When COVID-19 began to change the way we study and work, Saint Rose graduate students transitioned to operating remotely without missing a beat. They’ve adapted to new routines for studying and keeping vital connections with family, friends, faculty, and classmates. A few of our graduate students gave us an inside look at how they are currently succeeding in school while balancing family and work obligations.
While doing schoolwork from home, I’ve found it very helpful to set up a space where I can keep my schoolwork out for longer periods of time. I’m fortunate to have a large desk in my room where I can set up my computer, my notes, and my textbooks, and not feel like I’m intruding in other people’s space. I find it harder to get work done when I’m constantly having to set up all my notes and situate myself before starting to get work done.
I have been scheduling time to take breaks, help make dinner, or spend time with family. Knowing I have time “scheduled” to do other things beyond schoolwork helps me stay motivated and be more productive throughout the day. I will admit that I find it hard to balance spending time with family, work obligations, and time to myself, but making daily goals and lists of things I want to get done throughout the day has helped me stay on track.
The evolving landscape of this pandemic renders it incredibly challenging for everyone to concentrate on their studies and education.
Below are a few easy ideas I am adopting to stay inspired through this period:
- I’m creating regular targets that will help me keep my day as successful as possible.
- I’m organizing when I’m going to work and when I’m going to rest. That lets me maintain a healthier work-life balance at home.
- I’m arranging video meetings with my friends and parents. I’m attempting to socialize with them every day with a stroll around my street.
- I find time to prepare well-balanced meals and try not to work over lunch.
- Even when work seems impossible I assign attention to what I have to accomplish that day.
Sarah Uzzi G’21, school psychology
After transitioning to online classes, I decided to go back to Long Island and self-isolate with my family. Setting up a new workspace to complete my graduate work was very important to me. I have currently taken over the kitchen table as my new office space. The large table allows me to spread out all of my textbooks, notes, and electronics while working. It is also out of the way of my other family members, who have commandeered other parts of the house as their own workspaces.
Finding the time to balance both family and work obligations is now more imperative than ever. I make sure to get my work done during the daytime, so after my evening graduate classes, I can spend time hanging out with my family. We’ve spent many nights playing board games, watching movies, and breaking out the Wii. My extended family has set up weekly Zoom meetings so that we can all check-in with one another. I’ve even taught my grandmother how to use Facetime, so it has been nice to see her virtually during this time of separation.
Staying focused on schoolwork during this time of uncertainty can be very difficult. However, I have found that my schoolwork has been an essential part of keeping me on a strict schedule and distracted from the pandemic. Having classes four days a week has allowed me to keep a semi-regular routine. Something that has also aided in keeping my focus is making lists. It is a simple solution yet has been very effective. I write down a list of everything I need to accomplish that week. Once I complete a task, I cross it off the list. Having a small reminder that I am having weekly successes in completing my work has kept me motivated.
We all know this is a tough time for everyone. Most of my classes are done for this semester. I have some upcoming exams and assignments I need to work on. Most of the professors record the video of the lecture and I just go through them once they are available in Canvas. Sometimes when I felt unsure about something, I attended the office hours via Zoom and even talked with some of my classmates. I find even professors are flexible with office hours, and they are available during this tough period to help us understand the study material.
Currently, I am only working as a graduate assistant. Besides that, business is closed back home, too, which has an overall impact on my family, and I hope we will all recover from this soon. I am enrolled in three courses this semester, and I am done with two of those. I kept myself busy working on my assignments, cooking, cleaning, and talking to family members. I kept myself busy at least for an hour or two studying for at least three days a week. After that, I felt kind of bored, so, I just got engaged with some other indoor activities, such as cooking, watching movies, listening to the news.
The hardest time was to hear all this bad news, and I am just praying so all of us can recover from this hard time. I would just request everyone to stay safe and try to learn what this crisis had taught us.
By Sarah Uzzi G’21