Senseless Census


The administration proudly launched it’s newest remote learning schedule, all blinged out with 15 minute breaks in between classes. I’m impressed that administrators finally found a way to force students to follow Mr. Noe’s calls in past Convocation Speeches to literally “do nothing.” Worse than a 15 minute break spent staring at the wall are the Zoom classes; the fourth icebreaker of the day and the cramped intimacy of breakout rooms only serve to break down my sanity. Although I’ve found a lot to complain about in the current remote learning setup, I haven’t actually written this article to whine to the Lakeside Politburo to fix some minor schedule nuisances. We’re already urged to voice our remote learning opinions in the corporate dreariness of Google Forms. It was when I was about to cast a lengthy rant into the bleak abyss of a Google Form that I realized the meaninglessness of my tirade and how much I disliked filling out school surveys. For many of us, grumbling to each other about any school related inconvenience was an integral part of pre-quarantine school life. Name a more classic Lakeside vignette: in the refectory, students poke at a Meatless-Monday entree that they would moan about if they weren’t too occupied with their criticisms of the administration’s next cockamamie plan. The popularity of the Tatler’s “Angry Lion” is a testament to this community’s curmudgeonly nature. Before quarantine, honesty was incentivized because a student’s unique phrasing of a universal discomfort could garner recognition in the form of lunch-table laughter or Tatler publication. On top of that, there was always someone willing to listen and relate whether they were a friend or a Tatler reader. Nowadays, when I start filling out an administration feedback survey, I don’t feel an urge to voice my true opinions to an empathetic ear. The robotic prompts and requests to rank stress numerically seem like a set of diagnostics you’d run on machinery, not students. I also worry about the gravity of a survey sent by the administration. Will I get in trouble if I’m too harsh? Will anyone mind if I write two words then slam submit? Am I asked for numerical data so some administrator can include a graph in their next Powerpoint? I couldn’t actually tell you if the administration is getting less than effective feedback from their surveys because the process isn’t a dialogue– data is rarely disclosed to the wider community. If the rest of the student body is at all like me, they might feel like filling out the current surveys is a futile chore. Perhaps the administration could get a better idea of student needs by emulating the methods of pre-quarantine campus life. Use advisors to relay any griping they hear in their weekly meetings. Release numerical data so that we can see where the student body stands, now that all of us are isolated from it. Imitate the “Angry Lion” by publishing relatable and witty feedback (with student permission). A boring survey might help make remote learning more like campus life; an attractive venue for discourse and dissent is campus life.