What classes will look like once in-person schooling returns

A sneak peek into a strange future

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Illustrated by Maple Sukontasukkul / The Peak

By: Alex Masse, Staff Writer

Picture this: it is a grand day to be a student at Simon Fraser University. In-person classes have begun, and the campus is once again bustling.

There are two outfit staples in this semester. First, sweatpants: many students have actually forgotten that their lower bodies can be perceived. Additionally, a good portion of students still sport masks, some with pockets for convenient AirPods storage. Genius, yet horrifically dystopian.

“I made this back in the summer,” says a student rocking a unique black mask with chains that would make any eboy jealous. She whips her head around, just about taking a classmate’s eye out. “You know, I think a lot of us are kind of attached to the mask as an aesthetic, even if we know we’re safe now.” She hesitated before adding, “Besides that, honestly, it just feels wrong to be in public with a bare face. Almost immodest, you know? Like, what kind of a harlot do you have to be to show your whole face to everybody?” 

Apparently, some kids these days are utterly horrified at exposed lips. Of course, then there’s the other end of the spectrum: students lost in the ecstasy of skin-to-skin contact. 

A group of them have clustered together in the back of the lecture hall. Human dogpile, but make it academia. Students, cooing incoherently all the while, caress each others’ cheeks for the entire three-hour lecture about isotopes. 

One student anxiously taps where his mute button used to be, only to realize it’s the back of the student’s head seated in front of him. The pen he’s been anxiously clicking is the loudest noise in the world. Meanwhile, the guy in front is trying to figure out how to ban the student behind him from this Discord server — oh.

Five minutes into class, three different students have been busted for loudly eating four-course meals in the lecture hall. They raise their hands in surrender and admit they kind of forgot that others could see them.

These students are far from being the only ones adapting to being perceived again. Another student sits in the corner, rocking back and forth, their hoodie hood drawn over their head. They mutter constantly about the mortifying ordeal of being known. Upon inquiry, the professor admitted she’s pretty sure the kid isn’t even enrolled in her course. They were here when she showed up. Occasionally, they burst out sobbing. 

Back to isotopes.

Several students arrive late, having gotten sidetracked by things like public hallways, public stairwells, and being able to sit down in common areas. One young woman claims she spent five minutes sitting in the Dining Hall, simply because she could. A man announced that he spent an hour touching every book on a library shelf, just to “feel something.”

“What’re others gonna catch, the common cold?” he jeered. “I can touch anything. And I never have to wash my hands again.”

His professor tried to explain that that was very much not how things worked, but someone cried out for a group hug, and her objections were lost. What had once been a second-year chemistry course soon became a writhing mass of limbs, and honestly, just about everyone involved wouldn’t have had it any other way. No real teaching was done, but no one was really expecting to learn anything. 

Also, there are reports of an orgy at the Avocado if you’re into that.