When studying an arts degree, learning in person is critical as the education is multidimensional. One year after York moved classes online, York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (APMD) students reflect on the ups and downs of this past year.
“My experiences in visual arts are deeply social in so far as getting opinions, ideas, and critiques from my peers and mentors to make my work in any given media stronger,” says Liz Tsui, a fifth-year visual arts major. “I miss putting my tools or paint brushes down and being able to walk around to see how people are doing and ask what they think of my own progress.”
With many AMPD programs, such as visual arts or film, there are certain tools on campus that would have helped many students in their courses.
Boyan Demchuk, a fourth-year film production student, reflects on the lack of access to the facilities and tools that are so crucial to many of the AMPD programs, which have caused difficulty for students and faculty as they struggle to find alternatives to continue their education. “I wish we could have had more access to our labs and studio spaces,” he says.
“It was very difficult, frustrating, and exhausting at times,” says Tito Vallarino, a third-year student in the acting conservatory program.
Vallarino adds: “Luckily, most of the time I felt like my professors understood and had my back, which made all the difference and kept me from dropping out altogether.”.
Despite the troubles AMPD students faced this past year, they have proven their resiliency. The pandemic has taught us that out of difficult situations, there are new skills and lessons to be learned.“I felt like getting to face unique challenges and deal with the new industry in a controlled environment was something that will be very valuable leading us into our careers,” says Demchuk.
The changes that the pandemic has caused may stick around, such as virtual opportunities, performances, and the move to in-person options once it is safe to do so. AMPD students are getting the opportunity to learn how to adapt to this new world and how to make it work for them.
“I was experimenting and developing a new medium of performance that could grow into its own thing by the time the pandemic ends. Whether that will be the case or not is yet to be seen,” says Vallarino.
“Although the circumstances certainly weren’t ideal, they taught me lessons I might not have had otherwise such as the value I must place in my own work before it can be enjoyed and appreciated by others,” adds Tsui.
As the school year is coming to an end, AMPD students and beyond have learned many new skills and experiences from this past year. Change sparks growth, and growth is exactly what students and faculty can take away from this whole experience.