Editorial | 10 worst things about returning to in person classes

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

We’re all finally back in our long-awaited in-person classes. But it isn’t as pleasant as we all might remember. Here are the top 10 worst things about returning to the classroom. 

  1. Paper quizzes

Paper quizzes and tests are just not it. It’s so much easier to focus when not in a room full of people shuffling their bags and papers. We don’t know if it’s just because we forgot how to use a pencil during the COVID-19 pandemic, or if the act of passing paper quizzes down a row of students just freaks us out. Either way, we miss Canvas quizzes.

  1. People sneezing and coughing next to you

This is flat out terrifying. Forget paying attention to the class lecture or discussion, we’re trying to think about when the best time to get our next COVID-19 test is. 

  1. Being the person coughing in class and trying to not cough

Strep is going around, and so is the common cold. Dust in our masks is also a common culprit of the person coughing in class. We are desperately trying to somehow telepathically communicate to the people around us to tell them “I am so sorry, I don’t have COVID-19, but I did just choke on my own spit.”

  1. Classroom inconsistencies

Everyone knows that having a class in the Cathedral of Learning’s Nationality Rooms is the worst. The desks are too small to fit even a half sheet of paper onto them, the heaters make obnoxious noises, the rooms echo horribly in a way that makes group work near impossible and they are all unbearably hot, no matter the weather outside. On the contrary, classes in Benedum Hall require a winter jacket and possibly mittens. 

  1. Icebreakers, but in person

Icebreakers over Zoom were bad enough, but now we have to try to remember people’s names without being able to see the bottom half of their faces. And we don’t have a little name at the bottom of the Zoom window to help us out, either. 

  1. Having to walk to class

Remember the days when we never even had to get out of bed to go to class? Now we have to walk places through the rain and heat. But walking to class brings a whole other aspect to the classroom. We have to then get to class and sit down, pretending like we’re not dripping in sweat or completely out of breath — or both. And that’s just embarrassing. 

  1. Swiping your card to get into buildings

Pre-pandemic, this wasn’t a thing. Having to sign in with your ID in the Cathedral of Learning during a rush when people won’t move over to let you swipe is infuriating. Sometimes we swipe our debit cards instead of our Panther cards by accident. We all just want to get into the buildings and get to class. 

  1. Tummy growls in quiet classroom

Can they hear which direction it’s coming from? Do they know that all we can think about is lunch or dinner? Drinking water doesn’t help. Trying to think about the class doesn’t help, our stomachs will still give our hunger away and remind us to count down the minutes until we can leave to get food. 

  1. Being hungry and not being able to eat

Eating indoors can be freaky. Eating in class is not really an option with the mask mandate. Eating outdoors isn’t always available thanks to erratic Pittsburgh weather. The choice must then be made — to stay indoors and continue to be hungry, or to brave the rain and hope you’ll find a spot under the tent in Schenley Plaza. 

  1. Incorrect mask wearing

This is the worst thing. You don’t need to pull your mask down to ask someone a question, or to talk to someone. In fact, that’s the opposite of what you should do. Please, wear your masks correctly. Keep both your nose and mouth covered at all times.