It’s been an interesting year at GTA! We have done hybrid classes, Zoom calls, and Zoom shows, all while masking up and staying safe. Our students have pushed through the pandemic to finish this semester strong. But, we understand that some days are harder than others. It’s important to take a step back and make your self-care a priority, so you can be the best version of yourself. Sophomore BFA Acting major Anna Nowosielski and junior BFA Musical Theatre major Maleah Boyd share their quarantine experience and their self-care practices.
During quarantine, what did you do to keep your mind strong?Anna: I found that finding different creative outlets was super helpful. I painted A LOT over quarantine!
Maleah: During quarantine, I had to focus on putting my mental health first. I had a hard time doing that before quarantine, but I knew that my mental health would go downhill if i didn’t pay extra attention to it! So I made sure I had schedules to keep my routine, spent time with my family, and continuously used my coping skills!
What or who kept you inspired?Maleah: My Fiancée, our dog, my family, and my sorority sisters all kept me inspired. They continued to push me when I needed pushing and continued reminding me of what I’m meant to do.
Anna:I tuned in to a lot of filmed live theatre that was made free on YouTube, like the National Theatre’s adaptation of Frankenstein. Just being able to see those performances really helped me remember just how important this craft is, and how amazing it’s going to be when we get back to it.
Not being able to perform is the hardest. What helped you keep your skills sharp?
Anna: As an acting major, a lot of our work is mindset and being in the moment. When there is no moment to be in, you can only work on your mindset! I read a lot of plays and books to kept myself going!
Maleah: PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. I slacked off at the beginning of quarantine, but realizing that I won’t have any performing opportunities any time soon, I honed in on practicing and enjoying the process of being a better performer!
Did you get any new habits and/or hobbies during the quarantine?Anna: I don’t know if this counts as a hobby but I did get a quarantine kitten named Kiwi, and taking care of him has definitely felt like a full time job.
Maleah: I love coloring, and I got an iPad for Christmas before quarantine, so I started drawing on Procreate and creating stickers!
What does self-care mean to you?Maleah: Self-care means putting yourself first in any and every way you deem fit. It’s putting your needs above others and valuing yourself.
Anna: Self care truly is all about taking moments by yourself to unwind. For me, it’s stretching every morning, and doing one small thing everyday that I genuinely enjoy.
Hybrid classes can make it challenging to focus. What helps you keep on track?
Anna: I’m definitely leaning on my classmates for support during this time! It’s very helpful to have a community that you feel close enough to that you can help each other out when you’re struggling, to know that they’ve got your back.
Maleah: definitely NOT being in my bed during class! I try to create schedules for myself at the beginning of each week so I can follow a guide and not be lost in the amount of “free time” I have between classes. I also make my bed every morning, because if the bed is made you’re less likely to want to get in it.
Why do you think college students forget to take time for themselves?
Anna: I think there is definitely a narrative among students that unless you’re running yourself into the ground, you aren’t doing enough. That couldn’t be farther from the truth of course, but sometimes the amount of work can feel super overwhelming and it feels like burning yourself out is the only option. In my personal experience, there is always another option, if that means taking a day for yourself, or just having an honest conversation with professors about where you are, it can be really beneficial to advocate for yourself.
Maleah: College is a rough time for students. It’s hard to continue to push yourself and depend on only yourself. You feel like you constantly have something to do, your schedule gets so busy that you forget to check if you’re okay or not. There’s many times where I’ve forgotten to eat, or drink water, or take my medication, all because I had something to do.
What did you learned during quarantine?
Anna: I would be lying if I didn’t say my biggest learning experience didn’t come during this summer’s series of protests for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and the other countless victims of police brutality. As a white student, I’ve always tried to consider myself a good ally but I didn’t realize I was so oblivious about so many injustices until George Floyd’s death and the events that followed. All I did this summer was protest, listen and educate myself, and it’s still a process of unlearning biases and listening to my fellow student’s experiences.
Maleah: I’ve learned that nothing, NOTHING, is more important than your mental health. I know we all get excited and stressed and forget to check up on ourselves, but I’ve tried to make a habit of looking myself in the mirror and asking if I’m okay. Or when I feel overwhelmed or struggling, I give myself time to sit in that, feel it, and try to push myself past it. If you can’t do it yourself, there is NOTHING wrong with asking for help!