Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Jay'La Sims



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Jay’La Sims was born in Henderson, Texas and was raised in Dallas, Texas, where she now resides since the pandemic. After graduating high school at Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Jay’La is now studying comedy writing and performance at Columbia College Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, and is a member of the Improv Club, expecting to graduate in 2023 with a Bachelors in Arts. She currently lives with her mom and sister and is continuing her studies from home through virtual learning. Jay’La has performed at Comedy Cabaret at Columbia College Chicago. She is using her time at home to further develop her writing and performing skills along with her classmates.

Jay’La moved out of Columbia College Chicago’s dorms quickly after learning about the campus closures due to Covid-19 and is now sharing a room with her sister once again. Jay’La’s mom works as a nurse in two different nursing home facilities. Jay’La is hopeful to return back to campus and city life in Chicago in the fall. After the pandemic is over she is excited to be with friends and return to a more independent lifestyle.

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Columbia College Chicago




comedy, isolation, motivation, writing, performance, Texas, COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Arts and Humanities | Education | History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Jay’La Sims is a Comedy Writing and Performance major at Columbia College Chicago and learning stand up though Zoom is a challenge for her interactive classes. Jay’La describes remote learning as a struggle because she is a hands-on learner and performance through technology just doesn’t resonate with an audience like it does in person. She mentioned that the pandemic has been helpful for her comedy writing skills because she is forced to find humor in society and within stressful situations when stuck inside.

Every student has different concerns when forced to learn online and Jay’La’s major is a challenging one to conduct remotely. Some of her classes have transitioned with minor issues and, according to Jay’la, others “barely feel like a class anymore”. Her fears of resuming the fall semester online are shared by many college students. There is a lot of uncertainty of the near future. Comedy is just not the same without a live audience beyond the stage.

Although some positives have arisen from quarantine, Jay’La really thrives being around friends and peers in her day to day life. Once the pandemic is over she plans on being with her friends and cherishing in-person connection to people. Although she longs to leave the house, she has made some everlasting connections to her sister during this time sharing a space once again and has learned more about both her sister and her mom and she appreciates this time spent with them.

Conducted in spring 2020 by an Oral History: The Art of the Interview student, this interview with a fellow student in the class reflects on the pandemic and how it impacted their life. The interview is conducted based on the life history approach to oral history.

Interview with Jay'La Sims