Mario Micallef ‘22
“I guess we’ll just have to get used to this.” oozed Professor Diameter with his usual nasally monotone utterance. It was the second class we had in the Fundamentals of Stapling, the first course requirement for the Accounting major, and already there were 5 kids sick with the new virus. As we were all pulling out our protractors and calipers, our Professor fired up the hologram console and beamed the kids into their empty desks. Of course, I was a couple minutes late to class on account of a bad case of scurvy I picked up during my time on the high seas these past semesters off campus. They really make the holograms for these new hybrid classes so unbelievably life-like, it’s unreal. I forgot my laser ruler and so I leaned over to ask Bernadette if I could borrow hers for today’s class and, I kid you not, she handed me one. I don’t know how but she did it, I swear.
Accept, it didn’t quite work like I’d hoped. At first I couldn’t tell, so I thanked her through my breathing helmet: I gave her a thumbs up on my face screen- She gave me a warm animated smile back, and then I went about setting up the laser ruler. Only it didn’t work at all of course (even though I gave it at least eight more tries using different techniques I learned from the Accounting major handbook (of which I do not leave the house without because I’d like to think I’m a good citizen) but alas, it was no use). Bernadette was just staring at me, not a single word that she was a hologram. I felt like an idiot. Come to find out Professor Diameter had her on mute.
Later on, we had to work in groups for this project on balancing the Department of the Interior’s expense report from 2002 and 2003. If you ask me, I’d say the whole class could hardly contain their excitement. Yet, it was the darndest thing to try and communicate with a holographic group member. Not to mention the radio silence (actually it was more like an electronic hum or white noise) when Professor tried to integrate them into a discussion, “And those of you who are holographic for today’s class, what do you think is the best formula to use for the income column?” Their screens always interfered with our own frequencies in the classroom. After a while it was like witnessing the wall of televisions at Best Buy asynchronously play a new movie trailer on full volume, 100 times in a row. But, Professor Diameter is right, we will just have to get used to it. There’s nothing we can do; we can’t miss class, yet we want to be cautious for the safety of others. After staring at holograms of students & teachers for a year and a half while campus was closed, my time on the high seas has taught me a valuable lesson: facing the reality of scrubbing the poop-deck is one thing but facing the reality of scrubbing a holographic poop-deck is something virtually all of us won’t get used to.