When UCLA first declared online classes for spring quarter, we felt rather disappointed missing out on months of in-person instruction, social interaction with friends, and an all-around typical college lifestyle. An online quarter meant that our original three month separation from our friends and significant others during the summer had been extended to six months! Saying goodbye to sophomore year meant moving off the Hill, no longer eating at our favorite dining halls, and missing out on fun plans with friends, including a trip to Six Flags and a FoamGlow Run.
Furthermore, social distancing meant many of our internship plans, vacations, and job opportunities were now cancelled as well. For Soumya, this meant that opportunities for research fairs and clinical volunteering both at Ronald Reagan and in her lab were no longer available. Kareena had recently started a paid position as a Medical Assistant and Scribe, and due to being out-of-state, she was disappointed to have to take an extended leave of absence.
While most professors have been extremely accommodating towards students with extenuating circumstances, staying organized can be hard when taking difficult online classes since there are more assignments to keep track of.
With online classes, it's been really tempting for us to wake up just a few minutes before class and watch the Zoom lectures from the comfort of our own beds. However, doing this has only made us feel unmotivated and lazy, as we completely disengaged with the lecture material because we were still half-asleep. However, even with lectures that allow the mic and camera to be turned off, we have recently been trying to get ready in the morning as if it was a regular school day to help us feel more productive and motivated. Additionally, being inside the house the entire day can be mentally exhausting, so we have found that working out in the mornings before classes has helped to elevate our moods and also gave us a break from the constant screen time to focus on ourselves.
If we were at school, there wouldn’t have been a day that we wouldn’t spend time and see our friends or even have unexpected run-ins at the dining halls. With remote learning and being separated miles apart, we both make an effort to call or facetime at least one friend a day. Whether it's playing fun games online, reminiscing good times, or just catching up, this quick daily call has allowed us to feel connected and happy even during this uncertain time.
Despite all of this, there are days where we feel that we got almost no productive work done. Hours spent scrolling tiktok or doing instagram story bingos passed in what seemed like minutes. What has worked for us is creating daily goals to complete each day, even if we don’t have any formal assignments due. Additionally, with pre-recorded or non-mandatory lectures, it’s easy to fall behind. By making an effort to watch the lectures at the original would-be lecture times, we have tried preventing an overwhelming build up of work and stress at the end of the week.
While these are certainly unideal circumstances, we have both tried our best to take advantage of this situation as much as possible. For example, we have challenged ourselves by increasing our academic workload since many extracurriculars that would normally take up our time are cancelled. This is also a great time to help out our communities, whether that’s by making masks, donating meals to healthcare workers, or just being there for one another. Also, being at home has allowed for quality moments with our families and additional time to pick up a hobby, such as this blog!
We hope you all stay safe and healthy during this time and that some of our tips can help you stay positive and productive! Please like and comment if you enjoyed reading this, and subscribe to stay updated for our next blog post!