Switching to online school can be a huge adjustment, to state it lightly. Time management skills are taken to a whole level. There is bandwidth to think about since not everyone has the same functions on their computer, and teachers have to adjust plans made around in-class interactions. That’s not to mention some students who may have to find privacy amidst large families and nosy siblings. Students in different time zones may have to get up crushingly early to connect to a course. Of course, there are benefits: having class in bed and having the option to stay in pajamas all day are notable ones. However, for most everyone, online classes bring a host of new complications and things to adjust to.
However, for some students, the change to online school is not only an inconvenience but threatens their ability to successfully finish a class. Some examples are music students, science students whose classes are mainly labs and students in art and theater. Students and professors in these kinds of courses that are heavily dependent on face-to-face interaction are forced to be creative.
Despite having to cancel its upcoming concerts, the Hope College Orchestra is finding ways to stay together and make music. Each week during normal practice hours, students meet via Zoom to talk about how things are going, share inspiration and heartache, swap Netflix suggestions and stay connected as a community. When not in class, members will practice a new piece each week and record themselves at the end of the week, making sure to stay in tempo. Student assistants help put all the recordings together to create a new virtual performance every week. The inspiration came from the well-known Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, which has already released videos of virtual recordings of music performed together online. The Hope Orchestra also swaps classical and modern playlists on Spotify to keep up their listening.
Many of the facilities at Hope have also taken creative steps to remain accessible. The Hope CIT Department has committed to helping students and professors transition to online classes, including offering mock hangout meets and helping with digital resources for students with accommodations or disabilities. The Health Department posted a video of Jimmy Kimmel doing a hand-washing tutorial. Chapel is offering online inspiration every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Campus Ministries website. CAPS offers counseling by phone on weekdays.
Creativity is also thriving in many spheres outside of college. If you need a little pick-me-up right now, here is a list of creative things people and businesses are doing to help others and pass the time.
- McDonalds separated the two humps of the “M” in its sign to promote social distancing
- Two kids played cello on the porch of an older man who couldn’t leave his house due to corona
- People are bringing dogs to the lower floor windows of quarantined senior care centers to help make a social connection
- A woman in my neighborhood is sewing sanitary masks for people in need
- Fashion companies like H&M and Zara are using their equipment to produce masks
- Neighborhood members are trading shifts for grocery runs for the elderly
- People are stocking neighborhood free libraries with toilet paper and canned food
- A suburban Chicago pizza restaurant is adding a free roll of toilet paper along with every delivery
- TV medical dramas are donating gowns, gloves, and masks to real hospitals to help fight COVID-19
- Jimmy Fallon raised $20,000 for Feeding America after airing his first “Tonight Show Home Edition” with his wife shooting while quarantined in their home
Creativity may be one of the few bright spots in the world’s situation right now. When the bubonic plague swept London in 1655, the University of Cambridge was closed, forcing college student Isaac Newton back to his home in the countryside, where one day an apple fell in his orchard, sparking insights into gravity and motion. Back in 1606 theaters were closed by the plague, so a young man named William Shakespeare couldn’t perform. Instead, he wrote “King Lear,” “Macbeth” and “Antony and Cleopatra.” Who knows what new creative efforts we might see this time around?
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