Last month, the University of Nevada, Reno ended all campus operations and transitioned to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in both change and challenges for some students. The School of the Arts- #ArtAt6Feet campaign is sharing the stories of students majoring in the visual and performing arts, and their transition to online learning during this time. This article is part of a five-part installment about the impact of alternative campus operations and social distancing on students in the School of the Arts.
Life for Kara Bainter has slowed down. The sudden absence of her busy 12-hour school days filled with cello practice, music classes, homework and rehearsals has left her feeling empty.
For the past four weeks, Bainter – a junior Music Education major – has been waking up at 6 a.m., working out and attending her now online classes via Zoom. She practices her cello in her parent’s home and tries to keep busy with little projects throughout the day. In the evening, she has dinner and watches a movie with her family.
This is Bainter’s new norm. A routine she’s established since the University of Nevada, Reno announced its transition to online classes for the remainder of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since this transition, Bainter has found it challenging to find the motivation to practice her instrument now that she is virtually learning, moved back home and is physically distant from her music community.
“I definitely miss all my friends,” Bainter said. “It’s been something special when you can create music with people and you’re on the same emotional wave. Even if we don’t really talk, there’s still that sense of bonding with other people and just cheering for each other, and always just making sure we’re doing well.”
Another factor that has attributed to Bainter’s struggle to cope with this transition is the cancellation of many events she was looking forward to this semester. Her junior recital – which served as a final exam for a class – was canceled, along with the orchestra and choir concerts. She now has alternative assignments in place of these live performances.
“I’ve never cried so much in my life within this past month,” she said. “It’s been a lot of disappointment and so I think that’s why motivation is so hard right now because a part of me is like, ‘what’s the point. It’s just kind of sucky, you know, when you work hard and it gets canceled.”
However, despite this disappointment, Bainter has found ways to cope with the situation and also says that moving back home has allowed her to be closer to her family.
“I would definitely recommend – even though motivation is hard – just trying to set a time in your schedule like, ‘this is my practice time’ to just be consistent so that you don’t fall behind,” Bainter said.
She also advises that other students try “doing zoom sessions with friends to have that sense of community and doing mini projects.”
Bainter added that the mobile application, Acapella, is a fun way that she’s been able to connect and make music with others.
Although she has found ways to navigate this situation and stay busy, Bainter – like many other students – is looking forward to returning to campus life at the University. But for now, she just hopes that everyone is staying safe.
“No matter where you’re from or what major you are, or how old you are, we’re all in this together,” she said.
The School of the Arts includes 15 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across the disciplines of Visual Art, Music, Theatre, and Dance. Annually, the School of the Arts presents inspiring, thought-provoking, world-class visual art exhibitions, musical performances, theatre productions and dance concerts.