(Open) Mic Check!

Last Friday, USG held a virtual Open Mic Night for anyone who might have been interested. Even though it was Friday the 13th, we didn’t have any technical issues. The night went very well, and everyone who attended had a lot of fun.

The night started at 5:00, but we didn’t get to the performances right away. First, we all wrote what the hosts called a “Hai-shoebox.” For those who have never tried this before, a Hai-shoebox is when you imagine finding a forgotten shoebox tucked away in the attic. You picture yourself opening the box and write a haiku about what’s inside it. (A haiku, by the way, is a three-line poem with a specific rhythm. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five again.) For reference, this was mine:

Mom’s old baby dolls.

Mike and Sandy. Twins, I think.

Are these things haunted?

I think we did this activity to make sure everyone had something to present, even if they decided to perform on a whim. The whole Open Mic night was built on supporting each other that way. When we did get to the performances at around 5:30, that was the number one rule: be supportive. We were all encouraged to keep our cameras on so that performers could see our positive body language. We also made liberal use of the Zoom reaction symbols. You know, the little thumbs-up and clapping emojis. I do have to say that, even though I had trouble finding my thumbs-up button, I’m so proud of everyone who performed. It took a lot of courage to volunteer, especially for an online event. Online, your WiFi connection can be your worst audience member!

A microphone on a yellow background, facing you.
A microphone facing whoever is reading this. Photo Credit: Aryan Singh via Unsplash

My favorite performance was by Professor Zhemukhov, who teaches European History through UMBC. He told a story about when he first moved to America and had a very illuminating trip to Designer Shoe Warehouse. I can’t retell it here–I wouldn’t do it justice–but it was so well-told and genuine that I had to mention it.

If you want to hear more about what Professor Z. is doing, and maybe get a good story out of it, check out his website at sufianz.com. Also, if you missed the Open Mic Night, take a look at the USG events calendar! I hope to see you at the next one!

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