How Art Helped Me Through the Pandemic

It’s been a tough year. No matter which school you go to, you likely had to stay home and work online for at least part of the school year. However, though it was a struggle to adjust, I find myself satisfied with how both semesters went. Why? It’s simple; art. 

I suppose art is a section of me – a chance for others to tap into parts of who I am that I wouldn’t naturally express, by choice. It’s a means to show a complete picture, whether it be raw emotion or opinions I hold, with full colors. In other words, art isn’t a wall to hide behind, it’s a banner to adhere to.  

Though art can be applied outside of quarantine, it made an important “comeback” for me then. When the significance of school is all you can focus on, it makes a difference on one’s attitude, and therefore art. However, this year gave me a chance to see both sides of the coin – to experience what it would be like to continue academic studies at home. As a result, my dedication to the arts increased as my worries over projects and exams were reduced. And though I’m eager to get back into a classroom, I can’t help but appreciate the extra minutes spent on what I love most. 

I asked a friend about how she felt art impacted her during the pandemic. She mentioned similar points, but one comment stood out to me. She stated that quarantine helped her “put experiences and memories to a distance,” where she could view them less “in the moment,” and more with an objective, artistic view. In short, it was her reminder of the freer days and old times, her method to arouse hope in an already difficult situation. 

Here are some tips if you ever need to “let go” and release. These tools apply no matter the situation! 

  1. Write. Don’t worry about complexity, just go for emotion. Sometimes the best work is done raw, rather than with technicalities. 
  2. Draw. Just scribble! Pour out what you’re going through. If it’s anger, doodle shapes, or simpler characters and backgrounds. If it’s joy, attempt to draw whatever makes/is making you happy. 
  3. If all else fails, read! There’s so much to choose from!

-Emilia D.

Online Schooling

Online Schooling. An idea most never thought about, but now is a reality for almost every student in the United States in the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Many people that I know do not like any aspect of the whole concept. They find themself always distracted and unmotivated to sit in front of a computer for hours. But due to an unexpected part of our education, I have found myself taking the opportunity of having so much more free time. Personally, I have a fairly large family. With 3 other siblings all trying to stream a class at the same time. But unlike most, I have a different view on the idea of schooling on a computer.

Though it may be an unpopular opinion, I have found myself striving for the past 7 weeks of online schooling. Though I am taking many hard classes, having an online perspective is much more motivating for myself. My personal favorite aspect would be the pre-recorded lectures. Normally, I would find myself struggling to get down the important information that is being thrown at me at a very fast pace. But most of my teachers this year have been recording their lectures that students then watch on their own time. I find myself grasping the complicated concepts much faster due to the new aspect of being able to pause a lecture and write down information at your own pace.

Another factor of online schooling that seems to be going away for myself is procrastination. Normally on a school day, I would go to school around 6:50 am and not leave till about 5-8 pm. By the time I got home, I would be exhausted. Not mention my work would not start when I first got home. I would have to eat, then usually rest for a little bit of time before I could physically get myself to start work. But now, always being at home, I have found myself thriving even though I have hours of school work. Now, on a regular online school day, I get out about 1 pm and complete homework straight till about 11 pm. Give or take a couple 10-15 minute breaks. I just began to imagine having this much school work on top of my hours of extra curricular’s that I normally would have to balance.

If I could give any advice to anyone about to start their online journey would be this, take the opportunity of time that has been given, and improve your work habits. This time last year, I procrastinated beyond compare. I would always leave assignments untill the day they were due. Now, I have seemed to reinvent how I take my education. I complete the assignments the day they are assigned, and I ensure I fully understand the ins and outs of the concepts. Without this online schooling, I most likely would not be in as great of a position school wise as I am now. I am aware that my option is most likely far from most, I encourage for some to accept the new normal of most children’s education.

-Lilly G.

Special Feature: Face Mask Tutorial

This is a tutorial on how to make a facemask. Hopefully making these will help protect us while keeping the important PPE to the medical workers who really need it. This design was made by me and is in no way made to replace a real surgical mask or n95. However, for the everyday citizen who does eventually have to venture to the grocery store and leave the house, these are great for an extra line of defense. 

These can be made with any type of fabric however, the CDC recommends cotton, and 100% quilters cotton seems to have the tightest weave, giving the most protection. Though, any cotton t-shirt will also do. 

For this design, I choose to not make a pocket for a filter. This was a personal decision and some may feel safer with a pocket. However, the HEPA filters which many are using for their filters, contain fiberglass which when breathed in can damage the lungs. So, even the maker of these filters is not advising consumers to use them for masks. There is a possibility that it will be dangerous. 

This design was made with help from my father who is an MD however, this is in no way certified, I just used his opinion as he is someone who wears facemasks often. As well, he wears glasses so, these were designed to specifically NOT fog up glasses. They are also made to be as comfortable as possible for long time wear. So, this design may take longer to make than many out there. But, this was for a reason. As many of us are making them for our friends and family to reuse over and over again until this pandemic is over, I believed that spending some extra time on the masks to make them comfortable was important. For, if the masks are not comfortable, we will not want to wear them. So these will take some time to make. Especially the first time. Most of those tutorials online are not as fast as they seem. 

As a side note, I choose to make fabric straps. These are the most comfortable for long time wear. However, these can easily be changed out for elastic or other straps for those who do not want to spend the time to make them. 

So, if this seems like the design for you, here are the steps. I tried to make them as comprehensible as possible. As I know many of the tutorials out there are not user friendly for those who do not have a large amount of sewing experience. 

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