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Q&A with Mariah Flores

June 26, 2020

Major: Professional Journalism
Minor: Studies in Cinema and Media Culture
Year in school: Spring 2020 graduate

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

I found that my classes this semester really put students' needs first, cutting down on some more "involved" assignments, and working with folks to submit homework as they were able. It was really nice to see how Zoom helped make my distance learning a bit more manageable (along with staying connected with instructors). I really miss being around my friends and peers on campus. I loved being able to walk to classes and enjoy our beautiful campus.

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

To start, I want to thank eunha jeong wood, who I had the pleasure of taking GWSS 3409W, a class that explored queer Asian feminisms and AAW cultural production. She inspired me to be myself, work on myself, love myself, learn more, listen, and continue to explore intersectionality within the many narratives of folks of color. Thank you eunha—you made my last semester at the U phenomenal! eunha, along with my other instructors, advisor and peers, reminded me—especially during this time—that our mental wellbeing is super important, and we are such capable beings.

What is something you learned in college that has helped you interpret what you are experiencing and reading about in the news?

College taught me that I am capable and has given me the confidence to always remain curious, taking in whatever life has to teach me. This mindset has really guided me through this entire global experience and crisis. No matter what, my time at the U, in CLA, and in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communications has given me a limitless future. I, Mariah Flores, am capable, worthy, and will continue to be a blossoming success.

What are you doing to care for your physical and mental health these days? How are you staying connected with others? What are some creative ways you’ve changed up your daily routine?

Giving myself the space to simply exist and take every day as it comes is one major way I care for my wellbeing these days. Also, supporting and uplifting my friends via text, social media, and—of course—Zoom calls has been a fun way to stay connected. Animal Crossing is such a great escape, and I now set time aside in "new normal" routine to enjoy a few precious moments on my Switch!

What inspires you?

My mantra (from Parks and Rec's Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle—that anyone who knows me has heard time after time): "TREAT YO SELF!" To me, especially as a young black woman, the quote means that we always are deserving of (self-) love, respect, and happiness.

What have you learned about yourself through this experience? Has this realization changed your short- or long-term plans?

Overall, I have seen how adaptable I can be. I'm still learning more about myself every day. My post-grad plans have changed, but in a positive way, as my horizons have expanded, and I realized being back home, [which is] out of state, that I can live and work anywhere now or come back to the Twin Cities. It's refreshing! 

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