How I am going to be more actively participating

It’s pretty hard to catch a yawn off zoom classes and nobody’s going to share a Timbit with you anymore. It’s hard to listen to someone and even harder to grasp their body language from just their face or impossible off a faceless avatar. I don’t tap anyone on the shoulder and I miss a good old hug. I preferred when the time between classes was more about catching up and about friends instead of trying to connect to a class session alone before T-time hits. As a non-native, Timbits entered my life soon after I began at UofT. These creations of ultra sweet, cake fluffs each with enough energy to power a small tank, was one of the things that would be shared. And the energy kickstarted conversations.

That form of energy isn't here these days. I miss yawning contagiousness, you know when you look at someone yawning and then you begin to yawn too. Just like you’re feeling now. We lose body language and we slowly lose interaction and our engagement. I have found in adapting to online work, it’s more of the same of the ‘same old cycle’ each day. I work more hours and go through the motions.

One of the last evening skies of October, and I find going outside and glancing at the sky is relaxing.

Aware of this passive cycle, I'm beginning to do other activities with fellow people, with a recent experience with Skule’s community outreach team, SCOre. We have offered a Halloween competition to help get the engineering community involved and offer a chance to wind down a bit. I reach out via Instagram and enlisted the help of the two Skule figureheads in Mr Blue and Gold and Lady Godiva if you have heard of the names. The competition has no monetary prize but was focused on a sense of community. The contest itself also is a chance to share photos from any past Halloween and enter them in as a causal contest for bragging rights. Yet, it’s been really tricky to motivate and ask people, especially the new class, but it's important to encourage them to get involved at a busy time of year. 

Image of the Halloween costume contest for SCOre's contest on their instagram story
Image by SCOre, Skule Community Outreach at U of T

The same thoughts of 'should I talk in this class, or ask that question I really should', or speak to the professor in front of hundreds of students runs through all our minds. Until fairly recently, I was in the boat of I don’t need to and if I have a problem in the future I will ask but not now.

A couple of weeks back, as a result of catching up with the class, it just hit me that I should talk, be proactive because life’s too short to worry and wait until next time. We easily fall back into our comfort zone without our close friends and the comforts of bedrooms and homes sometimes put us to a passive sleep where we forget about the bigger picture. I’m just saying make the most of the difficult situation and even though the best day was yesterday, today’s a pretty good day to start. 

There's a growing list of things I want to get involved with from various Hart House activities that tick boxes that conventional classes can't compete with. I can learn about film development and music creation there while also being able to watch theatre and talk to other students who have more experience but have that open community. It is something that I know people put a lot of effort in and also what I want to work on.

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