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Q&A with Jaden Lubarski

June 26, 2020

Major: Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance
Minor: Developmental Psychology & Political Science
Year in school: Junior

How did your classes change to accommodate distance learning and other needs? What do you miss about being on campus?

All of my professors did a great job transitioning to distance learning. They learned how to use Zoom and other tools to make sure that we were still getting high quality education. We were still able to see each other, ask questions, and have discussions and debates. I had to move back home in northwest Minnesota, so it took a while to adjust to not being on campus. I missed seeing my friends and walking around campus. But after a while I was able to get used to distance learning and the rest of the semester went by a lot faster than I thought.

What are some ways your instructors, advisors, peers, and/or others at the U have supported and encouraged you during this time?

When I read the announcement that classes would be online for the remainder of the semester, I was nervous that the following months would be too much to handle. Within a few days, all of my professors sent out emails with very detailed plans about how they were going to make the transition, and it gave me the confidence that everything was going to be alright.

What is something you learned in college that has helped you interpret what you are experiencing and reading about in the news? How does your liberal arts education inform how you think about what’s going on?

My CLA classes have taught me the importance of evaluating sources before you believe what they are saying. I have also noticed a lot of news is framed by political views. Being able to see past that has been crucial during this time as there is a lot of bad information out there.

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?

This pandemic has made me realize how important it is to have a good balance in life. I took for granted being able to hangout with friends or go to the Rec after a stressful day of classes and studying. Quarantine taught me that I couldn't effectively study for hours a day without talking to any friends or getting any physical activity. I got creative and found new ways to get active for at least 30 minutes each day. I also started calling my friends that I missed more often. It boosted my mood and made me less distracted when I was studying.

What advice or encouragement would you like to share with others?

This spring, I learned the importance of self-confidence in academics. I struggled during my first semester on campus because I didn't think I was good enough to succeed, and I didn't have a very strong sense of purpose. I approached this spring with a different attitude. It started when I found a new major with classes that I am more passionate about. I prepared more for classes and became more confident with my work. It resulted in a lot more success, even in the midst of the pandemic. With all of the crazy things going on right now, it has been easy to watch the news and worry about what happens next. But I encourage everyone to focus on what you can control because I have learned that you really can do anything you set your mind to.

Has this experience helped you focus on what’s important to you? Has this realization changed your short- or long-term plans?

This has been a great time for everyone to focus on things that are important to them. I wasn't happy with how I spent the first week or two of my time in quarantine. Then, I decided that I needed to use this time to better myself for when everything got back to normal. I asked myself, "When this is over, will I be happy with how I spent my time?" I am determined to make that answer yes. I started playing my guitar again, reading more books, and spending more time with my family. I have also had a lot of time to do some career management. I started planning ahead for next year by looking at possible jobs and internships. I also stumbled upon the pre-law advising and starting looking at law schools, which is something I hadn't been interested in before.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I have been very impressed with how smooth the University made the transition to distance learning. I was still able to meet with my honors advisor, my major-specific advisor, and a CLA career advisor. I am very grateful to be at a college that met all of my needs, even in the middle of a global crisis. It shows just how much CLA cares so much about their students.

This story is part of a larger series. Read more at Students Reflect on a Semester of Distance Learning.