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BWW Blog: Voices of the Students- Surviving the Zoom Year

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I asked some of my friends (both theatre and non theatre) about tips to not only survive but thrive in this crazy year of Zoom!!

Hello theatre students, creators and lovers!! Leah here, and let me tell you ...It's been a week. That felt like the understatement of the century. It feels like it's been a YEAR. I started my first week of online classes last Monday, and holy moly...I never want to log into a zoom call AGAIN. And I'm anticipating a lot of you are feeling the exact same way. So, if you're like me and wondering how on earth to get through the rest of this year without going crazy (or getting a massive zoom headache) read on!! I asked some of my friends (both theatre and non theatre) about tips to not only survive but thrive in this crazy year of Zoom!!

"Use a specific spot designated for classes and doing work to be in school mode." - Claudia Jacobs, '23

Excellent advice from one of the smartest people I know!! While it's the most tempting to achieve the ultimate dream this year (school meets bed), there's something to say about finding your own special school spot. It will help separate home from school and make for an easier time focusing and learning! Every morning, I go down to the basement "classroom" and while it's still weird, it does feel like I'm going somewhere and not just on a lifelong weekend. Then, when you're done with "school mode," the rest of the house is all yours to relax and unwind!!

"My RA said something that I really like- it's called physical distancing. Not social distancing. Don't be afraid to make friends! Just make sure you do it safely." - Morgan Dunn, '24

LOVE this advice. Quarantine, whether on campus or at home, can feel really lonely. It's important to make time to talk with the friends you love, and even make some new ones! Join a club or two on campus (a LOT of schools are offering virtual sign ups), reach out to a friend and schedule a Facetime, or message a new person from your class and ask for homework help! All of these lead to strengthening your social connections- so get creative! We're all in the same boat, just looking for some friends, social connections and love.

"You can still connect through a screen! Don't isolate yourself, as easy as it can be." - Katie Rees, '23

Perfectly said. Building on Morgan's advice, here's an extra reminder to be brave. It's so easy to fall out of touch with people, especially now. While self-care and alone time is very important, make sure to still try and reach out to others! We can still grow stronger and closer with the ones we love, even via Zoom.

"Take lots of breaks!! Don't blame yourself for not being perfectly productive." - Carlee Malone, '24

I love this one. These are unprecedented times, and while you may feel like you can pile MORE on your proverbial plate (with the whole no commuting thing), Zoom fatigue is real! It's okay to feel exhausted and to listen to that feeling by taking breaks!! Relax, let go of any "I'm not productive enough" judgement, and reward yourself for showing up! Breaks. Are. Necessary. Repeat x1000.

"Don't be afraid to shake it up! Find new rooms to travel to, or ways to take a break." - Ally Newby, '24

A trip to the kitchen for a midday snack? Reading a book outside on the porch? Yes please. Try and find some little ways to shake up your day and make it feel special! It's so easy to feel like the days are blurring together but finding new (little!) ways to shake up the daily routine helps make the days feel different! And more fun! Feel free to get as creative as you want or keep it simple! Up to you.

"Call your friends in between classes!!" - Emily Howes, '23

There's nothing better than a virtual lunch date!! It combines so many wonderful things on this advice list: staying connected to friends, shaking up the daily routine and taking breaks! Reach out to a friend you haven't seen in a while and set up a happy midday meeting.

"Take time for yourself, prioritize and plan EVERYTHING!" - Jean Han, '23

SO important. With multiple online deadlines for multiple online classes, not to mention virtual clubs and papers...things can get overwhelming. Fast. Planning everything out can help us stay in touch with our assignments and ourselves, what we can handle and when. And of course, always make spaces for self-care.

"It's helpful to have a clear-cut schedule, not just for classes but for breaks too!" - Sophia Anthony, '24

Like the advice Jean shared above, planning for classes AND for your own care is so important- now more than ever. Planners, notes on your phone, anything can help!

"To-do lists! Being on your time makes it more rewarding when you finish work." - Jenna Bloom, '25

Another great tool for planning!! Using lists and planners to schedule work and breaks can make a world of difference.

"Making fun and exciting meals, taking breaks to walk or exercise in some way!" - Rachel Ader, '23

Incredible self-care suggestions. Finding simple joys through movement and food not only makes the days feel different, it makes them feel special! Kindness starts with you being kind to your body.

And there you have it, everyone! Some suggestions from some of the smartest and most diligent people I know. Reading them all helped me so much, and I hope they help you too!! This year is beyond difficult and unprecedented- but we are strong, special and perseverant. We succeed every day just by showing up! We've got this.

My inbox is ALWAYS open for any questions or just to talk (vettegirl17@verizon.net), and I'll see you next article! Until then, stay happy and healthy- and keep creating! The world needs us theatre students-

Love,

Leah



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