Back in February, I was really excited for this summer. I was going to study abroad in Ireland to take physics, travel, and explore. One of my friends and I were planning which countries to take weekend detours to and which tourist sites to see. When our program got cancelled, I was at first really disappointed- spending a summer studying abroad seemed like such a perfect opportunity because I would have gotten the abroad experience without having to miss a semester in Berkeley. However, what was initially disappointing news has turned into a really fun and relaxing summer. In this article, I’m going to talk about some of the ways I’ve made the most of my summer at home.
When my program was cancelled, I immediately enrolled in physics through Berkeley. I’ve enjoyed taking it over Zoom, and the staff has done a really good job at adapting to a virtual format. Every morning I Zoom into my discussion section, and then I watch the recorded lecture later in the day. Additionally, since I knew I would have extra time on my hands at home, I also decided to enroll in a class called Gender, Race, Nation, and Health. Given that I am premed, I have appreciated the opportunity to learn more about our healthcare system and health inequality in the United States. I’ve gotten to learn more about how social factors affect health and healthcare, and I am currently writing a research paper about how racial minorities were left disproportionately vulnerable to the coronavirus. The class is really interesting and relevant to what I am studying, and I’ve enjoyed learning about the non-science aspects of medicine.
In addition to classes, while at home, I’ve had lots of fun continuing with tours virtually (small plug to register for a virtual visit if you haven’t!). Virtual tours have been a fun way to stay connected to school, and I am very excited to give an in-person tour in the hopefully not too far future. While I miss campus a lot, I am glad that we get to do virtual visits via Zoom.
On another note, I recently moved to Florida (I’m originally from Connecticut). One of my best friends from home came down to quarantine with my family and me before summer classes started. We got to explore the area (safely), go for hikes, and find the best places locally to get take-out. Admittedly, we took the same route a lot for walks because it was the only one with shade, and as I am sure you can imagine, Florida is super hot around this time of the year.
Lastly, I have gotten to do some summer reading. My sister and I both read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and then binge-watched the show (both were fantastic!). I am also currently in a book club with a few of my friends in my sorority, and we are reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, which is also incredible.
While I would have loved to spend the summer in Ireland, I am glad that I have found lots of ways to keep myself busy and entertained this summer. As the end of summer is quickly approaching, I am getting excited to go back to Berkeley this month because I’ve missed it a lot.