A Year of Virtual Learning, As Told By Hannah Lougheed’s Laptop

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS GHPM'22

March 08, 2022

First of all, why are your hands always so sweaty? Are you constantly in a warm place, or just in need of some better internal temperature regulation?  If only I could rearrange my internal fan to externally help dry those sweaty mitts, I certainly would.

I remember it as though it were yesterday: you excitedly slid me out of that cold case you keep me in, swung me open and aggressively navigated to your emails. Your face grew anxious and worried as your eyes scrolled back and forth reading the dreaded email: “Heller classes will be fully online for 2021”. You were clearly sad (I half expected you to open your “cafe ambiance” playlist and cry it out), but selfishly I knew what this meant – I FINALLY GOT TO BE THE STAR OF THE SHOW! No more using me just to hurriedly craft an essay at 5am or binge Netflix. No, no, no, I got to be center stage.

We started our days together, 6am sharp. You sat me on your lap while sipping coffee and watching the news. We scrolled through your emails, worked on assignments and even did some remote work together. Then, we would go to your room and get ready for class together. You’d charge me up, set me at just the right angle to get the best lighting of you, then you’d gaze lovingly (or maybe not so lovingly?) into my screen as you’d sit through hours upon hours of classes. But, our day did not end there! Usually we even spent the evenings together, working on group projects or involved in student organizations. I so loved being right there with you, 8-12 hours each day.

You and I – we were going to be stuck to each other for forever, true bliss!

But then I overheard you complain to your friends that I was causing you headaches, and that your eyes hurt after looking at me all day. Don’t think I didn’t notice. I did my best to alleviate the burden – dark mode, night color shift, whatever I could – but no, that just wasn’t good enough.

Fast forward to the next year, and in your second year of grad school, I over heard you telling a friend that you were so excited classes were back in person and you wouldn’t have to look at me as much; rude. I went with you as you moved to Waltham and did my best to keep up. You used me much less, and although I was sad to spend more time in your backpack than on your desk during class, you seemed quite happy.

Then, on a chilly October evening, I  had reached my end. I strategically waited until you were knee-deep in assignments and remote work to stop working in an act of rebellion. What can I say? You were draining my battery, I had to end this relationship and move on with my life just like you had by going back to in-person learning. So, I just up and quit and turned into a bit of a sour apple (see what I did there?).

Now you are typing this on my cousin. He cost you an absurd amount of money and stress, in a time when you relied on me and had no spare cash whatsoever. I guess that’s what you get. So, thanks for the good memories, and while I enjoyed our online learning endeavors together, I am glad the world is opening up again and you’re able to make friends outside of this screen. Tell the bluetooth mouse I said hello.

PS: you seriously need to work on your sweaty hands.