The countdown to Friday, May 17, has officially begun, also known as the last day of classes for spring semester at Long Beach State. To say the date is not close enough is an understatement—it cannot come fast enough for a 40-plus-year-old transfer student who will have completed 10 courses from September to May.
Fall semester, intercession and spring semester all blur together on Zoom and Beachboard. Burnout is real. While my goal is to graduate as fast as possible, I started the year looking forward to a four-year university’s learning and challenges.
Transferring from El Camino College, I chose the CSULB Journalism program to interact with professors who were practitioners in the field, engage with fellow classmates with shared interests and sit on the quad between classes to complete my assignments and interview a subject for a story. Relegated to my kitchen table for the year, I have had a very different experience.
In September, I had my home desk ready to go. With my headphones on and a crisp blank page in my notebook, I logged into Zoom, ready to learn. With each online passing class, I found myself slowly starting to multi-task.
With dogs in the background, an 8-year-old running around and something as simple as the mailman giving me a reason to step away from the kitchen table, my college experience was not what I had imagined. I am committed to learning, paying attention in class and completing my assignments, but sometimes I am in class while walking on the treadmill and other times while tidying up the kitchen.
Multi-tasking is my attempt to fight the burnout of sitting in front of a computer. Screen fatigue is real. I can listen, take notes as needed and avoid back pain from being seated for hours. I can also avoid the challenge of multiple screens being open during class if I am up and about.
We all know that side by side with the Zoom screen can be Twitter, Google and an occasional computer game. Maybe it is my undiagnosed ADHD, but I can concentrate on listening as I multi-task, and I am more likely to stay “tuned In” while being active.
My plan to finish strong is simple. I am going to keep doing what I am doing.
Though I can be a bit of a procrastinator— I am writing this the day it is due instead of Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday— I will continue to ask questions in class, engage with my professors and meet deadlines on assignments. My goal is still the same: finish as fast as possible. I only hope that the summer session will find me on campus, masked up and ready to learn.