I Have Nothing to Offer, but Burnt Coffee, Sleep Deprivation, Toil, and Sweat

  • December 16, 2020
Coffee | Free Stock Photo | LibreShot
Photo Credit LibreShot

In the four months of distanced learning, I have experienced a feeling that I would never feel under normal circumstances – the desire for in-person school. The lengthy zoom calls and pixelated teachers have created a seemingly unique atmosphere where human interaction has drastically ceased, and the exhilaration of learning an interesting topic has become scarce.

During the first semester of school, coffee was the driving force behind any semblance of attentiveness, which could be assembled with a cup of boiling water and store-bought coffee grains. Perhaps the reliance on the strong stimulus was due to the five AP courses I was taking or the incessant binge-watching of Netflix’s The Crown, but regardless of the reason, drinking the burnt coffee beans automatically became normal for me.

In a sense, what was deemed normal months ago is now extraordinary and outlandish. Even something as menial and simplistic as walking a dog in a local park seems incredibly rare these days. The current education and schooling system was unfortunately not an exception to the shifting of these particular norms; the online classes put a strain on the exchange and reoccurring dialogue of ideologies.

Instead of lively in-person debates on politics or the status quo, we are forced to debate a 1-inch box. Instead of an engaging and interactive seminar on judicial philosophy, we are tasked with finding an adequate microphone to speak in. Instead of spending time with teachers to fix potential grading errors, we frantically search for a suitable internet connection.

However, if anything, this pandemic and distanced learning has presented a remarkable opportunity to develop personal agency. For me, the greater dependency on the caffeinated boost from coffee could be prevented or at least mitigated with better study habits or sleep schedules. The same mentality could be presumptively applied to the students in my grade and the students across America facing a similar predicament.

Hence, the title of this article, which is a parody of Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s speech called “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat.” When Churchill was delivering the earth-shattering speech, he was arguably faced with an unprecedented axis of darkness: the rise of fascism in Western Europe. Today, 80 years later, we are experiencing our own axis of darkness with thousands dying every day and massive critical blows to the resilience of the American economy and people.

For us, the struggle may not even compare to our parents or the adults that surround us, as they face the war of economic uncertainty and mounting hospitalizations, but we should take advantage of the moment in preparation for when we do face our parent’s problems.

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