Adjusting to Remote Learning

By Hannah Mata (Game Art ’21)

With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, this has been a strange and confusing time for everyone. I’ve never had to go into quarantine or work remotely as I’m sure many others hadn’t yet experienced, so my advice is fairly new and still being developed as the days go on. That being said, I will share my experience in hopes that anyone going through the same thing or are feeling similarly can have someone to relate to.

Being in quarantine is difficult. Initially I assumed it was going to be an easy transition because I’m both an artist and enjoy playing video games, so having an excuse to go full on hibernation mode didn’t seem like much of a chore. I soon realized that even though I was an artist and enjoyed video games, I forgot the part where I’m very social and love going out with friends and family. I’m sure not everyone is the same, but it feels good to get out of the house every so often and now we’re unable to.

Image from the New York Times.

Not seeing my friends is challenging. I’m back in my hometown, just like my high school friends but we can’t have a reunion like usual. The only place I can go to eat is the grocery store, and that’s just to pick up food and leave. Take out can be fun, but take out every night is expensive and the scenery at home never changes. Things we usually take for granted as casual activities are now stuck in time until it’s safe to leave home again.

Getting the drive to do work again is probably the most difficult thing for me right now. Morale is low, and motivation is lower. I usually go to the computer labs to do my homework (and with friends at that) since being in my room or even just my house is not something I associate college work with. Now, I have no choice. There’s no one sitting beside me doing work to encourage me to keep going. My periods of time that I spend doing work are decreasing.

Not all is lost though, and I’ve been starting to find a few ways to move forward. The best way I’ve found to do homework has been to voice call with my friends, and we all do homework at the same time. It’s definitely not the same as having them in person, but even hearing other keyboards clicking and simply being able to talk about school-related topics instead of the usual goofing off has been a huge help. It’s like a pseudo computer lab session from my house.

I’ve also found that I’ve been eating better while at home. Having a familiar kitchen and so close to my room helps me grab something to eat before getting back to work. Being at home also cuts travel time from going to class and then coming back, so I actually have more time to sleep in or to relax than I would in a dorm. I’ve been doing things I haven’t done in a while such as cooking or drawing for myself when I used to feel I didn’t have enough time for it. Finally, we have time…tons of time in fact to do enjoyable things, and we should take advantage of it.

I still get showered and dressed before I start to work as well, since being in pajamas makes it more difficult to get into a work mindset. Even if no one else sees, wear your favorite outfits and freshen up as if you have somewhere to go. It’s been helping me get out of my comfortable mood and into my productive mood.

Setting up my work station somewhere other than my room also helps. Currently, I’m using my dad’s computer to run large programs such as Zbrush or Maya. Having them be located in a place other than my room isn’t quite like being in a new place altogether, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

Image from Shopify.

Finding light in a crummy situation is the first step to making things better. My tips might not work for everyone, but I highly recommend finding a way to separate work and home in the house for the time being and call friends on the phone. We may be stuck in quarantine, but it doesn’t have to be painful. 

Wash your hands often, stay indoors, and we’ll get through this! Good luck!