What it was really like to go to class before the pandemic

If you were a university student in the 2010s, in a time before raising virtual Goom hands and making your own shitty coffee between classes (as opposed to spending your res dollars on shitty branded coffee), you will probably remember what it was like to walk to class, have to talk to people you accidentally met in first year and go to in-person lectures.

Long gone are the days of standing in a queue at Mike’s Cafe before shuffling begrudgingly towards Tee-Cannon to attend the history class you only went to because you had a crush on the professor. You miss the days when you knew what it was like to make a brief second of eye contact with a stranger, recognize the familiar sadness in their eyes and feel like you’ve known them your entire life.

Perhaps you liked going to class because it offered you discipline, or perhaps you were a fan of rewatching old episodes of Ketchup is the New Mustard in the immersive environment of your chemistry class. Whatever it was, only true 2010s students (or anyone older than that, I suppose) will understand the painful nostalgia that comes from realizing that you will have to spend an entire academic year not hiding from vicious seagulls out to peck every crumb of quesadilla away from you.

We asked some veteran second years to tell us what they miss the most.

Printing papers as an adventure sport

“I miss the rush of getting to the library five minutes before class to print out my term papers, stumbling to organize them and stapling my fingers by accident,” said Racecar Rodriguez, wiping a tear off her face.

“Now I have to use the printer in my parents’ bedroom to print out lecture slides right before the midterm just to feel something. It’s been a really tough time.”

Going to class while sick

Lippocrates remembered the rewarding hit of dopamine you get after successfully undertaking a challenging task.

“You know, it’s difficult to remember how hard you work and to appreciate yourself when life is passing you by so quickly.” They paused and took a deep breath.

“That’s why I liked to show up to lectures even when I was burning up and spewing flu germs. Everyone could see how committed I was, how much I persevered. It meant a lot to me and profoundly improved my self-esteem.”

At that point, Lippocrates had to take a minute and walked out of the room.

Navigating the meandering halls to get to office hours

We caught Zad Gad in the middle of a skating session.

“Dude, I never thought I would say this, but I miss wasting half an hour to get to office hours. Now I just waste half an hour looking for the Goom link that my prof has forgotten to post. It’s kind of the same, but it’s not the same, dude.”

While we can now appreciate the beauty of being able to nap in between classes, keeping our cameras off to avoid social interaction at all costs and eating your French grandmother’s amazing ratatouille every night, the current university experience is just not the same as it was back in the day. ☺

This article is part of The Ubyssey’s 2021 spoof issue, NICE Magazine.