Category Archives: ATX / UT

10 Tips to not go insane during zoom university

As fall rolls in and schools all across America open their virtual doors to students, frustration and uncertainty begin to set in. Going from an in-person learning environment where the teacher is five feet away to answer questions, to the isolation of virtual learning is physically draining and emotionally exhausting. Staying on task is a challenge in itself with the dog barking in the background, or mom walking in the room to ask a question while the professor struggles to figure out how to unmute themself.

Online classes are overwhelming at best, and panic-inducing at worse. So, as we all struggle to enter the correct zoom codes by the time class starts or figure out what’s due tomorrow, here are some tips to help get you through the insanity of Zoom University.

Illustration by Serena Rodriguez

1. Put Yourself on a Sleep Schedule

With most classes online for the fall semester, professors have given up on attendance policies and resorted to recording lectures to be viewed at any time. While the course usually isn’t self-paced, there’s not always a requirement to wake up on time for that 8 a.m. This could definitely lead to thinking ‘why not just sleep till noon?’ — It’s tempting, definitely, but keeping your body on a schedule will help you in the long run. Not only will your internal clock thank you, but you’ll spend more days waking up refreshed than groggy and ready to go back to bed.

2. Separate Your Work Area from Your Sleep Area

The mind is capable of a lot, but if you’re constantly curled up under your covers in bed while flipping through powerpoints and taking notes, it’s not going to be able to differentiate sleep time from work time. This could have a major effect on your sleeping patterns, especially if the place you’re supposed to be sleeping becomes a source of stress instead of relaxation. Work at the kitchen table instead, or at a desk, to help keep the spaces separate and the mindsets in each space separate too.

3. Make Time to go Outside

While it might seem pretty cool at first to not have to go out and do things, it can also be detrimental to your physical health. The sun provides natural vitamin D, and even if you can’t be out partying with friends all the time anymore, you should still make time to go for a walk or even just sit outside for a bit. If nothing else you could always sit at a Starbucks patio and do some homework (or scroll through tiktok, whatever keeps you out in the sunshine for a little longer).

4. Plan at Least One Full Week at a Time

While classes seem less organized this semester as everyone struggles to get a handle on online learning, it’s important to do your best to plan ahead. I personally always try to plan two weeks out in order to make sure I’m keeping up with assignments, but planning a weekly schedule is probably the perfect time frame. Make a note of all the important due dates that week, when to do those more passive assignments like readings, and try to think about how much time you’re willing to spend on school work each day. Block out a specific amount of time instead of going back and forth with the work all day to continue to help differentiate relaxation from work.

5. Do Your Chores

Sitting around the house all day without having to worry about looking decent can make chores like laundry seem daunting and unnecessary. Make time for this stuff too. Don’t let the dishes get out of hand or the clothes take over the floor. Cleaner environments can actually reduce anxiety and depression levels, while being cooped up all day could definitely exacerbate those problems, so do what you can to help keep your environment looking good — your brain will thank you.

6. Make Time for Friends

Whether it’s a Zoom party, a socially distant coffee date, or a day at the park, make time for the people you care about. Isolation has a lot of negative effects on human health, and while it might seem harder to spend time with people, be sure to put in the effort to get in some quality time with them. The serotonin will start pumping again, I promise, and it will be a nice break from all the extra online schoolwork.

7. Use GroupMe (Or Some Other Alternative)

Now more than ever it’s important to create spaces to contact your classmates. It’s not like you can reach over and tap someone to ask for their number, so the best thing to do is to talk to the professor about getting a GroupMe link sent out to the class so you can have a one-stop-shop to talk due dates, get some help in the class, or even just complain to someone who understands the struggle.

8. Don’t Slack on Hygiene

Just like you need to clean your house, you need to clean your body. Just because nobody is around to smell your bad breath doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush your teeth. Sometimes, when there’s not a daily structure that in-person classes provide, things like hygiene can be  forgotten. It’s important to remind yourself to keep up with the things you would normally do. A nice shower is the perfect getaway from all things Zoom University, and will  leave you feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the day may bring.

9. Organize Your School Space

Since you’re separating your sleep and workspaces, make sure you take the time to organize that workspace. Having papers everywhere and pens sprawled across the area can lead to confusion and frustration, and sometimes when things get too messy it can make you feel like giving up. Don’t let your school space get disorganized, instead follow some tips from a fellow BurntX writer to help keep your space organized.

10. Actually Go To Class

Okay, so it’s not mandatory. Attendance policies are a thing of the past and all the lectures are recorded for whenever you want to watch them, so, why even bother? Getting that live zoom lecture is the closest to an in-person feel you’re going to get. You can ask questions in real time and talk about points you need clarified up front. Beyond that, you can meet classmates and use breakout rooms to your advantage to get names and numbers of people who can help you get through the course. As much as I’m sure we all wish it was, this is not a semester off from hard work. So whether it’s an 8 a.m. or an 8 p.m., make sure you’re logged into zoom and ready to participate for the majority of the semester.

10 Things to Look Forward to When We Return to the Forty Acres

Being away from campus can be hard. For those missing Austin, here are 10 things to look forward to in the Fall, complete with memes generated by the wonderful UT Austin online community.

  1. Getting to see the one and only Domino

Domino is a fixture on campus and loved by many. In our absence, he has been spotted patrolling campus and scaring away pesky squirrels (except for the lucky albino ones of course).

  1. Our many rivalries.

No matter the season, or the current viral threat, our rivalries can transcend any obstacle, even COVID-19.

  1. Construction!

Austin construction has been around since pretty much forever and isn’t going away any time soon. Hopefully, some time away from campus will make the constant rerouting worth the while.

  1. Flocks of electric scooters.

That’s right folks, with humans trapped inside, nature has returned to its former glory. You’ll have plenty of time thanks to your web-based classes to do a little “Bird”-watching and maybe get hit by one or two scooter on Speedway if you’re just that lucky.

  1. Taking graduation photos!

Anyone who goes to UT hopes to one day get that picturesque photo in Littlefield Fountain. A little ‘Rona just adds more flavor to your photos. When you look back on them many years down the line, there will be no denying, you were definitely a proud 2020 graduate.

  1. Some calming moments with our campus’ most loved reptiles.

That’s right, some turtle live over 80 years. These guys aren’t going anywhere and have only gotten more apathetic and adorable since the last time you saw them in March.

  1. A lecture hall or library, or two, if you’re lucky!

There’s nothing I look forward to more than a good old time in one of the university’s top-notch libraries and lecture halls. I’ll hopefully be seeing all of y’all at some point on the 5th floor of the PCL at 2 am.

  1. The beautiful sound of a monthly emergency notification system siren test.

No, that’s not a tornado siren or some indie Austin band’s new music, just the beautiful sound of our university keeping us safe and maybe destroying our eardrums.

  1. Spending all your money on ACL.

Although ACL is canceled this year, don’t worry, come the Spring you’ll get your chance to empty your pockets in hopes of enjoying 3 glorious days in the hot sun with all your favorite Californians surviving off of a single granola bar and good music.

  1. Finally quenching you caffeine-addiction.

Say goodbye to your dad’s Folger’s and hello to your favorite locally-owned and operated venues. That’s right, for just $7 you can have a delicious, double shot of freshly ground 100% vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO espresso.

The Eyes of Black Students Are Upon You

Amid this revolutionary movement occurring around the world, it is going to take a lot more than statements and videos to show that Black Lives Matter. 

On Memorial Day George Floyd, an African American man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. In the wake of Floyd’s death, celebrities, politicians, companies, and institutions rushed to get out their statements supporting the fight against racism. I was looking for one in particular; from our beloved, The University of Texas at Austin.

On May 30, the UT Austin Twitter account quoted a tweet from the Big 12 account saying “We stand with our Big 12 schools against all acts of racism and violence.”

“We say, “what starts here changes the world,” UT Interim President Jay Hartzell said. “Those starts don’t just happen. They are the results of actions – large and small, as individuals and in teams.”

To no surprise, black students, including myself, were not having it. Yes, the interim president said change comes from action, but we have yet to see UT do anything more than put out a well-crafted statement.

They say they are against racism but have buildings named after racist men who had ties to the confederacy.

They say they are against racism, but the school song, “The Eyes of Texas”, has racist origins. First performed by John Sinclair, who was a member of the Varsity Minstrel Show, in 1903. These shows were full of derogatory images of Black people aimed to make fun of them.

UT is not an activist, it is a performance activist. They’re saying, but they’re not doing.

I find it hard to believe you mean these words when there are instances that say otherwise.

Black students find it hard to feel they belong on UT’s campus. When I walk into a classroom and see more than two black people I am surprised. I’m going to be a senior next semester, and I have had one black professor for a class that centered around the African American community.

UT is a great school, but in this fight against racism, it’s simply not doing enough. Black students need more. We need true action.

Previously, the UTPD, who has been accused of targeting Black people in the past, made a deal with students: report an incident and get a free pizza. Presenting a risk of false reports on Black people. 

When given the opportunity to show support for the protests, instead of attending one of the public downtown protests. UTPD made what felt like a propaganda video of students and law enforcement walking around campus. 

If UT is truly against racism, prove it to me. Prove it to the black students, who desperately wish they could call this campus a safe place.

Black Lives Matter is not a trend. It is a continuous fight that has only just begun. Your work is not finished because you wrote three paragraphs and posted it on Twitter. Black students will be watching UT next semester and if very little is done, it will speak volumes — more than any statement of solidarity sent out in a mass email.

Donate to Black Lives Matter organizations around Austin.

Educate your white students on the racist history of the campus, and how to use their privilege to amplify the voices of the less privileged.

If the Student Activity Center and the College of Liberal Arts buildings can be renamed, then surely the same can be done to T.S. Painter Hall and Robert Lee Moore Hall.

Enough saying, more doing. Then I will start to believe that Black Lives Matter at UT Austin.

UT PETITION: http://chng.it/b97h6pwb

Ruckify: A Forward Thinking Community

Sponsored Content

Ruckify is an idea whose time has come! Own less and do more. It comes down to this: if you own something useful or fun, you can make some money loaning it out. If you want to accomplish something that requires a tool or you want to have an experience that requires a valuable machine then Ruckify is your resource. The sharing economy is the economy of the future.

People love experiences and prioritize action over ownership. Consider this; do you want to dive into nature and kayak around Ladybird Lake? Or do you want to go to a store and purchase a kayak you have to store, clean, and use once in a while?

The world is changing and the way the economy works is up to us. Sharing simply makes sense. And while social distancing protocols are in effect we can still have a community. You can help people and make money at the same time by listing your rentable asset on Ruckify. If you want to get out in the world but are avoiding crowds, then Ruckify can give you a lot, like a tool to complete a project or a watercraft that can get you out in the open to enjoy nature.

Austin is the perfect place for the Ruckify ethos. People here love to get out into the world, try new things, and become great at what they do. With a metro area over 1 million people we’re urban yet we have access to space—parks, rivers, lakes, hill country. You can still make the most of it and Ruckify has opportunities.

Crisis has us all shifting the way we work, live and have fun. But people are responsive, creative and figure out how to adapt. If you find yourself with more time on your hands, try out some new hobbies, creative outlets, or physical activities that can keep you motivated to build your life as best you can. Join Ruckify and you’ll have an ever-growing array of options.

The Ruckify community is smart. And people get stronger by being in this community together. Transactions happen through the website and owners can develop smart procedures for getting their assets into the hands of renters including using the Ruckify Express touchless delivery service. People in the community also share sensible cleaning policies that show respect to all parties. The people of Ruckify, from members to employees, make it what it is.

When times are tough we all dig a little deeper to find ways to make ends meet. Ruckify is a great option. It can be as simple as a pressure washer. If you own one, list it. Someone will give you a reasonable sum of money and make use of it while you’re not using it.

So, if you need to fill some gaps financially, list your assets, share them and get a bump to your bank account. Depending on your situation, Ruckify can even be the side hustle that gives you a new and much-needed revenue stream. Look at what you own and think about how you can share. It’s a win-win scenario.

The good of the community is what Ruckify is all about. This includes caring for our environment. We know we need to be conscious of our impact and the sharing economy is an essential aspect of a livable future. To learn more about the impact the Ruckify community is having check them out on Instagram and Twitter or read the Ruckify blog.

Share more and do more while owning less. Sign up for a Ruckify account and download the app. Live well no matter what life throws at you!