Back to School: My First In-Person Classroom Experience in over 10 Months
It finally arrived, my first in-person class in over 10 months was finally closing in. After completing 2 of my morning classes online and an afternoon of work, I was ready to prepare for my first in person class. My backpack was packed and I was properly dressed, and for the first time in over 10 months I was driving to class. I left my place early, about 40 minutes prior to the class start time. I usually leave 30 minutes prior, but my hunger consumed me and demanded a stop at Chick-Fil-A, the worlds fastest drive-thru. The stop was uneventful as expected yet the following events would be the final test. Rather than taking advantage of one of 3 cup holders in my trucks console, I insisted on holding the cup of water I had ordered in my right hand while steering with my left. Then, the bump hit; the cup had shifted ever so slightly before I was able to grad hold of it and at that point it was too late. I attempted to grab hold of the soft Styrofoam cup, but my thumb had stabbed it and the cup literally “runneth-ed” over. My weather proof rubber floor mats collected the spilled water with no problem but my cloth drivers seat soaked up the water immediately and eventually made its way to the back side of my blue jeans. I then realized that 10 minutes before my first in-person lecture in over 10 months, I had a quite the problem.
I needed to assess the situation prior to the class start time. I parked at my usual Commuter parking spot on the corner; a somewhat time-consuming walk to the building. With now 8 minutes before class and a mountain of work ahead, ironically before the class had even started, I had to figure out what I was going to do. My first option was to drive back home and change my pants, but that would make me a good 20–30 minutes late depending on traffic. My second option was to quickly dry my current pants as best I could and just pray no one noticed what had happened as I walked into the classroom. Then there was my third option, the option that my life had taught me many times before.
Preparation, the thing that makes you a hero to yourself and in many cases makes you look like a hero to other people. I searched the back seat of my truck and I found a clean pair of shorts to change into and a towel, which I used to quickly dry off. I then changed into the clean shorts, dried my drivers seat as best I could and locked my truck with 3 minutes to spare; finally arriving in my classroom seat 10 seconds prior to 6 pm on the dot. Just as I took my seat, the classroom lecture memories all came back, just six feet away from any other student and with everyone in the room wearing a mask.
Then there I was, sitting at the desk. I had already solved what had felt like my greatest problem of the week, and it was only a Monday ironically, ready to absorb the information the professor sent my way. Yet, I had absorbed something I never expected to absorb from the evening’s experience. In all honestly, despite my interest in the class subject, I was fully expecting to want to pick up my phone, scroll through social media and anxiously wait for the approximately 3 hour lecture to quickly pass. However, the exact opposite was true; I was ingrained in the lecture and in the hours that it lasted, I had used my phone to check when the nearest Firehouse Subs closed, for probably a total of 60 seconds.
I walked out of the class and sat in my truck; on the towel that was still on my drivers seat absorbing the water that still remained from the spill. I was intrigued by the fact that I wasn’t constantly wanting to use my phone, despite my young generation’s stereotype. I was not only proud of my discipline, I was excited to finally remember what the normal college experience was like. I was thankful; thankful that I had the opportunity to attend a live in-person college class lecture despite the fact that just a year ago it was all just normal to me.
I learned two things that evening; the first thing, never take things for granted and the second, always come prepared. A year ago going to class was just routine, the parking, the finding a seat, the planning on when to arrive, all these things were just routine and then March came around and they were no longer. Sometimes things in life change and before we know it, our routine is no longer routine, it’s a change. In life, change is inevitable, therefore it is crucial to enjoy each moment we have and not take it for granted. Even though we are in this pandemic, cherish your routine, because one day it may change. Then of course the highlight of the evening and where I celebrated my quick thinking; not forgetting that the experience was a reminder that my preparation did pay off; always remembering that no matter what anyone says, it is imperative to always be prepared, because it will pay off the one time you need it.