BWW BLOG: Climbing Uphill - College Life 2020

BWW BLOG: Climbing Uphill - College Life 2020

By: Oct. 09, 2020

BWW BLOG: Climbing Uphill - College Life 2020

This year has been crazy.

As I attempt to navigate the fall semester of my senior year, I'm finding that this is not what I expected my experience to be. And that's not a bad thing, it's just... a different thing.

I'm a Music Theater major at Oklahoma City University, a small, private Methodist university in the heart of Oklahoma City. You would think, based on the climate of the surrounding area, that we would be shut down by now, as this is the reality already endured by many other universities across the US. However, I think our school is doing alright.

We receive a weekly email updating us on the school's alert level, the county's alert level, and the number of active cases we have on campus. If we've been in indirect contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we are sent an email reminding us to track our health and notify officials if we feel unwell. If we have come in direct contact with someone who tested positive, we are required to get tested immediately and self-quarantine until we receive our results. So far our cases have been under control, and we haven't had any mass breakouts of the virus.

I think part of the reason our school has been so successful in keeping our numbers low is because of the overall dedication of the students and staff. Attending such a liberal school means everyone (generally) is super in tune with the importance of safety and are taking the necessary precautions during this pandemic. Students wear masks in class, outside of class, frequently wash their hands, etc., and it's making a big difference.

Teachers are also doing a fantastic job in keeping our classes safe. Almost all of my professors adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols; meaning they have students maintain social distance, keep class sizes small, and make sure students are sanitizing surfaces before and after class. Teachers are also offering hybrid solutions for classes with larger numbers, and are providing extended office hours to account for the strain that online learning can put on someone's understanding of the course work.

Despite all of these incredible efforts by faculty and staff, I feel absolutely drained.

Online classes can be hard, and school can become trying when breaks are eliminated from the campus calendar to account for a shortened semester time frame. Everything keeps piling up and many students are feeling the burn of what feels like a never-ending semester.

I didn't actually realize until now how many small things I took for granted. Perhaps that's the mix of my college senior mentality with the desire for the life I lived pre-COVID-19. Everything is so overwhelmingly different now, and living at a university 15 hours from home just adds to it.

I miss giving my friends hugs. I miss going to my friends' house and dog-piling on the couch as we watch a bad movie. I miss seeing people's smiles and seeing their noses scrunch up when they laugh. I also miss having a college experience where the only thing I worried about was the mid-term that I was woefully unprepared for. I miss the celebration of my birthday and blowing out the candles on the cake we bought at Walmart. College is still going, but it's nowhere near the experience I had before. And I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do after graduation...

I also understand that many others have it way worse than I do. People are losing their jobs and their lives due to an uncaring government, and watching the world around me slip away is just the reminder I need to help me realize that nothing is permanent. Seeing people around me suffering makes me feel like my petty little college complaints aren't even valid, but I hope this article helps someone who finds themselves in a similar mindset know that they aren't alone in this.

Part of me wishes I had taken a semester off, but the other part of me knows that this pandemic isn't going anywhere soon. I sincerely appreciate all the efforts my school has put forth to stay safely operational, and I genuinely hope that someday we'll be able to return to some sort of normal, or at least compromise for something different than where we are now.

Humans adapt and overcome, and this situation we are sharing is just another test we need to pass.


Video: CMUs Robert Ramirez Speaks to the Importance of Arts Education Photo
Video: CMU's Robert Ramirez Speaks to the Importance of Arts Education

In this video, watch as Robert Ramirez chats about the value of arts education and be sure to check back on Wednesday (September 13) as BroadwayWorld's own Richard Ridge checks in with the 2023 Excellence in Theatre Education Award winner, Jason Zembuch Young!

Get Ready for the New School Year with Tips from Our Student Bloggers Photo
Get Ready for the New School Year with Tips from Our Student Bloggers

This month, we're celebrating the start of a new semester by taking a look back at our former student bloggers' advice for students entering college for the first time or embarking on a new semester. Check out their tips here!

Time Management Tips from Our Student Bloggers Photo
Time Management Tips from Our Student Bloggers

Each month, student bloggers from all over the world share their experiences and tips for surviving the college years as theatre students over on our Student Center page. This past month, the bloggers wrote about their strategies for time management as a student and artists, and how they manage to get it all done. Check out excerpts from their advice here!

Interview: Broadway Green Alliance College Green Captain Award Winner Emory Otto Talks Sus Photo
Interview: Broadway Green Alliance College Green Captain Award Winner Emory Otto Talks Sustainability in Education

Broadway Green Alliance College Green Captain Award Winner Emory Otto spoke with BroadwayWorld about receiving this honor, the sustainability efforts implemented within her department, and her hopes for greener college programs in the future.

From This Author - Jessica Vanek

Jessica Vanek is 20 years old and recently relocated from Las Vegas to Oklahoma where she is now attending Oklahoma City University as a Musical Theatre major / Mass Communications minor. Though she l... (read more about this author)


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