Study Hal: Week 24 – Costume Party

Hal is gearing up for Halloween this weekend! In his excitement (and to procrastinate on school projects…) Hal made costumes for him and his dog Sparky! They’re based on his D&D campaign, where he plays a wizard named Ignatius Lightshield with a dragon companion called Smokey.

Despite their fun outfits, Hal and Sparky are staying home this year. It’s unsatisfying to get all dressed up with nowhere to go, but it’s better to keep everyone safe! They’re watching scary movies instead, but, I think Hal likes the scares more than Sparky does… What about you? Are you a horror movie fanatic like Hal? Or would you rather be watching cartoons like Sparky?

In case you’ve missed it, Hal is a University of Michigan student taking remote classes this semester. He’s back on Tuesdays to share his experiences. Check out the Study Hal tag for more, or check back next week (preferably after you’ve voted)!

Study Hal: Week 22 – Absentee

Just about everyone has been talking about the upcoming election, and for good reason! It’s important to make your voice heard, and during a pandemic, voting takes extra planning. Hal has had his absentee ballot for a while now. He decided to take a break from studying to fill it in, but he didn’t realize before opening the ballot that there were so many items to vote for!

Though he was tempted to skip the races he didn’t understand, Hal researched every race using the League of Women Voters nonpartisan voter guide. (They have different chapters all over the country! Hal highly recommends finding your local voting guide.) Hal was able to find candidates he agrees with and figure out what the proposals mean. It took him a while to get it all sorted out, but he did it! Tomorrow morning, he’s going to drop off his signed and sealed ballot in the official drop box in front of the city hall. Have you already voted, or do you have a voting plan? Better yet, do you have any voting uncertainties that Hal or I could help you with? Leave us a comment below!

If you’ve missed it, Hal is a student at U-M who’s staying remote for the semester. He’s around every week with a new video, so check out the Study Hal tag to see more!

Study Hal: Week 21 – Home Alone

Hal’s been staying in his childhood home since March, but today was the first day in months that he’s been there all by himself. Though he gets kind of annoyed when other folks distract him from his work, he found himself wandering aimlessly through the house in search of company. He was relieved when someone finally got home with the groceries!

Hal keeps telling me that he’s learning about himself from this pandemic. For instance, he used to think he’d rather live alone than with roommates, but now he thinks now he’d rather have people around more often. What do you think? Have you learned something unexpected from this time at home? Do you want roommates more or less than when this whole thing started?

If you missed it, Hal is a student here at U-Mich. He’s studying remotely this semester from his home in Michigan. If you’d like to see more of his exploits, check back in next Tuesday, or check out the Study Hal tag!

Art Biz with Liz: Art from My Desk to Yours

Starting this school year, I felt a mixture of anticipation, excitement, and unease. While I was looking forward to coming back to campus, there was great uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the university’s handling of it. I like having the opportunity to see friends and walk around campus, but health and safety concerns are still incredibly important things to consider. For a nerd like me, one of the things I loved most about being a student in Ann Arbor was the array of opportunities to attend concerts, workshops, and other arts events. What does this look like during a pandemic? Is life in Ann Arbor drastically different without movie dates at the Michigan Theater or SMTD performances in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre?

The end of classes last school year marked the beginning of a strange summer, which then led to an unprecedented fall semester. It’s understandable to feel nostalgic for a “normal” college experience. For many students, it can be exhausting to sit in front of a computer screen all day. For me, these are reasons to incorporate more art into our lives. Experimenting with a new art medium—or, if you can handle more screen time, adding a virtual arts event to your schedule—could be a good way to break up the monotonous routine of working, studying, eating, and (hopefully) sleeping. Along with discussions about topics such as musicals and current events, my blog series will document my journey in connecting with the arts from home. This may include digital arts experiences, reflections as a writer, or my attempts at different art forms/arts and crafts that readers could potentially also do at home (watercolor painting, letter writing, etc.).

As bitter as 2020 has been, the pandemic revealed how crucial creative expression is for people. Through social media, many people have shared their artwork, ideas, and more to emphasize how important it is to have a connection to the arts. The lengths we’ve gone to adapt to this new normal underline the innate desire many of us have to express and explore our creative sides. While traditional access to the arts has been limited, television and the internet have become increasingly valuable tools in displaying art and providing access to different art forms. Various organizations, artists, and venues, for example, have worked hard to make their art accessible online. Of course, the role of audience members and magic of live performances aren’t the same, but offering virtual options is an innovative way to remain relevant and spread art to the masses during these trying times. It’s admirable how people have maintained accessibility to live events—performances, festivals, classes—through virtual means. Think about it. Even if you haven’t viewed a virtual concert or attended a painting workshop via Zoom, you have probably watched a movie or television show. Quarantine has given people an ample amount of time to “consume film as a visual art” (i.e. binge watch Netflix). Through my exploration of the arts such as these, I hope this blog serves as a way to continue the conversation of incorporating art into our everyday lives at home.

Study Hal: Week 18 – Perfect Setup

Like many students, Hal has an ideal study setup. Readings printed out, hot tea ready, pens in place, lo-fi beats playing… Unfortunately, in the now-times, it seems like even small tasks take up a lot of time and energy! Hal got all the way to being ready to study before having to call it a night.

Hal’s gonna try to get up and study in the mornings instead. What do you think? Do you prefer studying in the morning or at night? (Or, do you study between classes like a daredevil??)

If this is your first time here, Hal is a U-M student! He’s staying remote this term, but he’s around every week to share his experiences. Check out the Study Hal tag to see more!

Study Hal: Week 17 – Virtual Tour

Week one of classes, done! Hal’s getting the hang of the online thing. He’s just figured out the virtual backgrounds and will not stop trying new ones… His dog Sparky wanted to know what all the fuss was about!

Hal’s taking it slow and trying to get ahead on classwork these first few weeks. Anyone else with him? Or are you more like me and you’ve already fallen behind?

In case you missed it, Hal is a U-M student taking remote classes this semester. He’s back every week with a new video. Check out his summer exploits in the Study Hal tag!