Tag Archives: college

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.

5 Starbucks to drink to get you through your 8:00 AMS: As told by a Starbucks barista

  1. Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice

What it is: LOTS of espresso over ice, mixed with classic syrup , and topped with 2% milk.

Why we love it: The Doubleshot is a great way to get your caffeine fix while also staying cool in the Texas heat. It is an awesome mix of strong and sweet, just like us Longhorns.

How to make it your own: The Doubleshot is one of the most easy to customize drinks on the Starbucks menu! You can substitute any syrup on the menu (caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, sugar-free cinnamon dolce, etc.) for the classic syrup or ask for no syrup at all. You can also swap out the 2% for a variety of kinds of milk (almond, whole, heavy cream, etc.).

Barista tip: Try adding vanilla bean powder for a bit of added sweetness and texture!

2. Chai Tea Latte

What it is: Black tea infused with an element of spice, a hint of water, and 2% milk.

Why we love it: The Chai tea latte is the perfect way for tea lovers to get a kick of caffeine. It is also a great combination of spicy and sweet.

How to make it your own: Chai tea lattes can come hot or iced. Plus, you can switch the standard 2% milk for any milk (coconut, soy, breve, and so on). If you are in the mood for a richer drink, you can request no water and all milk for the hot version of the chai tea latte (the iced version automatically comes with no water added).

Barista tip: Try adding vanilla syrup (regular or sugar-free) to make your tea, and day, a little sweeter.

3. Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino®

What it is: Whole milk, vanilla bean powder, ice, and coffee blended together and topped with whipped cream.

Why we love it: Between the coffee and the sugar in this drink, it’s sure to give you an energy boost to help you make it through any study session. It’s also the perfect treat to congratulate yourself with for a job well done or just for going to all your classes that day.

How to make it your own: The whole milk in frappuccinos can easily be swapped out for a different type. You can also add java chips or hazelnut syrup to create a more complex and unique flavor.

Barista tip: Add an affogato shot (a shot of espresso poured over the whipped cream and Frappuccino) for some extra caffeine and a stronger taste.

4. Guava Passionfruit Drink

What it is: Coconut milk, a guava juice blend, and pineapple-ginger syrup shaken over ice. 

Why we love it: This is the perfect summer drink. It’s fruity, bright, sweet, and most importantly cold. Plus, the vibrant pink color of the Guava Passionfruit Drink makes it a great addition to anyones Instagram.   

How to make it your own: The coconut milk in this drink can be swapped for any other milk on the menu. If you’re not a guava fan, you can also ask to substitute a peach juice blend in place of the guava. Plus, depending on how much on a sweet tooth you have, the number of pumps of pineapple-ginger syrup is completely customizable. 

Barista tip: Try getting the Guava Passionfruit Drink blended with creme base for a delicious slushie-like version. 

5. Cold Brew with Dark Cocoa Almondmilk Foam 

What it is: Cold brew (brewed for 20 hours), ice, and a topping of almond milk blended with mocha syrup and cocoa powder. 

Why we love it: This is the drink you have been waiting for, dairy-intolerant folks! There is just almondmilk in this delicious drink. The strength of the cold brew mixed with the sweetness of the chocolate foam makes a yummy and low-calorie (only 40 calories in a grande) treat. 

How to make it your own: Even though “almondmilk” is in the name of the drink, you can still swap it out for any other milk. If you’re a chocolate-lover, you can ask for pumps of the mocha syrup in the cold brew as well as in the foam. 

Tips for Creating a Work Environment at Home

Classes at UT Austin are back in session, but unlike ever before they are commencing amidst a global pandemic. For many students, this means a semester full of uncertainty and adaptation especially when it comes to classes. Students are spending more time at home then ever before and the adjustment can be challenging. 

In the comfort of your own bed, you can attend lectures, talk with your professor and even take a test. It sounds like a dream come true, but in reality students are struggling to find a routine, become productive and manage their mental health. It is easy for your home to become a place of stress and responsibility instead of relaxation and nourishment. 

Regardless of if you are living in a small West Campus apartment, or a large family home, creating a work environment where you live is essential for success this semester. Here are some ways to create a space that promotes productivity, encourages rest and allows for growth and learning. 

  1. Finding your Space

Privacy is a luxury when it comes to staying home and it can be really hard to focus with families and roommates all around. When picking a place to work here is what to consider.

Assess the environment in which you like to learn. Do you like a lot of noise, some sounds, or no sound at all? If you like peace and quiet it might be best to pick a bedroom or a closet, but if you like a lot of sound and movement pick the living room or a kitchen island.

 It’s also important to note that having more than one study space is a great way to break the monotony of online school. Try separating certain tasks into certain settings. For example, when you attend class and want a quiet setting move to a small bedroom or maybe even a patio or backyard, but don’t be afraid to sit in the living room with other roommates while filling out your planner or copying notes from a powerpoint slide. 

  1. Setting up your Space

Truthfully, the way you decorate and organize your desk can be more important than its location. A cluttered desk often reflects in the quality of your study time and work. Similarly, the more organized and personalized your desk is the more likely you are to have a productive and motivated study session. 

The best way to avoid a cluttered desk is to not keep too many things on your desk. A storage organizer for your notebooks, pens, pencils and folders will help to contain the clutter. The more blank space you leave on your desk, the more room you have to spread out your study materials 

Secondly, it is important to make your desk a welcoming environment. Not only does a personalized space encourage you to study, it can also make studying more comfortable. Here are some ideas on how to personalize your desk:

  • Add pictures of your friends and family
  • Switch out your LED lamp for a warm-lit salt lamp or Christmas lights
  • Add a fuzzy blanket or pillow to your desk chair
  • Brighten your desk with a plant or greenery
  • Place a vision board above your desk
  • Add small knick-knacks or fidget toys to your desk
  • Add a candle or a small essential oil diffuser
  • Get a small weekly or monthly desk calendar

Dream with me: the day harry styles invented sleeping

 Via @AngiTaylorKISS

When I got to college, I noticed that you were either in tune with your mental health or you weren’t. With the mixture of new classes, a new campus and a completely new city while also not knowing anyone, life gets stressful. I quickly learned that keeping up with my mental health would be the best thing for me. I’m sure some of my college friends can agree. 

Throughout my first two years on campus and since the beginning of quarantine, I’ve been hearing a lot about the Calm app but I’ve never been one to believe in meditation or sleep tactics. What was the final push I needed to give it a try? Harry Styles. The Calm team decided it was a good idea to partner with the singer to create a bedtime story for their sleep category and I couldn’t agree with them more. 

Now, let me explain myself before the inevitable judgement begins. I’ve been a fan of Harry Styles ever since the very beginning so when I found out he was going to narrate a bedtime story for Calm, I was definitely not calm. His music is already therapy in itself so I couldn’t even imagine what a bedtime story would do.

    Via @nypost

The audio was released July 8th and I was frantically refreshing the page until it was available. I’m an honest woman so I would be lying if I told you I didn’t laugh at first when listening to the first few words in this ASMR-style bedtime story titled “Dream with Me.” It was a lot to take in. I just couldn’t picture Harry Styles sitting down, leaning into a mic and whisper-talking into it. Picture that. You can’t. For those of you who haven’t given it a listen, Harry takes you on a journey through multiple landscapes while describing the scene with his too-good British accent. From the stars to the valleys, you’ll go on a world tour in just 30 minutes. 

That night, I had actually wanted to get a good night sleep and was hoping this would help. Maybe even ditch the melatonin sitting on my bedside table. My sleep schedule has been completely thrown off guard, as I’m sure most of you can relate to. Now, I couldn’t tell you what he was saying or what the story was about but all I know is that whatever they did, it worked. I was out like a light within what felt like a few minutes. The half-an-hour mixture of ambient sounds paired with his slow, soothing voice allowed me to drift off into the best sleep I’ve had in weeks. I don’t want to say too much to where I spoil it for you but I obviously recommend listening. 

On another note, the audio has become somewhat of a meme on Twitter. Because of Harry’s accent, some of the words he pronounces just sound odd but in the best way possible. I’ll let you watch for yourself.

Harry isn’t the only celebrity that you can have read you to sleep. Our very own Matthew McConaughey has also narrated a bedtime story for those who would like to feel alright, alright alright. The Calm app also has several other advantages besides having celebrities narrate bedtime stories. Under the meditation tab, there’s a ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ that I have been trying out to help meditate and clear my mind and I am honestly very surprised at how well my mind and body relax to it. If you were like me and didn’t believe it could help you, give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There are also specific categories you can pick to help guide your meditation. Besides that, you can take a look at the library of calming music they have. They have plenty of lo-fi beats for you to study to if you’re into that. 

You can get a subscription to the app here: https://www.calm.com

Happy listening!

The Stuck-at-home playlist

Here we are. Four months into quarantine and so much has happened. We’ve been witness to one of the biggest civil rights movements to date. We have seen celebrity breakups and tragic paparazzi photos (Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello…I’m looking at you.) But, we have also learned a lot about each other. Through the power of social media, especially Tik Tok, it’s as if we are going through this pandemic as a community consisting of Gen Z and millennials. 

Music has definitely been an outlet for most people these days. With the rise of Tik Tok, lots of undiscovered artists are being…well, discovered. With summer in full swing, I took it upon myself to share some music I’ve enjoyed since March. When it comes to making a playlist, I find myself trying to justify each song and why they belong there. This time, I’ll group a few songs together to save you some time. You’re welcome.

Songs I’ve Stolen From Tik Tok

Frank Ocean is finally getting the recognition he deserves. I urge you to check out all of his music if you haven’t already. Now, let me blow your mind. When I found out that Djo was actually a stage name for Joe Keery, I basically ran to Apple Music to listen and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. — tighten this up (shorten) if you can

Chateau (Feel Alright) -Djo

Roddy -Djo

Peach Trees -Ax and the Hatchetman 

In My Room -Frank Ocean

Lost- Frank Ocean

Songs To Get You Moving During Quarantine 

Quarantine has forced most of us to slow down and, as a result, sit down. I’ve seen so many tips and routines on social media for working out– but a killer workout playlist is an obvious must. Here are a few of my favorite songs to workout to while contemplating what type of bread I’ll bake later:

E.T. -Katy Perry ft. Kanye West

Savage Remix -Megan Thee Stallion ft Beyonce

After Party -Don Toliver

Tokyo Drifting -Glass Animals & Denzel Curry

Songs From Some of My Favorite Black Artists

#BlackVoicesMatter, always. 

Sober -Childish Gambino (one of my favorite beat drops literally ever)

Anything from Kid Cudi!

Blinding My Vision -K. Roosevelt

Time Machine -Willow Smith

American Boyfriend -Kevin Abstract 

Shea Butter Baby -Ari Lennox & J. Cole

Ex -Kiana Ledé

Songs For The Vibes

I firmly believe everyone needs a vibe playlist. Yeah, you can call me basic but when you think about it, every person’s vibe playlist is different. So here’s my challenge for you: start making your vibe playlist that fits your unique taste and personality. Once quarantine is over and we are able to see our friends, share your playlist with them. It’s a fun way to discover new music and get to know your friends a little better.

suburban wonderland -BETWEEN FRIENDS

All of their music is top notch. No skips. 

A Kiss -The Driver Era

Fun fact: Ross Lynch is half of the duo that is The Driver Era. I’ll let that sink in. 

Games -Lennon Stella

Her voice was 100% sent from God. 

Moral of the Story -Ashe ft Niall Horan

That 1D stan forever part of me will support Niall no matter what but this song? A banger. A sad one, but a banger nonetheless. 

Remedy -Surfaces

Summertime -Verzache

Beige -Yoke Lore

Mind Games -Verzache

Your Love (Deja Vu) -Glass Animals

newly released! So good that it’s criminal!

Songs From a Few of My All-Time Favorite Artists

If I had to choose a few artists that I go to when I feel like all odds are against me, Harry Styles and Mac Miller are at the top of the list. These are some songs that remind me there will be better days, best listened to at the highest of volume:

Best Day Ever -Mac Miller

Fine Line -Harry Styles

I’m Full -Wallows

Thanks for sticking with me. Let us know if you take a listen!