been preparing a poster for CERCA. 

Finally, I simply find it hard to care about classes that I am not physically attending. I forget they even exist. I have not yet gotten in the habit of checking my assignments every day and, frankly, I feel less urgent about completing the assignments I do know about.

All of these things make for a deadly combination that I am not proud of. I aim to be a good student, but recently I’ve felt as though I am failing myself.

It doesn’t even feel like I’m in college anymore. My school work has become an afterthought in a whirlwind of global panic, financial downfall and declining mental health.

I know the UW System is considering making the Fall 2020 semester online-only as well. I would almost prefer to just take the next semester off. Almost.

We are rapidly approaching the end of what I personally consider the worst semester ever. As we do so, I can’t help but feel like something has been taken away from me. Even though classes continue in a virtual format, I don’t feel like I’ve learned as much as I should have. 

I’m frustrated, as I’m sure many students are. This is not what we’ve signed up for, nor is it what we’ve intended to spend thousands of dollars on. (Having said that, I do think it’s important to acknowledge that professors still need to be paid, so please do not demand a tuition refund).

As far as I’m concerned, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken things away from all of our educations. I don’t know about you all, but that certainly has me screaming on the inside.

Of course, I am grateful for the university faculty who have tried so hard to keep things going. It can’t be easy to teach so many students virtually with only a few weeks of preparation, but from what I’ve seen, they’re all doing their best.

So, yes: I insist on grieving the potential education that I have lost. But, it has not been taken away completely. So long as we all keep fighting for the things that matter most to us, we will get through this — one way or another.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected]