Tag Archives: social life

Goal Setting During a Virtual Semester

By Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

When I first learned that the fall semester at USC would be largely conducted online, I was disappointed and confused. I couldn’t stop thinking about my future plans and goals, and how this would be a major obstacle in my life and happiness. But as time passed, I began to realize that my personal concerns, although valid, did not consider the fact that everyone is experiencing problems similar to mine, all around the world. Adapting to a new way of taking class and working in the fall will surely be a struggle for many, and I have compiled a couple of tips to help keep perspective and stay focused during this unusual semester.

1. Wake up at a consistent time in the morning
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Managing your own schedule at home can be challenging, especially for those (like me) who aren’t morning people. However, disciplining yourself by making a daily routine can make you a lot more productive throughout the day. If your earliest online class is at 10:00, for example, set your alarm for 9:00, and wake up at that time every day (even the days where you don’t have class until later). If you maintain a consistent morning routine, you can use that time in the morning to prepare yourself for your day or just work on assignments when you don’t have morning classes. Even though it can be hard to force yourself to keep a consistent sleep schedule, without on campus life and social activities, it should be easier to go to bed at a set time every night.

2. Take breaks from looking at a screen
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

With classes and activities being primarily virtual this semester, it can get exhausting staring at a screen for so many hours in the day, and the blue light exposure can interfere with your sleep. Block out time in your day where you are doing things that don’t involve looking at a screen, and when you do those things, leave your phone or laptop in another room. Some examples are taking a walk, spending time talking to family or friends you are quarantining with, cooking, or reading. If you have a lot of homework, try to find alternative ways to work, such as taking your work outside or printing out articles or materials you have to read instead of reading them on your computer. 

3. Make time to talk with friends 
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If you are quarantining in the fall semester and have little to no time to socialize in person with your friends, you may start to feel lonely and isolated. This can lead you to spend more time on social media or texting friends, which can make you stressed because it takes away from class and work time. The best way to curb those feelings of loneliness is to schedule a regular time to talk to your friends. You could schedule a weekly Zoom call with a group of friends, or plan to call a friend one-on-one at a certain time every week. 

It is understandable to feel stressed during this time, but keeping a positive outlook and working towards personal goals can greatly mitigate that stress. Adapting to change is never easy, but if you stay on track in your life and in your work you will feel a sense of accomplishment and, by the time quarantine is over, may have succeeded in finishing some important projects or fulfilling certain goals. 

If you are in search of a guide to maintain your wellness and personal well-being, Mindful USC offers classes and guided meditations which are now occurring through Zoom: http://mindfuluscstg.wpengine.com

If you are in need of professional help, USC counseling services are available to all students: https://studenthealth.usc.edu/counseling/

Featured Image by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

Natalie Grace Sipula is a rising sophomore studying Philosophy, Politics, and Law with a Spanish minor and plans to pursue a career in criminal or immigration law.  She is from Cleveland, OH and is a Presidential Scholar studying in Thematic Option. Natalie is an active member of Phi Alpha Delta (Director of Membership), QuestBridge Scholars (University Relations Chair), and Grupo Folklórico de USC. Growing up she was dedicated to theatre, including studying and performing at Cleveland Play House. She is a volunteer camp counselor with Mi Pueblo Culture Camp in Cleveland. Since arriving in Los Angeles she has enjoyed volunteering with Angel City Pit Bulls animal shelter and in her free time enjoys reading, writing, and going to the beach.

Fight ON!

By Jennifer Sung

The moment I stepped foot onto our campus, three things stood out in bright Cardinal and Gold colors: anticipation, ambition, and anxiety. From day one, freshmen students are dropped into a rabbit hole filled with many other competitive and goal-driven individuals who’ve come to college prepared and ready to foremost play hard and of course, study hard. However, amongst the crowd, I felt different about college. As a first generation Korean American, born and raised in Los Angeles, going to a prestige university was a privilege: a dream come true.

However, with no schooling experience in my familial background, I struggled a bit on knowing what I wanted from my college experience. My cultural background roots deeply within South Korean and Argentinian culture, for my parents were both born in South Korea but then immigrated to Argentina at elementary school age. As a lower-class family , my parents managed to support and care for me and my younger sister, pushing us to strive for more, even though we had so little. They always reminded us to FIGHT ON! Unlike the stereotypical Asian American household, where the motto is “To be a doctor or not to be a lawyer”, my parents were different. By giving us the freedom and the right amount of push a child needs to strive for her goals, my parents helped shape us into what we truly wanted to be.

So, college was the trial and error stage of my life– where I once was the puppet of the scene, I am now the puppeteer of my play. In freshmen year, the ambitious part of me wanted more friends, more attention, more academic success, and mostly more sleep. To live up to the motto to “FIGHT ON”, I strove to join many organizations and jobs to widen my options for the perfect community and lifestyle I yearned for. For example, I joined APASA PEER, CIRCLE, Asian American Tutorial Project, KCCC, AABA, Circle K International, and TAO, along with holding three jobs. By the mid point of my first semester, I had so many responsibilities, socials to attend, people to meet, and basically the “more” I was searching for. However, one evening, a depressing wave of realization swooped over me to acknowledge that I was still on base one. I sheepishly followed my peer group, joining organizations and becoming socially immersed in the people around me, without noticing my self, deteriorating and crippling in lack of self-love and respect. The anticipation of going to college heightened my need to be more ambitious and thus, pushed me to a state of discontent.

In my sophomore year, I cut out less important organizations and focused on organizations and jobs that I actually enjoy and are beneficial to my future aspirations. All my effort went into my academics, research for psychology, AATP (Asian American Tutorial Project), and CKI (Circle K International). Later that year, I was surrounded by the community that I was desperately in search for. Instead of actively and aimlessly searching for a community of friends, I strived to find what my passion lied in: education, community service, and psychology.

Featured image from Wikipedia

Continue reading Fight ON!

Growing by Leading

By Sabrina Hsu

Many college students hold on-campus jobs, waking up early in the morning to clock in a shift at the CSC or to pick up phone calls at various front desks. I work from my dorm. As an RA, every minute I spend inside the residential college building is a minute I dedicate to being a mentor and role model to all the residents within my community. It may seem tiring or tedious at times, but the reward gained from putting the time into this position is immeasurable.

I was lucky to be placed in a residential hall similar to the one that I resided in my freshman year, which provided me with a comprehensive understanding of what struggles freshmen living in suites may have. Residential Education, the office RAs “work” under, is a very inclusive and understanding environment. They allow everyone to develop their own style of leadership and interact with their residents in ways that best suits them. It is a nice feeling knowing that just by being myself, I am able to set an example and help someone through their first year of college.

Aside from impacting my residents on their journey through college, I personally learned a lot from the experience. My staff team consists of passionate individuals who dedicate so much of their time providing the best experience for their residents possible. Just by working alongside these people, I was given a platform to work with the best of the best, and to learn just by observing and sharing my thoughts. My staff team challenges me every day as we all grow together, constantly motivating each other to improve and remain passionate. We, together, go through the journey leading, not just by being a leader figure, but also by being a friend and peer.

One of the biggest programs I planned was the Asian American Artists’ Showcase. Featuring alumni and current USC artists, it was a multimedia art centered around the Asian-American identity and experience. Program planning for such a big event took more than half a month, but from the feedback, residents seemed very excited for the program – which is more than any RA can ask for. RAs try to hold programs that not only emphasize community building, but also are educational. Other programs that I have held with my fellow RAs  include Resume Building, bonding with Pug Nation, and Beach Volleyball.

Since having an amazing freshman year, I have wished to form that type of community and positivity for all incoming freshmen. College is a time to push pass one’s own boundaries, but more importantly, it is also about helping other people grow, inspiring and motivating people aside from the self, a time to pass on what one has learned to the future generations. There are many ways to be a leader at USC, being an RA was only one option. I hope that everyone can be a leader in some form at USC.

Featured image by Neon Tommy on Flickr

Sabrina is a sophomore studying Health and Human Sciences and minoring in Chinese for Professions and Managing Human Relations. Though born around the Bay Area, Sabrina moved to Shanghai, China at the age of 8 and has since then attended different international schools. She has 4 years of tutoring experience both in student organizations in her high school and outside of school. She was also a member of the National English Honor Society and took part in the Writing Center, which focused on editing student’s essays and helping student with their English classes. In her free time, Sabrina loves reading, hanging out with friends (exploring LA), and doing anything that makes her happy.