by Philip Duchild
Looking back on this semester, I find it difficult to describe our time together with a simple and cohesive idea. How do I summarize something that took place solely over the internet? When I try to think of a way to describe what happened in our class this semester, my mind jumps to one word: space. Somehow, we all created a shared space and shared experience despite a complete lack of contact. We each joined class from our individual rooms, yet somehow we created an entirely new space together. It may sound trite, but it’s true! I tried to create a reflection through images and words in order to (attempt) to express my thoughts and feelings.
The first space that I think represents my experience taking GSAG this semester is my bedroom.
In all of my other classes, I feel like my experience mainly consisted of staring at my computer and trying to keep my head down in order to take notes as fast as possible. In contrast, GSAG allowed me to actually feel like I was physically sharing a space with other people. I had time to slow down, look out of my bedroom window, take breaks during workshops, listen to music, and collaborate with my classmates during study group meetings. As a consequence, I have experiences to draw on when I try to remember what this class felt like. The space that I personally inhabited, my bedroom, holds reminders that I actually participated in this seminar and had shared experiences with my classmates. I can listen to albums that I played when working on Pressbook assignments and also look at pictures that I took through my bedroom window in order to remember what the class felt like.
In a more complicated and foggy way, I can also remember the imaginary space that all of us created together in class. It was never a physical space, but I can envision what the physical space would have been like. To me, the space that we created feels like somebody’s living room rather than a classroom. There would be a record player (listening to songs while we all enter class), lots of plants, couches, and probably places to sit on the ground if we wanted to. The space that I see in my mind when I think of class is ultimately a place of comfort and community, far removed from the idea of an academic setting or the troubles of an ongoing pandemic. We all were able to contribute our thoughts and voices in order to shape this space, and I see this space as the ultimate counter-narrative to Zoom college. This space offered joy, understanding, patience, kindness, and so much more– a sanctuary far removed from the harsh and strange emotions of our other Zoom classes. Although I won’t look back on the pandemic fondly, I will always miss the space that we were able to create together and hold for each other during this semester. I’m so happy to have had the privilege to get to know everyone in this class. Thank you everyone, and thank you Jody!