The Dingbat: So your university says she doesn't want to see you in person anymore

Lectures were something we used to do together! File Geoff Lister

My university and I have been seeing each other for two years now. I can’t say it’s been all ‘early admission’ and ‘Dean’s List’ for us, but it’s certainly been good for my career prospects. In the early days of our relationship, it was all consuming. I cannot even begin to explain how much reading we had, not to mention the unexpected costs of a budding post-secondary education. But I wouldn’t do anything differently knowing what I know now, knee deep into my bachelor’s degree with her.

Some might even say we’ve been happy. Some might even say we’ve fallen into a rhythm of sorts. A rhythm of readings, midterms, exams, repeat. They say predictability isn’t what you want in a relationship, but it works for UBC and me. She whispers “Tuum Est” to me almost everyday, and I use UBC Confessions to broadcast our poor communication.

But this past March, everything changed.

For a few weeks, she was saying “Don’t worry! I’m not gonna change. I’m gonna proceed as normal. I know all the other universities are changing, but I’m different. I’m not like the other universities.”

Then she started saying, “I’m gonna proceed with caution! I still really want this, but I just want you to know I’m being cautious now.”

And then she was like, “Well, I’m just not sure if I want to see you in person anymore.” And I was like, “What?

“For like, how long?” I asked. “Just for the rest of term?” And she was like, “Yeah... maybe? I really can’t be sure. I think we should take some time apart. For our physical and mental health.”

Obviously, this is paraphrasing, not plagiarism. I’d never do that to her. But you get the gist.

I tried to act like everything was normal. I’d still go to class with her, but she was really different. She’d be uploading things to Canvas, which I used to find exciting and cute, but now it just stressed me out. My heart used to skip a beat every time I got an email from UBC, but I started to leave her emails unread in my inbox for a day or two.

Did it all change when she adjusted the grade scheme for some of our courses mid-April? Or when she thought written reflections could replace the discussions we used to have in tutorials? Or maybe it was when she started to pre-record her lectures for me. Lectures were something we used to do together!

Moving our relationship online had its challenges (needless to say, we were doing a lot less reading). But it also came with some serious benefits. If I could sense a particularly difficult discussion coming on, I was able to prepare for it with notes. She even accepted a few late assignments because I told her my “Wi-Fi was down” or my WeBWorK “glitched” — things I never used to get away with.

So for sure, 2020W won’t be the same as 2019W, or 2018W. But we’ll take it one syllabus at a time. I’ll stick around whether she’s synchronous or asynchronous. Or at least until I’m ready to graduate.

The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour column. You can submit completed pieces or pitches to