Brave New World: What the Next 12 Months Will Be LikeJune 26, 2020
Will you be able to cook a barbecue next summer? Can the theories of Plato (and other Greek philosophers) help you navigate through this new normal? Are you afraid of meeting your coursemates soon? The answers to these questions, and other questions, will be known in a moment. Let's start with sport, as recent events have shown that we need it more than ever.
The National Rugby League (NRL) will allow spectators. There are trepidations, as the Adria Tour is canceled after several tennis players are Covid-19 positive. The aims may be noble, but the spectators might have been restless after being quarantined for weeks. Players didn't follow the basic rules in social distancing, prompting fans to wonder if staging the US Open would be a good idea. There won't be any fans, and organisers of the Battle of the Brits would show how tournaments should be conducted in the months to come. As a matter of fact, Tennis Australia is planning to stage a tour, similar to the Battle of the Brits, which should help local players to prepare for the remainder of 2020 ATP and WTA tours. Novak Djokovic may not deserve to get all the flak, as we can't be cooped inside our homes for a long time. We need to get out, even if there's a possibility of an outbreak. (And it happened in a small community in Germany.) What do all of these have to do with the coursework? A lot, if more than most university students would imagine.
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak was greater than most feared, and it would include those pressing issues. For instance, the government didn't veil the blame on the Chinese government. Universities are bracing for the steep decline of the number of international students especially Chinese students. Racism may not be a pandemic in Australia, but the economy is another thing. This new development could affect your studies, and you won't like your few options. Deferring your entry won't be an option, as many countries won't allow tourists. (It's one of the lessons to be learned from the Adria Tour.) You may scrap your (immediate) plan to learn handicrafts from indigenous people, if not save those English lessons for next year or the year after next. Online teaching is an alternative, but those who will continue their studies must ignore it. Why?
The Coursework Help Me Spot the Flaws of the University
To be or not to be, that is THE question. You're dismayed at ministers who diminish the value of the arts degree, which made you wondered if your investment in comic books and paperbacks was wasted. No, not at all. As a matter of fact, these ministers have read lots of books by Greek philosophers and the Renaissance thinkers. (And they haven't heard "Sophie's World".) They might not be hinting that it would be sensible to take vocational courses, even if Australia had relative success in the handling of the pandemic. Such an opinion can be ignored before the pandemic. However, the lockdown resulted in a lot of changes. If you happen to be a graduating student, you must assess your options one more time. (A postgraduate study IS a good option.) If you spend an additional hour (or two) on browsing the Internet, then you will stumble into this intriguing report from America.
What do you have to lose? Boston Globe reported a positive effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on secondary education. High school students will be required to study one more year, a critical period that can be a life-changer to them. They will study electronics, among other things, which should help them in narrowing (or expanding) their career options. If you're a soon-to-be first-year student, then this is your cue to make inquiries on universities offering short courses. The situation may prompt you to seek courses that are free of charge, and it's OK. You may be a voracious learner, which could lead to your bed filled with 40 certificates or more. What you learned won't be wasted at all, as some might come in handy while writing a paper.
Face-to-face learning or online learning. Here's another interesting development from America: Covid-19 testing would determine the future of learning in schools and universities. You may wonder why not both. Moreover, you're having reservations about it. (Americans don't seem to be serious about the protocols on safety.) You would choose face-to-face learning, but the risk is still there. You may have noticed many Australians not wearing masks, which makes online learning a better option. You can ask tutors about it, which could make you decide on what to do next term. The system might be different, but it can happen here. This could help America's disadvantaged students, so there's no need to doubt about it.
The coursework was supposed to make you "job-ready", but the coronavirus was a spoilsport. Pursuing a degree was supposed to broaden your perspective and help you think critically, but the pandemic could make you obsessed with a particular perspective and make you become more critical. You're about to join the Twitter users who are badgering Novak Djokovic, but it's a waste of time. If you think about the recent events, the pandemic would make you wonder if your studies would be good enough. It's not really the case, but this is the sentiment of those who can't wait to travel the world (for the first time). There's no link between Greek philosophy and getting hired, and you won't find a job ad for a Western canonist (if there's such a thing), but you should know that any skill you have learned would help you sooner. There's no need to be eager on that return of investment, as everything takes time.
You hate Zoom, but you haven't told anyone. You can keep it to yourself until someone would notice your discomfort. Honesty is the best policy.
Someone invited you to a party, but you don't know what to say. You can tell your host, who happens to be a friend of your coursemate, that you plan to bring some goodies and you don't have a clue on how many. If it's more than ten, then you can give a lame excuse. (It may be a good time to cook for your family, and post some pictures on social media.) If you're getting bored (and accept the invitation), then you must know that you can't stay long. And don't take pictures.
Loss of Expertise: How to Rise Above the Ashes
The pandemic would threaten the livelihood of many people in the university, which fermented intellectual life. Universities managed to survive from whatever setbacks, political or economical, yet the Covid-19 pandemic would lead to different contrition. This issue needs public participation, but it's the middle of the term. This can lead to a lively exchange of emails, if not a lengthy chat. Zoom might be the best avenue for such a discussion, but you still can't make public of your hate (of Zoom). Plan ahead.
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