As a student during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have spent a lot of time finding my new flow. I was the type of student who lived by the saying “The early bird gets the worm." I would often wake up early, get a couple hours of studying in every weekday before classes at either a coffee shop of on campus. I would usually work on assignments between classes, and I would sometimes stay on campus after class to finish up my work. When I went home, I was home, and I did a good job of not taking my work home with me. This is how I found balance, and it really worked for me!
When campus had to be closed due to the government’s orders, classes transitioned to Zoom calls. Usually, most course material and class assignments were submitted online, so that part didn't change much, but there was a huge barrier I had to work hard to overcome: being home and doing school work. I had to get creative, so I set up a space in my dining room that acted as my office. I had a really fun time decorating it, putting plants in it for me to enjoy while studying, using candles and crystals to create a focused, calm environment. I bought an adjustable desk that I used to stand during lectures, which was a great way for me to switch things up when I started to feel distracted. I also bought a comfy seat cushion for when I needed to sit and study. I made the most of my classes and maintained my motivation by continuing to check in with my friends in my cohort, and scheduling out my days.
Now when I have classes, I usually wake up at 7am, make some coffee, get dressed and have a fueling and delicious breakfast! My “work time” which consisted of Zoom lectures, working on assignments and studying was usually from 8am until 6pm. I would take a break mid-day and go for a nice walk around my neighborhood, often down to Lake Sammamish, and get a quick bite to eat when I got back. After my scheduled work time, I would enjoy time with my partner (who was living with me during the stay-at-home order), usually by cooking a home-made meal, watching a movie, making art and crafting or listening to audiobooks.
There was a lot of restructuring and relearning how to be a student during the COVID-19 pandemic, but even with the added challenges and changes to the structure of the University because of COVID-19, the bonds between my cohort and my friends are holding strong. I still was able to get the most out of my classes (something I realized after reflecting on all I had learned during the school year!), and overall I still really value my experience during my second year. I think that speaks to the dedication of the administration, the dependability of the staff, and how invested our professors are.
- Nikol Wells