The average Lasallian starter pack
Originally published in The HERALDO FILIPINO Broadsheet Vol. 35 Double Issue No. 1
If you think that a will to live is all you need for online classes, then obviously you’ve never attended one before. One year after the onset of the pandemic that forced us to an unfamiliar setup, The HERALDO FILIPINO lists down some of the things you wish you had before you started online classes, from the golden artifacts of last-minute assessment speedruns, to the fundamental necessities of survival like laptops.
- A stable internet connection that acts like it
Product description: The secret tier in the Hierarchy of Needs. It connects you with people who also have the same product, and allows you to call a friend in times of need, may it be assessments, group projects, or emotional support. Non-refundable. Volatile at its worst, barely hanging on at its best. Not available for upgrade as Super-Fast-Godlike-Internet-Connection™ remains unavailable in the Philippines.
2. A laptop/PC you can rely on
Product description: A staple item for every student that comes in various brands and sizes. It may include several viruses from too many downloaded torrents, folders filled with too many videos, questionable gif collections, and other inexplicable files that are mostly used for entertainment. It has the tendency to break down in crucial moments, with a higher probability on instances that User Lasallian is about to submit an assessment on the Schoolbook when the deadline is in ten minutes or less. It loathes Microsoft (MS) Teams and any video conferencing platform. It lags as much as possible to make sure you get the hint that it probably hates you. It’s once believed to be sentient after sabotaging so many students in the middle of group reports and synchronous classes.
3. A bottle of water in case of emergencies
Product Description: While it may not be automatically refillable, it will accompany you in your darkest hours that keep you hydrated and replenish lost tears. However, it does not cure and solve the cause of such crying. Can evolve into juice, coffee, tea, or whatever questionable substance you wish to ingest to fuel you. Will not be responsible for what happens next, especially when it has the tendency to spill on product number #2.
4. A warm blanket for cuddle weather
Product description: It will keep the cold away but it cannot warm your aching heart. Not meant to be substituted for the warmth of another human being. Best paired with morning classes and a-student-who-just-pulled-an-all-nighter. It may smell somewhere between fragrant detergent to someone who hasn’t taken a bath in days, but it will retain its warmth provided that it is wrapped around a still-breathing person.
5. An alarm for those Schoolbook drills
Product Description: It’s most effective for the record-breaking attempts of turning in assessments at 11:59 PM as it wakes you right up when your failing grades couldn’t. Other user product reviews may indicate an initial dislike for its sound, but it’s proven effective for conditioning the mind and the body to get you going, provided that you avoid hitting the snooze button for the umpteenth time. Also great for those who have mastered the Pomodoro Technique, and reminding those with consecutive classes.
6. A trusty notepad
Product Description: It will help you list down the things you didn’t do, but it won’t help you do them. Other user product reviews indicate that it has a tendency to look smug when filled-up, and taunting when left blank. Some comments say that it’s the other way around. It’s once believed to be sentient after some notes magically disappear when User Lasallian looks for them.
7. The Streamer™ lighting equipment
Product Description: You might have good lighting for online classes with this product, but it brings no guarantees to brighten up your future. It does, however, come in handy for video projects and webinars, especially during times when quality makes the difference. It will make you see the Light when the modules you have yet to study couldn’t. May also serve as part-time study lamps when you should’ve gone to bed hours ago and still need to cram some lessons despite the whole household declaring lights out.
8. A traffic cone for safety measures
Product Description: Limited stock. It is used to stop family members from passing by during online meetings, making User Lasallian’s video screen look like a scene from a pirated movie. It Will also stop pets provided that the available product version is big enough, but it will not stop your angry mother from barging in and asking why you didn’t do the dishes. Chances of effectiveness are also reduced when faced with children running towards you at high speeds.
9. A multi-purpose remote control
Product Description: Limited stock. It will turn down the volume of the television so you could focus during synchronous classes, but it will not stop the chorus of barking dogs outside. Will pause the movie but not the chaos around you. Will turn the television on but not your will to live. Not advisable to be used on Schoolbook timers and towards your classmates when they talk in MS Teams. It does, however, provide some semblance of control in our hectic lives, and serve as a brief reminder people are not machines that can simply slow down or pick up the pace at any given time.
10. A hero (a.k.a Your Guardian Angel)
Product Description: Rare product. Probably not you. Will remind you of the synchronous meeting you forgot, and even sends the link as a bonus. Will look out for you better than a significant other, and provide moral support when you need it. Will be the first to know when your name isn’t on the attendance list and ask why you couldn’t attend the synchronous class. Will tell the professor when you have internet connection problems, and may sometimes even answer for you. Someone we didn’t deserve but still graces us with their blessing of a presence.
Considering how the average Lasallian gets a total of who knows how many assessments per day, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it takes more than ten magic items to get through the semester — much less a year. We all carry different baggage, some with more excess than others, and some with room to spare. Even so, may we never forget to pack some compassion and empathy with us as we try to get through these trying times — oh, and don’t forget the glasses. You know, for privilege check.