"It broke the monotony of being alone and stuck in the house every day..."

This semester, I looked forward to writer’s workshop every week and was thrilled to learn that we would spend the remainder of the semester having both Tuesday and Thursday classes with the Shortridge students. I enjoyed the company of my classmates as well as that of the high school students, and it broke up the monotony of being alone and stuck in the house every day. Would it have been better if we were meeting in person? Absolutely. But after months of being sad, hopeful, defeated, optimistic, depressed, refreshed, resentful and so on, one learns to be grateful for any interaction with a human being, no matter how small or virtual. My fear about having an entirely virtual writer’s workshop and still making an impact was put to bed here—it seems that everyone enjoyed the workshops we had because they were a constant and something upon which we could all rely. This year, consistency is hard to come by, and everyone knows how important consistency is for young people. Therefore, I truly believe that our workshop experiences this semester were as impactful and essential for the Shortridge students as they were for my fell classmates and me...

Human interaction has been essential for me since the onset of the pandemic, and this regular opportunity for just that is something for which I will always be grateful. I certainly feel the sense of success that I was hoping I would when this class started. It looks different than I expected. I feel secure in the knowledge that I was part of a workshop that presented a much-needed escape from a difficult reality into a community of like-minded individuals with an appreciation for the written word and togetherness. I hope and am certain that I will continue to hear more about the successes of these students–I was repeatedly struck by their big hearts, insane creative abilities and ability to smile and make me smile despite impossible circumstances. I hope to read more from these students in the future, which already looks much brighter to me.

Rachael Seamands is a graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program.