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Rating Study Spots in My House Based on the Back Problems They’ve Given Me

One of the only good parts of the pandemic is getting to attend class from anywhere I choose (within my house). I’ve ranked my favourite places to study over the past year based on how badly they’ve messed up my back (which is currently a case study in what you shouldn’t do to a spine). Enjoy!

My bed.

It all depends on the position I choose. If I actually prop myself up with pillows, this one probably isn’t so bad. However, me sitting cross-legged and hunching over my laptop has definitely led to some new knots in my shoulders. Bonus points for making me get sleepy and abandon my studies five minutes in. 

Rating: really bad for my back, 4/5 

The kitchen counter while I’m cooking.

This one is dangerously close to a stand-up desk, which is far too ergonomic for my tastes. It gets points though for being a little too low to actually be practical and supportive. Not to mention that my posture is atrocious so all standing does is exacerbate my lower back pain and imbalanced hips.

Rating: not toooo bad for my back, 2/5

A sunny patch of hardwood floor.

Both atmospherically perfect and very uncomfortable, the living room floor ranks pretty high. Hips digging into the floor, spine bent the wrong way, shoulders hunched up to my ears… the only downside is that it’s similar to Upward-Facing Dog and might actually release tension in my back. 

Rating: really bad for my back, 4/5 

The couch.

Our big red comfy couch should single-armedly be paying for my chiropractor bills. We own couch cushions, and yet I find myself flat on my back with my neck cranked at a 90 degree angle against the armrest every single time. Not to mention that the cats lie down on me sometimes, forcing me into some truly bizarre positions. 

Rating: my back will never forgive me, 6/5 

My roommate’s armchairs.

I can’t fit in them sideways, and they’re too upright for me to drape myself across like a perishing Victorian maiden, forcing me to actually sit up straight. They can’t combat me slumping, but they certainly try. 

Rating: pretty decent for my back, 1/5

Bonus: My desk.

An appropriate work station? No thanks, not during my pandemic. The only reason this isn’t rated lower is because the desk chair is slightly crooked and requires a back cushion to make it liveable. 

Rating: my back wishes I sat there more often, -50/5 

I would like to personally thank every item on this list for getting me to where I am today (not you, desk). What would I have gotten out of online school if not back problems? Here’s to paying for massage therapy for the rest of my life!

Eli Mushumanski is a queer Writing and English Honour undergrad in their fourth year at the University of Victoria. They specialize in fiction and poetry. Their work has been published by The Albatross, The Warren, and Flare: The Flagler Review, and they are a fiction editor at UVic's literary journal, This Side of West. When not caught up by schoolwork or reading, Eli plays Stardew Valley and chats with their mom on the phone.