Is it the pandemic? / Easing back in

“Is it because of the pandemic?” my brain asks, and the answer can always be yes. At the very least, we should all be entitled to that easy excuse.

Today I’m asking about my strong resistance to being a student this semester. Graduate students are typically top students in college and high school, highly motivated, and probably over-achievers. But in the two weeks since our late start to the semester, I feel my motivation slipping lower and lower, like the change in my posture over the course of a Zoom class, leaning back further and further, until my head rests small at the bottom of my screen, the rest of my rectangle filled up with a fake, sunny background.


I am in my third year of graduate school and making a final push to finish my coursework. Why I thought any kind of push was necessary this semester is beyond me. But that too, I can blame on the pandemic. I’ve maxed out my credits hours now so I can avoid whatever disastrous plan the university might try to implement in the fall.

Is it because of the pandemic that I’ve become so distrustful of so many institutions? (No.) (But I’d like to activate the easy excuse here too please.)

I wanted to write about writing. Then I wanted to discuss why being a student right now is terrible. I also had ideas for a post about the unexpected benefits of asynchronous Zoom classes, and what it was like to teach for the first time during a pandemic, or to teach race after the murder of George Floyd, or to use ungrading in my class.

But I think my fingers first needed to carve out words to acknowledge that we are all slipping, even as we click-clack email replies in our new work-from-home spaces (#WFH), zip from one meeting to the next with two clicks more, remind each other we are muted all day, and then stretch back in worn office chairs and remind ourselves that we should have taken a walk today.

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