A Complicated Relation

VK and Me
A Complicated Relation

By Upasana Thakkar
PhD in Hispanic Studies from the University of British Columbia

Virtual Koerner’s or VK as it is commonly known among us now, began taking shape somewhere around mid-April. One of our professors, Jon Beasley-Murray, took the initiative and gathered us around this virtual platform called zoom. At that time, I was at a different phase in my life–finished my PhD, busy with job applications, and keeping myself updated with the news of the pandemic. COVID made it difficult for me to meet my friends in person; talking over the phone was also not frequent as we were all trying to adjust to this new lifestyle.

VK was therefore exciting for me because I would see my friends and professors again and discuss literary and theoretical texts like I used to do some time back. I felt I am back to school again! The skills that were handy during my PhD years–analyzing, critiquing, discussing, and arguing–now lying (as if) on some (book)shelf, under the dust and spider webs, have to be brought out and polished so that everything looks clean again. I was all set for a VK experience!

The first few weeks were great: to see everybody on VK, catching up, discussing how to move from here, guests to invite and many more things… I started looking forward to VK. However, a month later, I began to feel that I am back at school where I must read and participate as if I would be graded. The excitement started slowing down, but occasionally when I could not attend VK, I felt I missed something that day. And sometimes my friends and I would discuss VK at length on the phone or on WhatsApp. With or without permission VK has entered my life. As I said, it is indeed a complicated relation!

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