By Michelle Tian

If you asked my friends to describe me in a few words, they’d most likely say things like “bubbly” or “curious.” But, if you asked my professors to describe me, oh boy, you would get a full range — from “quiet and shy and probably doesn’t know what she’s doing” to “talks way too much and voices every thought she has.” 

With the semester coming to an end, I’ve been hyper-aware of how much I contribute in class discussions. You know, those desperate last-minute efforts to try to boost my grade. Anyway, I’ve realized that in one of my classes, I’ll be scrolling on TikTok and zoning out and then 15 minutes later, I’m paying attention to every detail and participating as much as I can.

As someone who lives on the West Coast, I have a 9 a.m. class, which is a 6 a.m. for me. And let’s just say my brain doesn’t like to function until at least 11 a.m., so I just sit in bed, wrapped up in blankets, for that class. It’s unfortunate because it’s an intriguing topic and the professor is engaging. 

But, I’m still trying to remember how to keep my eyes open and it really doesn’t help that it’s still dark every single time I look out my window. 

Not to mention, no one in my house is awake at 6 a.m. So, when I finally force myself to talk, I’m pretty much giving my class a free ASMR session. It’s so embarrassing. 

I also turn my camera on to hopefully be more present, but for 90 percent of this semester, I’ve been staring blankly as the professor leads the discussion. 

Fast-forward three hours and I’m a totally different person. My class that starts at noon Boston time is very much based on student participation and the professor tends to call on quieter members, so I’m very active in that class. We’ve also been focusing on a philosophy-driven text and, as a philosophy minor, I’ve been pretty engaged. 

My newswriting class is the one class I feel most comfortable with. First of all, I’m a journalism major so if I don’t participate, then what the hell am I doing? Second, I understand the material and am very passionate about it, so I love sharing my ideas and receiving feedback. The professor is also an absolute angel and always has something positive to say about my pitches, so I love getting the full experience even if I’m remote.

Then, there’s my visual storytelling class. Don’t get me wrong, the professor is great and he gives some weirdly emotional speeches now and then that make me feel this sudden surge of motivation to be a better person, but that class is three damn hours long.

My attention span could never. After 15 minutes, I’m gone. I’m not even there. The information is going in one ear and out the other and all I’m thinking about it is how badly I want to chug a cold brew. 

I genuinely want to do well in my classes. I try my best and put all my effort into assignments and exams, but with the professor in a whole other country and totally unable to see what’s going on next to my laptop… sometimes you just gotta take advantage. Especially because you know you’ll likely never be seeing these people again. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who goes through 6,000 different personalities in one day, but I’m probably the only one dumb enough to expose myself like this. 

And just in case my visual storytelling and 6 a.m. class professors are reading this… I’m so sorry. Please give me an A.