Do you ever feel like things are going great in certain aspects of your life, but not in others?
Yeah, that’s me right about now. Hi guys. I’m still here. If you don’t remember, I’m Nat, forever goofball, always anxious, and maybe, just maybe, always tired.
I know I’ve been MIA for the past few months, and to be honest, I wish I had a reason for that. In truth, one could say that I DO have a reason; I’ve been busy working, I’ve been developing in several different relationships, and I’ve been treading water in my academics. I wish I could tell everyone that Covid-19 hasn’t affected me. I wish I could say, “No, I’m an introvert who is simply THRIVING off no contact. Aren’t you?” I wish I could say that online learning is amazing because I don’t have to get up in the morning and get dressed. The truth of it all is that it is hitting me, hard.
I’ve been working for just over two months with an amazing organization, doing what I love, supporting those who need it. Things feel like they’re solidifying in terms of my personal relationships. I feel like a different person in all the good ways. I’m learning how to bake new things, cook outside of my comfort zone, and set a semi-regular workout routine. But in terms of school, I am unhappy. Something that I’ve told all my professors is that I … just don’t feel like I’m learning anything. It isn’t their fault—hell, they got the shitty part of the bargain in this distance learning. But because I am blind, social interaction for my already-anxious self is extremely important to me. I’m a Communications major for a reason; I love communicating about topics I am passionate about. I take classes that aren’t exactly my focus of study online because it’s easier to manage. Taking major required classes online… feels about ten times harder. I turn and look at the things I have to do, and I can’t say to myself, “I’ll ask Professor x about this in class.? I can’t turn to my partner and potentially make them extremely uncomfortable by forcing them to interact with my blind self by asking what the assignment is. For all their trying, my university has made me feel so isolated. And that’s my own personal Hell.
I attempted to form a study group via Zoom to have some sense of regularity, but just like me, others felt so overwhelmed by what they were being asked to do. Financial aid, another burden on my conscience, has been another thing dragging a lot of students down. It’s November, a little halfway through the semester, and many students don’t have their aid. Holds are placed on accounts because of course, the university needs their fees paid. This means you can’t register for classes until you call office X, Y, and Z, not hear back from office X and Z, then get a half-assed apology from office Y that has you going back to X and Z. And the worst part of the latter situation is this: they’re trying their best with the resources they have. Students like me are also trying. Everyone from staff to students, faculty to the coyotes on campus are trying. But it doesn’t feel cohesive. It feels miserable and anxiety-inducing. It feels like being trapped while needing to move forward and failing. As a transfer student, it feels awful not being able to experience what being in your junior year on campus is like.
Sure, I’m introverted. But I’ve reached out to all my professors with varying degrees of desolation because I don’t know how to learn virtually. I haven’t been able to write for a couple of months because I had no idea what to say. It would probably have been something like, “Hey man, I did a 30-minute workout. I feel ripped AF.” Like… no. Just no, dude bro.
All in all, I’m frustrated with feeling like I am struggling academically and not being seen. It’s hard for professors and staff to acknowledge your struggles when they can’t see you. They don’t see how you stare at your laptop and try to understand a powerpoint. They do not see the tears and frustration that crosses your face when all you must do is that discussion, or that assignment worth 5 points. It feels like a monumental task with no reward. I do not feel like I’m learning. And it feels like my own personal hell.