March 15, 2021

Dystopian Nightmare? I Can’t Change My Testing Dates Anymore

COLLEGETOWN—It began as an innocent March day in Ithaca—March 1st, to be exact. The sun was kind of shining, at least enough to put a dent in the pile of soot-colored snow plowed off the road and into adjacent driveways three weeks ago. The Cornell populace was bundled up against a stiff breeze that threatened to cut through anything less than three sturdy layers of clothing. Was it perfect? No. But it was our life.

Then, at 5:47 p.m., came the notification that would spell the end of our little slice of Upstate paradise. “Change Your Test Day Form Closing 3/5,” sneered the email’s title. Faces across campus contorted in horror as we scanned the brief note for any indication that this might be—no, must be—some joke, some sort of sick prank by that nameless and faceless “COVID-19 Support Team.” But that reassurance would not come. We were on our own, forced to make a decision that could greatly alter the course of the rest of our lives, and potentially the next two months as well.

The next four days were spent making final arrangements. I agonized late into the night, weighing the merits of each possible combination. Monday/Friday or Tuesday/Friday—does it matter? Do I matter? Does anything matter? I could no longer say. All I knew was that my freedom was gone. From now on, my decisions would be made by The College.

That brings us to today. Cowed by the tyrannical rule of the Pollack administration, students are forced to labor through their days, knowing that they are forever locked into their swabbing selections. Nobody knows what happens if you try to change your testing days now—the gallant few who have sought this grail were never heard from again. Surely the outside world must soon recognize the Orwellian terrors lording over our once-proud school. I think that’s what Orwellian means, anyway. I never read 1984.

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