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SC&I Graphic Design Intern Sebastian Lijo ‘22: Be Optimistic, Empathetic, and Practice Proper Social-Distancing
A day in the life: Sebastian Lijo ’22, a Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts sophomore and SC&I intern describes how his life has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SC&I Graphic Design Intern Sebastian Lijo ‘22: Be Optimistic, Empathetic, and Practice Proper Social-Distancing

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the Rutgers community, a microcosm of what the world is going through currently. Even further narrowed down, the effects of the pandemic have greatly changed my day-to-day as a sophomore, who also happens to commute to campus.

As a student at the Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, as well as a graphic design intern at SC&I, my schedule was rather busy. Before the declared quarantine, I would spend a majority of my day away from home, leaving in the morning, only to come back in the late afternoon after my family had already eaten dinner. Needless to say, I was excited at the thought of spring break and being able to rest and enjoy time with friends who I don’t normally see. However, the nationwide demand to stay at home forced a change in my plans by quite a bit. As a homebody, being made to stay home wasn’t as initially difficult as it might have been for some of my more extroverted peers, but the restriction does begin to take its toll on everyone.

Remote learning has been especially troublesome for many students and faculty members. Whether it be figuring out how to adapt a curriculum to conform to online services, finding access to necessary Wi-Fi or certain applications, or simply getting used to the change of only working from home, there are hurdles for everyone. Luckily, my schedule has remained intact, so I still “attend” class for the same hours and “go to work” when I am scheduled to. A fortunate aspect of this quarantine is that I get to sleep in a little longer now that I don’t have to worry about driving over to campus and deal with parking and the bus commute to class.

As a Design major, a decent amount of my work is already done on the computer, so I was long accustomed to sitting at my desk for long periods of time. However, that doesn’t mean the loss of in-person interaction with my professor and peers isn’t missed or vital to my education. Alongside the design courses I take are studio classes that sometimes require working spaces unique to MGSA, one of which being printmaking. The working space and equipment needed for that course are attached to that building so my teacher has had to completely reimagine the way in which we are finishing the semester. Although a bit sad that I won’t get to continue the same form of work, I’m nonetheless excited at the upcoming assignments, it truly is a creative challenge that will benefit me going forward. 

Outside of some of the academic changes that COVID-19 has brought about, there have been some daily-life changes as well. I’m dedicating the extra time that I have to a couple of different things. Firstly, is my art practice, I’m able to commit more time to sitting outside, in the now nicer weather, and spend time drawing. Secondly, I’m able to spend more time learning Spanish and conversing with my parents, who second as practice buddies. This has been a goal of mine for some time, so I figured I’d take advantage of the opportunity.

And as for keeping up with those friends that I had planned to see during break and those I’ve made in school, there’s no shortage of ways to communicate with the access that the internet allows. I always try to put away some time for a Facetime call for those I want to talk with, that way there is still some aspect of “face-to-face” in our chatting.

I think it couldn’t be more important currently than to remember to stay as optimistic as possible. These times are tremendously confusing and new to all of us, yet I still believe that there are ways to operate in which we can still pull the most out of our days. And more than ever, it is time to practice empathy and proper social-distancing. 

Condolences to those across the world who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

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