The law of the land is sacred, but its morality is less relevant. As long as you are familiar with what professors are permitted to expect from their students, you understand what you can get away with. You follow regulations very carefully but prioritize your own interests, like any savvy Gabelli student. Unafraid to cite remodified syllabi if you feel even slightly perturbed by a course’s recent workload in a deadpan tone to your professor’s exhausted, hunched-over Zoom silhouette, you’ve never strayed from protocol but have also managed to weaponize generosity amid the chaos of a pandemic.
You wake up in the morning, stumble from bed and make a beeline for a shower, some coffee or your phone (100% charged). As you thoughtfully begin to plan your day, you aspire to neither impress nor distress. You participate in two Zoom classes, use the raise-hand function once to ask a question and only minimize the window four times to scroll through Tumblr when the lecture gets boring. So far, you’ve turned in every assignment on time because you play by the rules and avoid chaotic, unregulated discourse, but once guidelines for expected behavior shift as quarantine ends, so will your habits, conduct and disposition.
Despite the turbulent transition to online classes, you’ve kept up with all assignments on a rigid schedule, taking online tests the moment they become available, completing asynchronous assignments as early as possible and always interjecting yourself into the Zoom group chat to give a cheerful “Good afternoon, professor” before all your classmates have logged on. In fact, you maintain the majority of your pre-social distancing habits, viewing surmounting the obstacles that come with the disruption of typical Fordham life as feats over which to triumph with consistency and optimism.
The axiom “every man for himself” has never resonated with you more. You aren’t going to go out of your way to hurt anyone, but desperate times call for desperate measures. “We are in a pandemic,” you find yourself explaining to your irritated siblings, “I need to claim the deal on Dad’s Verizon plan so I can upgrade my iPad to keep up with my college (emphasis on college) courses!” Society’s rules have never been so flimsy, and you take advantage of every opportunity to enhance your circumstances.
Rose-colored glasses don’t come in your size. The world is the way it is — coronavirus and all. Studying from home has disrupted your school schedule, disintegrated your expectations for the spring semester and even forced you to reevaluate your plans for summer vacation. You aren’t happy, but you recognize that disruption is a routine gamble in the game of life. You log on for all your Zoom classes, refuse to let the quality of your schoolwork suffer and maintain an adequate sleeping schedule. If the Wi-Fi were to falter, however, and you were excused from assignments for a few days, you wouldn’t give it a second thought. Don’t we all deserve a reprieve once in a while, as a treat?
As long as you feel that you are making a positive difference in the lives of your family and your peers, your general mood doesn’t flux. You turn in your work on time so as not to disrupt professors’ grading schedules, babysit your younger siblings for your parents and check up on your friends during class using the private chat function. You’re not really concerned with how the flip to online schooling might make facets of your life more difficult to deal with, as long as your loved ones are safe and healthy. You have no particular agenda but the well-being of your community and the preservation of your capability to be a helpful student and friend during this stressful time. God bless.
As long as your needs are being fulfilled, the disruption of others’ livelihoods doesn’t matter. You didn’t want to go to your 8:30 a.m. ET Zoom session, so you shut off your alarm and rolled over in bed, despite the fact that a classmate was counting on you as moral support for his upcoming presentation. The homemade face mask your friend sewed for you clashes with your coat, and staying fashionable at the grocery store is important to you, so you eschew the anti-virus protection policy recommended by the governor. Addressing your wanton needs is most important to you, and you’ll find a way to fulfill these desires on a whim, pandemic or not.
When Fordham first sent word that face-to-face instruction was terminated for the remainder of the semester, you nearly jumped for joy. With a soft spot for the liberation from confining expectations that comes with unprecedented situations, you see an opportunity to go big once you’ve gone home. You aren’t planning to disrupt your family or test your professors’ patience, but the uncertainty laying in the months ahead will be manipulated to your advantage. You’ll finish all your work and be respectful to the vulnerable and distressed around you, but you plan to fulfill these meager expectations in the most entertaining and confusing ways possible.
You’ve always wanted more free time, and with the cancellation of public life, when will there be a better opportunity to live life to the fullest? Adjusting to online classes is important, and you believe you’ve done that with effort and grace, but deep down you need to tap into the artistic desires that are rooted in your soul. Since you don’t have any classes in the morning, you wake up at sunrise to get started on your ever-lengthening bucket list. Who says you can’t learn guitar completely from YouTube tutorials? You have D chord down so far and your fingers are only mildly numb. As you strum along, playing the prelude to your favorite pop-rock song, you smile. The world may be closed indefinitely, but it’s certainly your oyster.