Major Project 5 Reflection
May 3, 2021
This Isn’t the Hard Part
A global pandemic screamed to educators and students to be more creative and resourceful in their learning. I lit torch on my academic self, found it enflamed with panic and desperation. Who was I but this vessel of years upon years of academic stagnation? Teachers that were uninspired. Teachers that were tired. Teachers that had braved archaic learning structures just so students could open a window to freedom. My academic self lay shriveling instead of ballooning. English 1102 challenged the preconceived notions I had of academic writing. I was a tiny island betrayed by the ominous colonizers, maybe the metaphor seems extreme, but I hadn’t known just how far away I could get.
If you can picture Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, overweight and mumbling his lines a shell of his shiny glory as Hollywood’s affecting prince. I was Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now the brightness of the first assignment, learning another person’s academic self, meeting classmate Hannah via Zoom, immediately recognizing I had been starving to talk to anyone who was facing the identical challenge of learning within a global pandemic. It was remarkable in how our expression of conversation flowed but when I left the Zoom, I knew the solitary pursuit of a satisfying grade in the class would only be my very own journey. The Tuesday and Thursday videos a glimpse of a professor who was effusive in giving learning a spin, a destiny beyond just a grade. The patchwriting assignment became the first marginal hiccup, dissecting the words of writer Sean Michael Morris and his article ,“Pivot to Online: A Student Guide. An article that surmised pandemic teaching would require resilience and a bit of fortitude. The author focusing on those marginalized uniquely and willful to give insight into how to help. I hadn’t thoughtfully engaged with the text and my writing reflected as much. I couldn’t rely on flowery prose I had to open my brain and give it sunlight. It was another bullet in the already weakening academic self.
I am a bad writer. I’m not a bad writer. I was born a good writer. That’s the voice in my head. I swallowed that voice. I had to if I wanted to complete the SAR Project 3. This scary thing happened I realized if I wasn’t interested in an assignment. I pushed it off a cliff, let it cling helplessly to the stony edge. Since I was five and could make words form sentences, I’d scribbled tales of evil witches and pugnacious girls in a faded tablet. The teachers fawning over the child who writes the tales, “She was born a writer!” they so easily stated. I received an 80, and I didn’t bother looking at the rubric feedback. I was a bad writer. I was staring at a blank computer screen like thousands of other students. If I put my hand to the screen would someone else’s hand reach back.
Burnout had come quicker this time, the lethargy had fangs. Writing in the first draft isn’t the best draft, that was a pill I needed to swallow. I thought I could use an old remedy of falling apart inside a book. I picked up the Vanishing Half by Britt Bennet. For a while it soothed the ache promised memories of staying awake past midnight to finish a novel. The research project loomed, and I kept flipping pages. I had become Travis Bickel immersed in the darker teasing of my psyche. I wouldn’t self-monologue in the mirror. I knew how to self-destruct, a perfectionist of chaos. I believed in arson; I could set my academic self on fire. Implode. Explode. Expose.
I miss voices. I miss the curve of a smile. I miss the nervous quiet of an echoing lecture. I miss giggling. I miss flirting and provocative banter. I miss the whispers of a rumor. I miss the classroom. A makeshift desk upon my bed, the sticky kitchen table and the crowded noisy Panera I tried it all to get that old thing back, but it isn’t the same. Fall semester is still in its slumber but when it awakens, I will go back to campus vaccinated and maybe a just a bit stronger.