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Lessons from an Online Art Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cincinnati chapter.

Taking university courses virtually in the days of COVID-19 difficult, and any college student right now can tell you that. As colleges across the country struggle to find the balance between online and in-person classes, students are  caught in the crossfire. Worried about affordability, safety and the value of their courses, students are having to make a lot of decisions about their academic future. 

As an art student, I’ve certainly had an interesting experience. Navigating virtual classes while living with four more fellow art students is teaching me a lot about art school in this day and age. 

When my college announced all online courses for the Fall 2020 semester, with no access to campus studio spaces, my classmates and I were worried. Obviously concerned for our safety but also the value of our studio courses without actual studios. My classmates’ experiences certainly depend on which studios they are taking but one fact stays consistent: online studios struggle to meet the standards of cost accessibility, artist collaboration and in-person instructor support. 

Keeping all of this in mind, there are the lessons I’ve learned in the short few weeks that may help any university student:


Utilize your support group. 

During these past few weeks, the company and advice of my roommates has been invaluable to my artistic and academic progress. Wherever you are and whoever you are with, if you are able, leaning on those closest to you can help you navigate this strange experience. Nobody does anything alone.


Find a way to organize your routine and responsibilities. 

This is one of the hardest ones for me. I have always found it easiest to remember my assignments and keep everything in order when I have a place to be and an instructor telling me what to do in person. You may relate to this, or you may be better suited to online academic communication. Whatever your preference may be, we all have to learn how to keep a routine.


Take some time for yourself. 

I think that the balance between work and leisure has been harder to maintain than ever before. Sometimes, it’s much too easy to take too much time for yourself. In my experience, though, being a full-time student and having a part-time job keeps my free time fairly limited. Spending time with my roommates, watching new Netflix shows or playing Mario Kart are examples of activities I’m doing to take care of my mental health. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, even when you are busy.


Reach out to your teachers.

Student-teacher relationships can be vital, particularly in smaller classes. Now more than ever before, it is important to establish a rapport with your instructors. They are here to teach you and do their best to provide a quality education, so making sure you are connected can be very beneficial.


Get out of your workspace every once in a while. 

“Getting out” is difficult to navigate these days. Social distancing is vital for the health and safety of both yourself and those around you, but there are ways to get out while being safe. Taking a walk with a mask on, having a picnic in the park or going grocery shopping are all ways we can separate ourselves from our workspace to reset.


This advice can be hard to follow, as simple as it may seem on the surface. Also, everyone’s experience is completely different. I’ve had it pretty lucky, considering everything that is going on in the world today. These are just some lessons I’ve learned in this strange time.

Katherine Donaghy

Cincinnati '24

Katherine is a Fine Arts major at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Program. She loves art, music, the environment, and staying up to date on current events.