PSFA Student Q&A: Dayne Sakazaki
As we enter the fall ‘21 semester, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts wants to know how students are adjusting. Read School of Music and Dance’s Dayne Sakazaki’s reflections on a new and very different school year.
1. How has your perspective on in-person learning changed since the pandemic began?
I have always been someone who enjoys going to classes (most of the time) and sitting toward the front, raising my hand, and chatting with the people around me. When the pandemic hit and we jumped into 100% virtual classes, I realized that I had been taking those elements of my educational experience for granted. I rely on that special buzz of energy in a live classroom more than I ever knew, so now that I’ve experienced having that taken away, I appreciate it a lot more than I think I did pre-pandemic. This semester, I’ve really started paying attention to all the little quirks my classmates and I have, treasuring questions and issues with projectors and climbing dozens of flights of stairs in a day. It’s all worth it when you get to feed off of your classmates’ own energy and curiosity and feelings.
2. What did online learning teach you about your learning style and time management?
Being a part of “Zoom University” really accentuated my need to feel like I’m in the middle of a lesson to have any hopes of digesting the material. I think I always had my camera on, partially because I know firsthand how tough it is to teach a screen of black boxes, but also just because I knew that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t pay attention at all. I’m such a visual learner that trying to multitask and just listen to a class would be almost useless to me. I forced myself to focus because I knew the whole class was watching my little Zoom box. As for time management, I am really thankful for the Canvas calendar feature and for my own chart of classes that I created; without those, I would have been totally lost. So much of my normal time management revolves around me moving around and knowing that I should be in certain locations at different times that to be constantly in one “location” (my computer screen) for classes really threw me off. The calendar feature saved my skin several times, from making sure I got assignments in at the right time to just reminding me to “go” to class!
3. What is your favorite part about being on campus for classes?
The traffic…just kidding! Though in a way, I guess that’s true because the best part of on-campus school is definitely the people. It was weirdly hard to stay in touch with people during quarantine classes, so I really love how many friends I get to see, and how easy it is to talk to them in the halls or after a class. Being a musician, real live people means making the music we all love and doing it together, as the big orchestral family we’re meant to be. That’s super cheesy, but I think the cheesiness just reflects how sentimental I get being around all these living, breathing, laughing humans.
4. What has been the biggest challenge or adjustment you have experienced this fall?
I think it’s a toss up between (ironically) all the people and the lugging of all my stuff from classroom to classroom. I was fortunate enough to get to come to campus everyday last year and play in a very small, socially-distanced parking garage orchestra (which was awesome!), but there were very few people out and about. Returning to the bustling walkways and throngs of almost-late college students has definitely been a lot to deal with, especially since I’m definitely an introvert at heart. I’m just also not used to having to pack a bag with different notebooks and lunch and keys and every other school supply under the sun everyday. I forgot how heavy my bookbag can be sometimes!
5. How are you setting yourself up for success this school year? What resources or techniques are you using?
I’ve definitely brought back my daily planner, and I check Canvas all the time to make sure I don’t miss anything. I’ve also learned to allow myself to ask for help. This year, I’m not letting myself hold back from asking my friends for help in classes, or for going to my professor’s office hours (something that used to scare me but now I really appreciate because it lets me interact with my professors on a more intimate human level), or for just talking to random people in the halls when I crave a little socialness. I’m grateful for my super supportive friends and classmates, professors, and School of Music and Dance staff!
6. What are the perks of your school schedule?
Does “just having a schedule where I get to come to physical school everyday” count? I admit to not having a very enviable schedule (I’m on campus from morning to evening, every day, and I’m taking almost ten classes!), but I honestly love every moment of it. It helps that all of my in-person classes are in the music building and that two of my online classes are asynchronous.
7. What is your favorite place on campus?
That depends on what I’m doing! If I’m making music, the orchestra rehearsal room is probably my favorite because of all the good memories I have there. If I need a moment to breathe, there are some great rose bushes by the music building and the ENS field that I love to sit near. Above all, anywhere I can just chill with my pals is a pretty great spot in my book.
8. Do you have any faculty you would like to shout out for going above and beyond to make your online or in-person experience especially valuable?
It would be unfair of me to only shout out some of them because all of my professors (and probably all the professors I haven’t had) have really been showing the power of education. It’s not about the material (well, it is, but it also isn’t), it’s about people coming together and exploring that wonderful sea of knowledge we hear so often about in poetry. To all the professors I’ve ever worked with and learned from, thank you. You inspire me all the time. I came to SDSU wanting to be a teacher, and I’m going to leave SDSU really, really, really wanting to be a teacher, and that is due in no small part to all of the extra hours, special exceptions for ensembles, kindnesses, surprise dog visits, smiley faces sent in emails, enthusiasm for your subject, and general willingness to help us learn.
The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.