Q&A with Hamy Huynh
Major: Strategic Communication
Minor: Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
Year in school: Spring 2020 graduate
How did your classes change to accommodate distance learning and other needs? What do you miss about being on campus?
To accommodate distance learning, my classes offered the option to change A-F grading to S/N, and many of my professors or instructors utilized Canvas to post weekly lectures and discussions where my classmates and I could still interact. While that is the case, I really miss being in the classroom setting and brainstorming big ideas with my classmates. I also miss participating in student group activities in Coffman Memorial Student Union every Friday night. I wish we could’ve said our proper goodbyes.
What are some ways your instructors, advisors, peers, and/or others at the U have supported and encouraged you during this time?
I would like to thank Mark Jenson and Amelia Reigstad, two of my instructors from the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. They’ve supported me through this time by providing me with online resources to further my career, such as online webinars and articles about building a personal portfolio. I would also like to thank Scott Meyer and Jennifer Johnson who lead Backpack, the student-led advertising agency that I worked for on campus. They’ve given me a lot of support and guidance. It’s really nice to know that UMN faculty truly care about my wellbeing and are willing to spend their time and energy furthering my education and career.
How does your liberal arts education inform how you think about what’s going on?
My liberal arts education has given me the ability to be a critical thinker and problem solver. Reading the news, you have to think critically about what is being said and analyze the information that you’re consuming to make sure you don’t spread misinformation, especially in this day and age, where social media contains a lot of fake news. As for being a problem-solver, that has helped me find solutions to working from home and navigate this pandemic through savvy thinking and creativity.
What are you doing to care for your physical and mental health these days? What are some creative ways you’ve changed up your daily routine?
I’ve been working out every day from home with the help of Youtube fitness gurus, scheduling weekly Zoom meetings with friends and family members, and journaling my thoughts using the JOUR mobile app. To change up my daily routine and keep my creative juices flowing, I’ve started making TikTok videos, having weekly photoshoots for Instagram, and creating weekly content for my fashion and lifestyle blog, The Clothing Statement.
What inspires you? What keeps you going even in a discouraging situation?
“There’s no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.” This pandemic has forced everyone out of their comfort zones, which gives us an opportunity to learn new things and become more resilient. I’m choosing to look on the bright side and have been using this pandemic as a reason to better myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and career-wise.
What have you learned about yourself through this experience? Has it helped you focus on what’s important to you?
I’ve learned that planning my life and sticking to that plan isn’t going to happen; there are way too many uncertainties in life. So now, I’m choosing to take everything one day at a time and putting my happiness and wellbeing over success and fortune because at the end of the day, money can’t buy happiness. This experience has allowed me to become closer to my family, talk to friends I hadn’t talked to in ages, and become healthier in terms of eating right and working out. These are things I hope to continue even after the pandemic blows over.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Class of 2020, you are not the COVID-19 class. All of the time you’ve spent studying, tears you’ve shed due to stress and anxiety, and memories you’ve made during college do not disappear just because of this pandemic. Your graduation is a huge milestone that deserves to be celebrated!