By: Logan D Clark and Alex Willis
After a couple of weeks of online learning, you may find you’re having trouble staying focused or running out of things to do in your free time. We at Knights Media Network reached out to our fellow Knights to see how they were managing.
Senior design, art, technology and digital art double major Bailey Wiegandt said scheduling her days in advance has helped her stay accountable in making sure she accomplishes all her classwork. Making the best of a bad situation, she reorganized her room so that she has “a nice space to work from.”
Wiegandt said because her athletic season is over she’s had to adjust her exercise routine. “I’ve been trying to stay active and do workouts at home,” she said.
Dr. Pat Carver, a professor in the Rubel School of Business, said: “I am not surprised by how well my students have adjusted to their new normal. Most all of them have stepped up to the new challenge.”
Carver said the students who were having trouble reached out for help and she was impressed with their responsiveness.
“I care deeply for them and their learning outcomes and hope that they are all doing well,” Carver said.
From a faculty standpoint, Carver said her colleagues have been very helpful to one another and the faculty development center exceeded her expectations. She said, “Kudos to all of them, library services, and information technology.”
Carver said with the YMCA being closed, her workout routine has suffered. “I’ve eaten more comfort food in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years,” she said. “I call this ‘giving myself a break.’”
Having family in both Seattle and New York City, Carver said: “My family and close friends have become so much more important to me. I’m staying in touch to ensure they’re okay.”
Caitlin Ritsch, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major, said making a to-do list and having something to check off has worked best for her. To stay busy, she plays with her dogs outside and writes in her journal. “The pharmacy I work in is still open, so that keeps me busy, too,” she said.
With the gyms being closed, it seems many are finding alternatives to their normal workout routines. Biology professor Mark Kaelin said he normally goes to Derby City Crossfit. “They are providing us with home programming that is keeping me sane and healthy,” Kaelin said. “I am using my time at home to construct online content that is engaging and challenging.”
Online learning definitely has its downfalls. Junior nursing major Alexis Hulsey said, “Online learning feels like so much busy work, and I hate the discussion boards. Podcasts aren’t that bad, though.” For fun, Hulsey said she is learning TikTok dances and enjoying the outdoors.
To keep from worrying about submitting online coursework, freshman communication major Maddie Mumford said: “I try and get all my online work done as soon as I can so I don’t worry about it all day. I try not to procrastinate.”
Communications professor Dr. Shawn Apostel is having to adjust his course curriculum because many of the programs he uses aren’t available to students outside of campus. “We are using even more open source and free software to create our assignments. I’m also using Moodle Chat during class time for students who want to ask questions or just interact with me and other students,” he said.
Apostel said he is keeping busy at home. “I have two daughters learning from home, so they keep me pretty busy. I enjoy cooking dinner with my wife. I’m also starting my container garden on the front porch,” he said.
Freshman nursing major Hannah Brown said: “I will admit I was very stressed out at first, but so far classes have gone smoothly with the help of my professors staying in contact with me. As much as I would love to be at school with my classmates, it is nice having my own space at home and getting to complete things at my own pace and time.”
To keep busy, Brown tries to go for a run and workout once a day, watch Netflix and FaceTime her friends from school.
To manage stress, senior biochemistry and molecular biology major McKinzie Sprague said she and roommates color and listen to music. “We have also been working out together daily in our living room and walking to the grocery instead of driving if we are only picking up a few things,” Sprague said.
For adjunct business law professor Jarrad Roby working at home means working not only as a professor but also as a full-time federal agent. Making the best of the situation, Roby said, “I’m getting some much-needed items done that I typically struggle to find time for. This time at home has afforded me a unique opportunity to really dig into the details in ways that I normally cannot.”
Roby said online course delivery comes fairly easy to him because he has taught online courses at Bellarmine in the past. “Like the full-time position, I am looking for ways to deliver in a fashion that is convenient for the students but also rewarding. In this time of isolation, I am also working on student engagement as it is critical for overall health of students and instructors,” he said.
Like a majority of people, the situational change has affected Roby’s workout routine as well. “I am attempting to embrace the things I typically avoid. Running, boxing, and body-weight movements have taken the place of bars and plates,” he said.
It is important in this time of social distancing to maintain good health not only physically, but mentally. Bellarmine’s Counseling Center is still open to offer services to students who need them. While appointments may not be face-to-face, counselors offer many online services to help students who are struggling to cope during this time.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has many recommendations on how to relieve stress on its website (www.cdc.gov). The CDC website said: “Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.”
As many students are already doing, the CDC recommends self-care. “Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs,” the website said.
The CDC also suggests continuing to reach out to friends and family through social media or through the phone. “Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling,” according to the website.
For more coping techniques and information about COVID-19, visit the CDC website for more information: