By Zain Butt
With our return to school this year we have found ourselves in a setting that is oh-so-familiar to the years pre-Covid, and for each and every once missing thing I find myself beaming with joy at the opportunities and people that have been absent from my life for oh-so long. But of course there are still the reminders that we are not out of the woods yet, reminders that seek to ruin much of the enjoyment that is to be had being back in school.
I am speaking of course of the changes to the modified semester system, or more accurately the implementation of one as we used to be a non-semestered school before. Instead of 4 classes per day, we now only have 2 classes per day and, notably, those are the only two we have throughout the week.
The first change, that of having a modified semestered system now, is not one that I am entirely opposed to. In fact, I’d say that I don’t really mind such a system so much now as last year we had a quadmester system that in some ways prepared us for this. While I would still prefer the diversity that a non-semestered system brings to each and every day, it’s something I am willing to part with.
Something that is a lot harder to let go of though in this “modified semester system” is the fact that we only have 2 courses each week. Now at first you might just see this as similar to the change to having a regular semester system, it would bring about a similar change in a reduction of unique courses each week; however, while that much is true, at least in a semestered system where each course was present each week it’d be easier to keep track of them all.
Let me explain what I mean. Say that it’s a Friday. You didn’t get much sleep, too busy gaming with friends laughing through the night, you weren’t able to get a coffee because Michelle forgot to buy one for you (she forgets every time, you swear) and you’ve come back from a lunch of running around playing with friends. Say that near the end of this class that you are likely to have some issue in fully paying attention to, your teacher puts aside a minute at the end of the day where everyone is already packing up to leave to tell you that you have homework.
Now you are a responsible student. You always check up on your work. But even a responsible student might forgo checking on the work that they have for a class that they won’t be having for another week because, well, they won’t be having it for another week. So when they walk into class 9 days after the work was assigned and forgot they had it, can you really blame them?
Let’s not even talk about how it derails topics that you’ve been covering by putting a week between your chances to talk about it (over a week including weekends). So by the time you’re back in class discussing projectile trajectory, everything you learnt is going to be a little dusty.
And it’d be another thing if I could see the benefit of such a system, but for the life of me I can’t. I understand the intention, separating people so as to lower chances of spreading. If people only interact with a singular group for a week and they go home for the weekend, they’ll have likely shown symptoms by then and the virus will not have spread any further than that class.
Now, you all being intelligent readers might have already figured out the flaw in this method of prevention that exists in the way our school handles things, and that’s lunch. At lunch time, folks from all classes and even grades in some cases hang out amongst themselves. Sure they might share a class with one or two friends, but why settle for two when one has more? Suddenly the culling of the spreading brought about by the change is drowned in the reality that people from whatever class that the virus hypothetically might’ve spread to are going to interact with people from, quite possibly, every other class in their grade in the entire school.
So you might ask me, do I want to see it all change? Do I want to march in front of the school making my opinion heard, bringing the student body along with me? Do I want to see a revolution where I see the changes that I believe are the most sensible around here? Am I willing to die on the hill of the great non-semestered glory days?
No, not really. I’m just a student expressing some resentment at something I find a little frustrating, even if that’s all it is, a little thing. Hopefully in doing so I’m giving some of you the ability to better live with it too, by knowing we’re all feeling it. Because trust me, we are.