WP_Coalescent Convalescence
Picture of Penelope Wong

Penelope Wong


Picture of Grazell Francia

Grazell Francia

Graphic Artist

Coalescent Convalescence

An Online Class Retrospect


Online class and the quarantine has been taking its limping crawl for nearly two years by now. Time has seemed too slow with most of us still stuck in March of 2020. As the tallies slow, a retrospect on the past year of online classes is well deserved, to gaze back on what we hadn’t done and on all that we missed out, to figure out how we carry on from there, as face-to-face classes are becoming a reality.

My personal experience with online class is, if summed up by one word, an anticipation. It is defined by an itch, the desire to tread forward and the wish to go back. I can’t help but feel held back, as if I hadn’t reached my potential. My growth had been stunted, which leaves me itching to go back, years earlier to seek out experiences my younger self should’ve had.

I find myself taut, like a band, with pent up energy, when the itch to move forward supersedes all judgment. Whatever time that had been lost could be made up for later on. I’d make sure that I’d do so many things that the anticipation couldn’t even be felt anymore, thinking that if I could fill barren shelves with so many trinkets, then I won’t remember what I was looking for in the first place.

If online class is anticipation, then quarantine is stuntedness and stillness – the feeling of living in third person as if I’m outside and looking in, watching myself from a distance as I meld further into the mattress, as little slivers of my being seep into the walls – the room, a part of me just as much as I am a part of it. In quarantine, you forget that you are part of a larger amalgamation, that you belong to a larger community. It’s very easy to feel disembodied and liquified without the presence of others to shape where you end and where they begin.

From this period of stillness, which had been keeping me, keeping us, stagnant, all that pent up energy will, in the end, capitulate and propel us towards greater lengths and distances. We could let it drive us into the past, desperately trying to claim experiences and memories that we feel as if we lack. The force of its impact, once you’ve ridden the high of that arc, will firmly root you to the spot. It will leave you unable to accept that time has passed and that it has done so indifferently, without you. 

We might let the capitulation propel us into the future where we are out of element, standing in shoes that are familiar and well worn, yet are still too large to fit at the present you. The insides of it filled with gaps and lapses. Yet, these shoes will constantly slip off and leave themselves behind on the path. You will never know if you’d ever grow into them; you’d just keep chasing after lost sizes, lost growth, and lost time. 

Regardless of which direction you let the band take you, both directions lead to a place so foreign, nothing like which we’d known — both leave us seeking. Be it in the past, present, or future, time indifferently treads on. Where upon the path will you choose to lie? 

Time has melted our wills into liquid, flowing and malleable. In its wake we are nothing but dust, bubbling with pent up energy and drive, yet we can simply fill in empty gaps and crevices indefinitely until the self has satisfied time. 

Learn to take what time has offered in stride. We do not serve time; we only serve our own self interests. We cannot blame time for what it has taken. We can only hold ourselves accountable for what we have let come to pass.