I wear glasses. Granted, I am fortunate enough to not need them in order to see properly, but I get headaches if I don’t wear them for an extended period. I am also on campus this term and am attending hybrid classes, which means that almost every day of the week, I am in a classroom, double-masked, and wearing my glasses. Those of you reading this from behind lenses of your own, I can practically hear your sighs of frustrated recognition at the most annoying problem for any glasses-wearer during this global pandemic: every time I breathe under my mask, my glasses get foggy.
It’s always something with COVID-19 classes, isn’t it? Finally, after a year of Zoom University, we are allowed to be in a classroom again, but there are about twenty different stipulations. We can be in a classroom, but we can never come within 6 feet of each other, we wipe everything down before and after class, we are not allowed to pass papers around, and our glasses get foggy every time we breathe. While these conditions for in-person learning are a small and bearable price to pay for actually being in a room with other human beings while taking notes, it can get a little tough to practice gratitude. When it’s hotter than blue blazes in the Walter Hall basement classrooms so a thick cloud coats the lenses of your glasses every time you exhale, it’s easy to look at the negatives of being back in hybrid classes.
When COVID seems to be sucking the fun out of every opportunity for face-to-face interactions, I think back to October. Cases were spiking in Washington county again, and students were flocking home for what seemed like the fifth time that year. Back in those hopeless, sorrowful weeks, I thought I knew with certainty that I would live out the rest of my days in college behind a computer screen. I would imagine what I would give to stress over homework with my friends in the CLIC or listen to the acoustics in Taylor-Meade carry a lecture. All any of us wanted was a little normalcy, and for the first time in a while, we have the opportunity to actually experience some, even if it’s only for a short while. Find the best way you know how to enjoy it and relish in the simple pleasure of an interaction with other people in person. Begrudgingly double-mask yourself, go sit behind a little plastic partition 6 feet away from the nearest living thing, and invest in some contact lenses so expelling carbon dioxide from your body does not feel like torture. — Isabelle Williams
Photo: Signage on campus indicated that students are required to wear masks in all indoor spaces (Isabelle Williams)