I am currently teaching a group of students from Villanova who are studying abroad in Singapore. One of the best parts of studying abroad for students (OK, and me too) seems to be using their long weekends to travel to surrounding countries.
So far, the students have taken trips to Bali, Taiwan, and Malaysia, and this weekend there was talk of traveling to Bangkok.
While they are quite aware of the coronavirus and the risks associated with travel at this time, the coronavirus does not seem to have really affected their attitude toward travel.
However, as the weekend got closer, more and more students were opting not to go, until finally there did not seem to be enough interest and they decided to stay in Singapore.
When I asked them if it was the coronavirus that kept them home, they almost unanimously said no, and replied that it was the stress associated with their upcoming Accounting test on Tuesday. They decided it would be better to stay home this weekend and study for the test.
My reaction to such news was mixed.
On the one hand, I was thrilled that they cared enough about the course to give up a weekend of travel so they could study.
On the other hand, I felt bad that an Accounting test was more stressful to them than the coronavirus.
What kind of teacher/monster am I that my tests are more worrisome than an international crisis?
I tried to tell myself that the students were just assessing the odds.
The chances of being affected by the coronavirus are really quite small; while the odds that the accounting exam was going to be a bit challenging were pretty high. So when making their decision to stay or go, the students likely didn’t even factor the coronavirus into their decision. Or if they did, they didn’t place much weight on it.
But the accounting test is real, and it is immediate, and so that is where their focus is. I hope the decision pays off for them and that they do well on the test.
But in reality, I’m much more concerned that they don’t get the virus.
I also hope they don’t start calling me CV Borden, telling people that my tests are worse than the coronavirus.
We’ll find out on Tuesday.
Please send positive thoughts their way…