By: Camila Pereira / Staff Writer
With the FIU Spring semester shifting to be fully online, students had to adapt to their courses and lectures moving onto Zoom, virtually proctored exams, and for some, finishing and submitting their final projects on time.
“Working on my senior recital during this global pandemic and shift to online learning was a bit nerve-wracking. It was stressful not knowing what the new protocol would be,” said FIU Alumni Francesca Maria Rossi, who just graduated this spring with a degree in Music-Performance.
Her final project was her senior recital that she was to perform live in a concert hall with a live audience, but instead, was a recording of her performing in her living room at home.
“Not having that adrenaline rush that one gets in a live performance setting can make it a bit more difficult to get into the zone,” said Rossi.
Despite the challenges she faced, her main motivation for completing her final project was her excitement of earning her bachelor’s degree and finally graduating. With the help of the faculty and staff of the School of Music at FIU, it made the transition easier and ensured that students like Rossi were on track to graduate in the spring.
Other FIU students took the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings of staying at home and shifting to online learning through their final projects.
Michelle Wade, a Junior at FIU majoring in Art History and an MBUS LEADS participant, created an art piece for her final project in her Research & Development class that demonstrated how many may feel at the moment, such as herself.
“I felt that my project was a relatable contribution to make during this time because many of us are experiencing more stress as a result of the global pandemic,” said Wade.
Although her intention for this artwork was to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and how society stigmatizes it, she was able to practice a healthy way of coping through these feelings while working on her project.
“It was a relief to me to create the artwork because it felt like I was confronting feelings that we all regularly deal with alone, and by putting it out there, it felt cathartic,” said Wade.
On the other hand, some students didn’t see working on their final projects as such a difficult task at the beginning because of how much time they had when they didn’t have to physically go to campus for their classes.
Joaquin Stacey, a Junior at FIU majoring in Fine Arts and minoring in Marketing and an MBUS LEADS participant, was eager to work on his final project for his Intermediate Drawing course along with other personal projects now that the Spring semester would take place at home.
“At first I was excited about all the time we had so I almost completed it during the first week,” said Stacey. “That week I did about 7 pieces because of how excited I was, and as the weeks passed, time management became harder.”
He also explained that another challenge he faced was the lack of space necessary for his self-portrait. His piece was 7 feet tall and he struggled in finding a wall that was tall and flat enough to work on as well as room to be able to move away and visualize his painting from a distance.
Similarly to Wade, he was able to relieve his stress and feelings during this time while working on his final project, and as well as his other pieces that displayed the theme of being lost and searching for who he is.
“I really enjoyed working on such a big drawing, it was sort of therapeutic, almost like dancing, so it kept me going to finish it,” said Stacey.
Many FIU students struggled with this shift to online learning and had to manage and adapt to it to pass and finish the Spring semester. For students like Rossi, Wade, and Stacey, completing these projects during these difficult times was a mission, but not impossible.