Find Balance In Your Routine

SSI Spotlight Spring 2020 - Jim Zhang


Hi everyone! My name is Jim, I’m a sophomore from Will Rice studying biochemistry, and I’m one of your FLI Ambassadors. In these last weeks of the semester, each of us ambassadors will be sharing our academic/personal experiences in adjusting to online schooling, social distancing, and the general changes that everyone’s been going through.

For me, adjusting to everything has definitely been a time. I thought that since I was staying on campus, I might be able to stick to my usual working schedule - log in to Zoom and watch lectures whenever classes were originally scheduled, work in the Will Rice Commons during the evenings, etc.

That has totally not been the case. Even though I’m on campus, motivation has been SUPER low, and without having to physically go to classes it’s much harder to sort of stick to my usual semester schedule. I’ve had to make some major changes to how I approach things - which is okay! Something I’ve found that works for me is, instead of having all my work spread over the usual 5/7-day work week, dedicate certain days for certain topics - sort of like having different workouts for different days of the week (I don’t know why I thought of that - I don’t go to the gym lol).

On my “Work Days,” I set aside specific times - almost as if I were going to class, to watch any live/pre-recorded lectures. Once the evening rolls around, I shift to start with homework, assignments, and general studying.

I keep track of all of this with Google Calendar + Tasks, but being able to have days completely dedicated to hobbies, watching Netflix, or playing video games has been really relaxing - something I wouldn’t be able to do as easily during the semester. It provides a balance to my work-heavy days, provides an opportunity to unwind, and gives me time to take care of myself. I know it might seem strange to have to find specific times for leisure, but I’ve found that scheduling it in makes me feel less… guilty (?) about goofing around. In the end, I have to remind myself that everyone deserves a break - so don’t feel bad about it!

Overall, the changes haven’t been easy. There are plenty of times where, even on my “work” days, my motivation feels completely drained. When that happens, I have to remind myself to try to stick to my schedule. But - worst case, if I can’t, I gotta tell myself that’s okay!

It’s been a hard adjustment, but remember everyone’s been going through a similar situation. You are totally not alone when it comes to this. Just take it on a day-by-day basis, take time to figure out what works for you, and reach out for help whenever you need it! Texting and video calling friends has been super valuable whenever I feel lonely, bored, or stressed. And if it’s something academic - don’t be afraid to shoot your professor an email.