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  • Writer's pictureSarah Creekmill

The end of my Botanical Illustration course and NSI program during a pandemic

This evening, I sat in front of my laptop at home to attend the final lesson for my Botanical Illustration class, the last course in the UW Natural Science Illustration program. Under more ordinary circumstances, my amazing and talented classmates and I would be gathered together, admiring our works in person, toasting our accomplishments, and reminiscing about our time in the program. Yet despite not seeing my classmates (or their art) in person for so many months, I feel like we are ended the program feeling closer than we would be if we were in standard classes.

We all exchanged phone numbers and created a group chat and a discord channel to stay in touch, but all of this only happened because of the lock-down and the nature of distance learning. Previously, I had exchanged numbers with a handful of classmates and had a few budding friendships, but our only interactions as a class as a whole were limited to mass emails sent by professors and TAs. I had at first worried these new relationships would deteriorate without in-person interactions, but the exact opposite happened - all of a sudden we had a built our own virtual network and I could easily be in touch with everyone quickly and casually.

Our group chat opened up a free space for us to discuss our work and our classes, and to share resources and ask questions and opinions. It became a place where anyone could easily drop a quick question/comment/photo, or post multiple paragraphs and open up to share news/accomplishments and anxieties/struggles with one another during an incredibly tumultuous time.

Even though our class and program have finally come to an end, I don't think the discord or the group chat are going to be ending anytime soon! So here is a virtual cheers to all of my wonderful classmates and incredible teachers! Thank you all for everything!

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