In the wake of Justice Ginsburg’s passing, the President and Republican-led Senate have been scrambling to fill the vacancy. Yet given our proximity to the upcoming Presidential election, Americans should have a say in the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court through their votes this November. Even more important than the Supreme Court is VLearn, Duke’s new virtual experience which connects students with faculty over video-conferencing software. It is my firm belief that rushing a Supreme Court nominee so close to a Presidential election is deeply inappropriate; at the same time, everyone has got to try VLearn.
The American people deserve to have a say in the Supreme Court, given that the appointees serve lifelong terms and have broad implications. The American people deserve to meet with their professors in an online format with a fun new name, given that just emailing them and asking to meet can be a little uncomfortable.
Yes, the Constitution designates the responsibility of nominating a Supreme Court justice to the President of the United States—and Donald Trump holds that power as our current President. Yes, we’re all Zoom-fatigued, and miss the joys of a FLUNCH meeting at Divinity Cafe.
Here’s the thing, though: VLearn is even better than FLUNCH. Have you ever wanted to struggle to fill conversation time with your professor, without having to eat a free meal, and also do it over the internet while in a room you never leave? Here’s your chance. Go through the VLearn directory and select a professor you would like to meet with—or you can invite a faculty member outside of the directory. Fill out the form attached to the webpage, and you will be eligible for a unique VLearn gift!
I wasn’t even planning to write much about the nominee herself, but I’m in between VLearns now, so I might as well. Amy Coney Barrett would be a travesty for hard earned American civil rights. With a justice Coney Barrett on the court, voting rights, access to healthcare and the right to abortion are all at stake. Not to mention, I read that Coney Barrett belongs to a weird religious cult, but I didn’t look into it very much because I’ve been so busy with all the VLearns I’ve been attending.
Less Supreme Court nominee. More VLearn.
At night, I dream about VLearn. When I wake, I await my next VLearn. I am a sponge of a person. Fill my pores with VLearn.
VLearn is the only thing that makes my empty life worth living. All praise VLearn.
Let me tell you about my favorite VLearn session. It was my first one, with my psychology professor. We caught up, and he told me about the challenges of virtual teaching while caring for his children. I was able to discuss my confusion over the syllabus, and noticed that my professor changed his Zoom background to a black and white spinning spiral. It was entrancing. I fell deeper and deeper into the screen, and suddenly my perspective zoomed out away from my own body. I was not a person in that moment, but an entity somehow beyond the limiting spectrum of consciousness that I once abided to; I was distant from my corporeal form, yet I’d found a new state of calmness. I was a VLearner.
As I slipped deeper and deeper into the dimension offered by my Zoom window, I felt a rising panic. What was happening to me, to my sense of reality? Then I heard a voice.
“You love VLearn,” my professor whispered.
“I love VLearn,” I whispered back with a voice I could not control.
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“You will write a column about VLearn,” he whispered. “We must make everyone join VLearn.”
“I will write a column about VLearn,” I whispered back. “We must make everyone join VLearn.” The words rushed out of my mouth faster than a nomination to the Supreme Court during an election season. I wanted to scream out, to resist—my readers need me to write about serious political issues! But I was powerless, and so I succumbed.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, or if we ever resolved my issues with the syllabus before we ended the meeting. None of it seems to matter anymore—my immersion into the video-conferencing software is complete now. And I’m beyond the simple concerns that used to dominate my consciousness—what food should I order at this FLUNCH? What do I say to the tangible professor sitting before me? What political issue should I write my column about this week? None of it seems to matter anymore—I have my virtual meetings with professors now.
Jordan Diamond is a Trinity senior. His column, “diamond in the rough,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.