In plain language, the move to online schooling sucks. Sorry to be crass, but it’s true! I want to thank all of the professors who suddenly had their entire course load flipped on its head, and I appreciate all of the efforts that went into that, but gosh it’s been hard to adjust. I was never meant for online classes. I knew that! I hardly ever took them for a reason! But suddenly, that’s all I could do and it has been a task. Not so much as being away from campus has been, though. 

Leaving campus was tough. Being so far away geographically from all my closest friends somehow made everything worse, despite the fact that I would have had to socially distance anyway. This was my last semester on campus, and the loss of what little time I had left to be with my loved ones and make some final memories is acute and painful still two months later. I miss these guys like they’re a third limb that’s suddenly disappeared. 

image: Sahara Laforce Theatre
I hate that I can’t be around them right now, and that’s coming from a nearly reclusive introvert. I can’t help but think about all the trips to get gas station hibachi or late nights at Huddle House (affectionately called Huddle Home in my group of friends) I’m missing out on, how many late night rehearsal sessions we spontaneously snuck into Baird for that wouldn’t happen, can’t help but think about performing with them in my senior showcase to tie my Morehead theatre experience up in a nice little bow.

My senior showcase, which is what theatre majors do to round off their capstone class if they so choose, was something I was really looking forward to. My friends were going to be in a couple of scenes with me, I was going to design costumes for each of the characters I was going to embody; it was going to be a great, cathartic way to end my time here on- campus at Morehead State. Now, of course, I wasn’t able to do that. We did the show online through WebEx (which was constantly glitching for my peers due to their individual internet quality, or computer quality, or just the app, I was never sure), and ran into approximately a million problems on the way. At one point the plan was to play my backing tracks to the songs I was performing through my speakers. We found out quickly that wasn’t going to work, then moved on to trying to record it and just lip-sync. The audio wouldn’t play clearly, so we recorded a video. My professor didn’t like that, and I didn’t like it either, so we ended up doing my songs acapella. The video of me lip-syncing badly to some Sondheim is still out there somewhere, even though I would like to forget it exists. 

Sahara Laforce - image
In the end, the show had to go on, and go on it did. It was a sort of conflicting experience. While I was very glad I was still able to do it, it didn’t pack nearly as much punch as what it would have, and I wasn’t able to construct any costumes or do one of my duet pieces. It didn’t feel real, didn’t feel like it had happened at all, and that really made it hard for me to even realize the semester was over when it was.

I think that’s been a theme throughout most of my time in quarantine  struggling to understand that things are happening. It doesn’t help that I live in kind of a rural area that’s not taking the virus too seriously. I’m struggling to believe that this is how I have to live my life now, though I’m complying with the rules. I struggled to comprehend that I was still doing my classes and classwork in this crisis, but I was still attending them and doing the work. I now struggle to understand that I’m now officially on Summer Break, even though clearly I haven’t been in a video class or done an assignment in a week. I feel like a brat for complaining, and I know people have it much worse right now, but I’ve been trying my best to cope. 

A lot of my coping comes from cooking. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it. But everyone’s making bread right now, and God knows I’m no baker. I’ve tried several times and I just don’t understand it. This attempt was supposed to be focaccia.  

image: focaccia
It clearly is not really focaccia. I didn’t let it rise enough I’m sure and it was super yeasty. But it was a valid distraction! Another thing I’ve turned to is gaming. Just like everyone else now apparently, I’ve been taking all my existential grief and malaise and shoving it deep into “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

I’ve been waiting for this particular game ever since the Nintendo Switch came out, but it couldn’t come at a more perfect time. Instead of thinking about how much I want to tear my hair out being cooped up in the house, or how much I want to cry over the fact that I have no idea what the future holds, I can instead focus on making sure I move Flora’s house one in-game inch to the right to make sure it fits the housing scheme. 

I think the biggest thing “Animal Crossing” has taught me in this time is patience. The game encourages you to take things one day at a time, one task at a time, to complete something meaningful and beautiful. I used to be an incorrigible time-traveler in past games in the series, but now, I’m trying my hardest to take its lessons to heart. Give yourself time to breathe. Take the days as they come. Vent your feelings and get out your frustration but try to make something positive out of the wreckage.