Photo Series: Quarantine edition, student study spots


Photo provided by Fiona Ness.

Sam Stroozas, Executive Editor

When the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse moved classes online on March 16, many buildings that students found comfort studying at closed for the remainder of the semester. Popular study spots such as the entertainment cafe in the Student Union, the basement of Murphy Library, and study rooms in Centennial Hall are now left unoccupied.

Students had to adapt their study habits and mindset to fit with the current times. For many, this means studying in their childhood bedroom, kitchen tables and spread out on twin-sized beds. We talked to seven UWL students who shared how they have adapted their study habits after either moving home, or remaining in La Crosse but practicing social distancing and only studying in their rented apartments or houses.

Junior, Fiona Ness: Women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major and political science and environmental studies double minor

Fiona Ness has moved back to Anoka, MN and is currently using her mom’s desk in her office.

She said that COVID-19 has “drastically” changed her study routine. “I enjoyed studying around campus or right outside of campus, usually in spaces around other folks who are being productive. Now I have to stay in my house and motivate myself,” Ness said.

Ness’ first step to prioritizing her mental health was to take a leave of absence from her place of employment, Home Depot. “After a lot of thinking and talking with numerous people, I had the privilege of being financially stable enough to make that decision,” she said.

Ness recently painted her room which gave her a “relaxing” place to enjoy after homework. She encouraged students to reach out to professors and take time for themselves.

“Every day is different and unknown but I am learning more and more about my needs and how to best take care of myself. As cliché as it sounds, we truly are all in this together,” Ness said.

Junior, Hannah Weiss: Biology major and nutrition minor

Hannah Weiss decided to move back to her hometown temporarily after UWL went online. She is now studying primarily in her bedroom, but her favorite study spot was in her apartment or at the Student Union.

She said that COVID-19 has “greatly impacted” her study routine. “It’s pretty hard to find an area where I can focus but I am also comfortable. I also find it hard to get stuff done when I am around my family, even in separate areas of the house,” said Weiss.

She has been trying to stick to her normal routine as much as possible to provide a sense of “normalcy.” Weiss said, “I give myself breaks, or go for walks outside, or do something other than schoolwork like baking or Facetiming friends.”

She feels like classes have been harder since the online transition, and has been spending more time on homework now than she usually does.

Junior, Julie Ann Carmona: English education major and English literature minor

Julie Ann Carmona has been studying in her room at her desk most days. She said sometimes she switches up her studying area, but that this has all changed because of COVID-19. Before campus closed, Carmona often studied in the COVE, Murphy Library, and Global Grounds.

Carmona said she has had to schedule out her time to accommodate the switch to online classes. “My work has more than doubled in all of my classes. I am currently taking five classes, four of them being English classes. In the last few weeks, I have developed certain days and times of doing classes, and I spend most of my days doing the readings and classwork to keep up with the demand.”

Carmona only works on school work at night on Saturdays and Sundays to give herself a break.

When the pandemic first began, she made a list of goals that she wanted to achieve in the extended amount of time inside. These goals have consisted of things such as doing yoga, to learning how to make bread.

Carmona said, “Setting these goals, in the beginning, has helped me stay focused on working toward something that betters myself.”

Senior, Kristin Foglestad: Communication studies major and creative writing and digital media and design studies double minor 

Kristin Foglestad said that she is now studying at her dining room table in her hometown of Evansville, WI. and that many of her classes have group projects and her biggest issue is figuring out presentation elements and the rest of the process.

“One class had no choice but to eliminate the group project. But the other two have introduced video chat and video production elements and they have adjusted their projects around that. So, I have to learn how to use video chat programs and keep up with the projects,” she said.

Foglestad feels like taking time for mental health check-ins has been difficult. She tries to take her dogs for walks and has a list for movies and TV shows that she has been working through.

For Foglestad’s communication studies major, it has been difficult to adapt classes that traditionally have a social aspect worked into them.

“So far, my professors have done an excellent job working around these issues. I miss campus and the opportunities I could have had in these classes, but I know it is for the best and I look forward to being back on campus in the future,” she said.

Senior, Merissa Larson: Nuclear medicine major 

Merissa Larson was recently interning at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield, WI. However, when UWL went online, all students were removed from their hospital internships. She said since then, she has been learning in an online formation from her parent’s kitchen table.

Larson said that COVID-19 has had a “huge” impact on her study routine. “Since my internship is a year long, our classes were completed at the beginning of March. Therefore, the other interns and I were just getting started on our five day rotations on the floor working with patients, when we were sent home to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Larson has adjusted to video chats and online work to mimic this learning but says it is not the same as starting IV’s and scanning patients.  To be productive, she has a weekly routine that includes working her part-time job from home, making lunch, working out, making dinner with her family, taking walks, and using a bullet journal.

For her, the hardest part of everything is the “unknown.” She said, “There are so many unanswered questions about the future and how COVID-19 is going to impact my graduations, family weddings, future career opportunities, the healthcare industry and the economy. I look forward to getting back to reality.”

Freshman, Sara Hafften: Communication studies major and photography and digital media and design studies double minor

Sara Hafften is currently studying at her desk in her room and has resembled in her room at home to look like her dorm room. She shared that COVID-19 has “definitely” impacted her study routine, and revealed to her that she needs to improve her time management skills.

To take care of her mental health she takes hikes, does photography or graphic design. Hafften said, “Even though none of us signed up to be in this situation., I hope that we can still grow through it and possibly strengthen our relationships with others as well as ourselves.”

Senior, Beau Haugen: Philosophy and English double major

Beau Haugen is still studying at his house in La Crosse. He said that not much has changed for him besides not being able to study at Murphy Library, but the hardest part for him has been finding clear blocks of time to study.

“It has turned into ‘morning’ or ‘afternoon’ whereas, before COVID, it would be ’11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.’ or ‘8 a.m. to 9 a.m.,’ usually before class or during breaks,” he said. Haugen tries to make sure that he goes outside at least once a day and he tries to go to bed and wake up around the same time.

Haugen suggests to students that they “start or deepen” meditation practices. “We are spending more time with our mind than usual and this is a great practice to understand what is going on and to alleviate stress in these difficult times,” he said.

Specifically, he said ‘Waking Up‘ by Sam Harris is a meditation app he likes to use. He shared the link for a free 30-day trial, and if you cannot afford the full year you can email the company and they will offer you a free subscription.