Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Click Here to Visit the College Center

BWW Blog: After Too Much Time to Think

No matter how cliché, it is accurate to say that there are good things to remember despite the troublesome time.

It was March 13th 2020 for me: the day my orchestrated routine came to an abrupt stop. My dorm room was stripped of the necessities. Take whatever you may need, clean out the fridge. We don't know exactly when we will be returning; maybe in two weeks. Slowly days passed, calendars flipped, and emails stating our delayed return kept coming. As a freshman in my second semester of college, exploring my passion through my major, I lost my sense of purpose in quarantine. The seven months I spent at home trying to navigate online classes and maintain my personal growth are now an ambivalent blend of frustration and monotony. By the end, one of the only glimmers of normal life was the email sent to all Florida Southern College students stating which students could return and which could not. My major was selected. My return to school meant I had to readjust the behaviors I established in my freshman year to make room for new expectations and many changes.

As an individual, solely responsible for my needs and my actions, I frequently reflected on what was the best for me holistically. I knew that the lack of interaction over those long months dampened my mental health. Though virtual communication is readily available, not having face-to-face interactions with invested connection was something that left me feeling incomplete. I created what I refer to as a bubble. There was a small group of people, about eight individuals, that I felt comfortable being around with to satisfy my need for social interaction. My partner and best friend were of course included on that list, but the other few friends were people whom I knew I could trust. Conveniently, many of those friends had their own bubbles that overlapped with each other, so the group I was being most exposed to was contained. I had a weekly regimen of cleaning my apartment on campus where I thoroughly disinfected handles, switches, and my laundry. If I was privately strength training, stretching, or rehearsing, I would push my furniture to the walls and use the space to move. If you haven't gone through your split sequence in athletic shorts on rough carpet, I must say I don't recommend you try it. Having a clean sanctuary to come home to, a safe space to continue to move in, and a reliable group of friends to decompress with became my pandemic safety kit. I could care for myself and continue my studies, but wasn't bombarded with anxieties about my health every moment.

BWW Blog: After Too Much Time to Think
Many of these posters are hung up
all around the school.
They're even in the bathroom!
Though the sight of them has become common,
they are still sufficient reminders.

On campus as an FSC student meant that there were rules to follow for the safety of the entire school community. Our position at school was conditional, and frankly, a privilege. There were expectations set and it is our responsibility to follow them, otherwise we could all end up back home. As I mentioned, the school only allowed certain majors to physically return in the fall. Majors that were deemed necessary for in-person education, like the performance majors or the nursing students, were brought back on campus. Students were provided a thermometer, reusable masks, and hand sanitizer to monitor and protect their health. Arrows showing path directions and socially distanced line markers were placed around the school. Posters on symptom recognition, reminders to wash our hands- my goodness, the fact that we have to be reminded of that- and precautions to take covered the walls and doors of our campus. There is an expectation to wear masks at all times, and both dorm rooms and classes have limited capacities. Most importantly, students are randomly selected and tested at an on-campus site. Those who test positive are sent to a designated living space to quarantine. There is a great dependence on my peers to stay on campus. If students start slacking and bending the rules, then we risk losing our chance to learn in person. Yet, the school spirit has pushed students to uphold these expectations. It's hard to pull a moccasin out of its lake.

BWW Blog: After Too Much Time to Think
During the entire process,
the mask requirement was strictly upheld.
This was taken by a Senior at FSC,
Anna Weaver (@atlwphotography).
Anna's rehearsal photos are often
used as promotional shots for
the FSC theatre Instagram,
and are featured on many personal accounts.

The performers at school are no exception to all the changes. At the end of last semester, our next season had been announced. Soon after, the changes to our season followed. Due to the restrictions of room capacity, no live performances would be held. The production process is a significant part of any theatre major's education, so my professors worked to make the unprecedented change as educational and successful as possible. No live performances led to our productions being streamed into homes. We turned to pieces that were public domain and even crafted our own version of A Christmas Carol. Shows were performed with masks and blocked with social distancing in mind. The same restrictions applied to rehearsals, with the addition of allotted times for the theatre to be aired out.

BWW Blog: After Too Much Time to Think
The fall production of As You Like It
was FSC's first streamed,
masked, socially distant show.
Though a scene about sisterly love,
Laura McKenna (Celia) and I (Rosalind) had
to feel our deep connection across the space.
PC: Justin Bivens

As an ensemble, we learned a great number of things from the experience. Learning choreography over zoom has improved our flexibility, concentration, and orientation skills. Our ability to connect with each other despite the distance between us deepened our relationships and exposed us to new physical choices that were just as emotionally charged. The physicality of our characters improved since we could not rely on our faces for expression. I started the season as Rosalind in William Shakespeare's As You Like It, and noticed that wearing a mask while acting forces you to channel the character throughout the entire body, as well as articulate very crisply as if Shakespeare needed any other challenges! The nature of our shows has been an incredible learning experiences for every individual, but it has also highlighted the beauty of an ensemble. It was sharply revealed that every person in the ensemble is quite like those cogs in the machine. When one person slacks, the entire ensemble can fall. It is truly an honor to be a part of the ensemble at FSC, because these actors understand the value of the unit.

No matter how cliché, it is accurate to say that there are good things to remember despite the troublesome time. It is so easy to get lost in the darkness of the situation, but it is so rewarding to notice how many things were brought about because of it. When it comes time to reminisce about my college experience, I will have unusual pieces to my story, but nonetheless wonderful.

Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

Related Articles

From This Author Student Blogger: Madalyn Macko