by Eleanor Kelman

I recently listened to a talk by Dr. Michael J. Breus, also known as “the Sleep Doctor,” in which he discussed the science of sleep. He was one of the featured speakers on an externship I (and thousands of other people trapped in limbo between school and not being able to find work) have been participating in, and his talk really resonated with me in a way few talks do. Typically, when I listen to a presentation I’m constantly fidgeting and attempting to keep myself from multitasking–well, distracting myself by scrolling through my Instagram feed or perusing Reddit forums. Listening to Dr. Breus speak was different. I was fully, wholeheartedly engaged in what he was telling me to do to improve my sleep schedule, and not once did I think about turning on my phone. I was so surprised at my own sustained focus that I attempted to figure out why I was able to pay attention for the full hour.

Maybe it was just his manner of speaking, but that’s never really been much of a factor for me. Other than once falling asleep while a beautiful voice slowly lulled me into dreamland while discussing the rather un-dreamlike topic of physics, I’ve never noticed the tone of voice in talks. Perhaps he was just a wonderful orator in general? Well, yes, but even the most passionate of speakers can still make me lose focus (of absolutely no fault of their own, mind you!). No, I finally came to the conclusion that what he was talking about was simply so fascinating and pertinent to me.

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[My newest idol… who also looks quite a bit like one of my favorite college professors?]

Sleep has been a point of contention for me for a long time. I sustained myself on a solid 4-5 hours during weekdays in high school, which led to a lot of dozing off in class and some lunch hours devoted to a quick power nap. In college, my quality of sleep improved ever-so-slightly but still negligibly. A roommate freshman year took to letting her alarm sound for two hours straight every morning, which always gave me a very rude awakening with zero reprieve. I never established a true sleep routine, even during my sophomore year while living with my boyfriend at the time who turned off the lights at midnight each night (while I toiled away on the computer next to him). Senior year I made a valiant effort to go to bed at the same time every night, but that was squandered by two suitemates who would be up yelling and playing music until two or three in the morning much to my chagrin. I never really got that coveted “sleep schedule” thing down pat.

I no longer had any excuse once quarantine started due to the fact that my house is a couple hundred decibels quieter at 9pm than my suite on campus was at 3am, but I still managed to finagle an excuse or two in there. I was going to bed at around 12 am and waking up around 8am to 8:30am depending on how many times I hit snooze, but I still couldn’t shake that desire to get up earlier and truly spend the morning being productive. I am certainly my most productive prior to lunchtime so I wanted to prioritize that time. Unfortunately, a lack of drive got in the way of those well-laid plans, but I still continuously wished I could be a bit better in a number of regards. From drinking caffeine at 8pm to rolling out of bed at a snail’s pace, I kept avoiding achieving my personal goals of maintaining a true sleep schedule and becoming a certifiable morning person.

Listening to Dr. Breus’s presentation lit a fire under me so to speak. I suppose it wasn’t actually the presentation at all, but hearing someone else say, “Do this thing,” made me want to do that thing, the thing I had been putting off for so long because it was solely a “me” thing. I dove in headfirst.

Instead of trying the recommended method of moving your alarm back 15 minutes every week until you reach your desired wake-up time, I went all in and jumped it to 7am and figured I would deal with the jetlag later. I also ended up setting two alarms: a digital alarm clock and my phone. With this, I had to jump out of bed to turn off the second alarm after the first one sounded. In addition, I made a pledge to myself to not just lie back down and fall asleep. I spend the first couple of minutes every morning in a hazy stupor but I allow myself to go back to sleep if I’m still tired half an hour after I wake up. Interestingly, I’m no longer tired by that point.

Returning to the Sleep Doctor, I’m supposed to fall asleep at 11:10pm to wake up at 7am every night. While I do attempt to fall asleep at 11pm, I ensure that I’m up and making my bed at 7am no matter when I fall asleep–thankfully, it’s never crossed 12:30am, a terribly late bedtime for me now that I’ve ascended to being a grandma. I’ve also stopped drinking a latte too early in the morning, which is an easier task than expected because I’ve replaced it with chugging water while I work out (I need to drink a concerning amount of water during the summer).

Who knew that presentations could be useful outside of getting participation credit for a class?

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[Herbal teas have replaced my nightly latte habit, a worthy companion to my bedtime routine.]

I won’t pretend that I’m not browsing the web at night or that I no longer engage in any unsavory nighttime habit, especially as nearly every night I’m on a video call with a friend, but I’ve been able to do just enough to achieve a goal I never thought really possible for me. On a very small level, waking up at 7am and not bemoaning my situation is amazing. It has represented for me such strong discipline that allows everything else to fall into place once I’ve gotten out of bed and started to get moving. On top of that, I can finally say with utmost certainty that I know I’m getting enough sleep, something I couldn’t say without crossing my fingers behind my back for most of my life.

Sleep may be for the weak, but I’ve got a real weakness for it.

 

 

by Jay Abdella

With summer in full swing, many people have watched their summer plans dry up. For some, summer camp was their work destination. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many camps were forced to close because of state, federal, and local regulations. My summer camp, which is a day camp in my old hometown, was one of few camps in the area that was able to stay open. Over the last few weeks, it was a whirlwind of running around, improvisation, and a sense of uncertainty regarding what “camp” will look like. To say the least, camp under COVID-19 is a different experience than what it was before.

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(A campfire represents the calming moments of camp. Due to COVID-19, many sleepaway camps were canceled for the summer due to concerns of the virus. Source: Photopin)

Imagine this: a camp experience where campers can’t make contact with counselors or their friends. In addition, you are not allowed to go swimming, to the beach, or on field trips which make camp what it should be. That is the cornerstone of how camp was being operated this year, with the number one goal of keeping campers and staff safe. For counselors, this meant being temperature checked, ensuring that kids were being socially distanced from one another, and jumping into an environment many of us have never experienced before.

For the first week of camp, I got assigned to five kids and my co-counselor got assigned to five different kids. This was what became our group for the week. Our group could not interact with any other groups or any other counselors in the camp. This meant no camp-wide activities, no collaborating with other groups for games, no sharing of materials, and being on our own for games and activities. Even discipline was placed in a grey area. We couldn’t send a misbehaving child to the director’s office as we could in past summers because the head of the camp was not allowed to interact with other campers. While this may seem daunting for many counselors, the small-group style of camp has shown itself to be a good blueprint for creating crucial relationships with campers. 

I was placed with 9 and 10-year-old campers. While I spent the previous summer with 10-year-olds, this would be an entirely new type of experience with working with them. To be completely transparent, I was worried about how to keep them entertained all day long with only myself and my co-counselor. Any fears were assuaged after the first few hours. It turns out that my campers were some of the most go-with-the-flow kids I have ever seen. So far, we have spent hours chilling in a circle talking about regular life, jamming out to tunes while playing four-square, and being run ragged by being outside in blistering heat for eight hours a day. 

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(Despite summer camp being changed through many different regulations, so far, the magic and thrill of seeing campers happy are worth all of the work that was put into making camp happen. Source: Creative Commons, J_villegas)

Despite being required to wear masks almost 100% of the time at camp and being forced to separate from other campers, being a camp counselor during COVID-19 still has the same shine it did when I first started working at this camp. Hopefully, for the next five weeks, we are able to navigate through this tense and tumultuous time of figuring out the next steps on how to keep campers entertained and safe at the same time. The camp is starting to feel like old times despite being in a whole new world.

 

 

On July 9th, 2020 I had the opportunity to attend a webinar entitled Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Youth Employment. This event was hosted by TakingITGlobal and the United Nations Association of Canada. The webinar focused on the potential impacts that COVID-19 will have on youth seeking employment in the near future, as and offered tangible and accessible tips to stand out in a job application.

Dr. Alina Turner, the co-founder and CEO of HelpSeeker, explains that due to COVID-19, there has been an “increase in demand for mental health support but the inability to always meet such demands”. As such, many youth seeking employment, as well as those already holding steady jobs, find it increasingly difficult to obtain the mental health support that is needed. COVID-19 has presented a unique set of challenges and difficulties which has increased the need for mental health resources and support. However, there has simultaneously been a push to move mental health to the backburner as physical health concerns have grown. Dr. Turner explains that such mental health challenges have made it even more difficult for youth to find employment.

Despite the challenges that have formed as a result of the pandemic, youth continue to display resilience and motivation in the face of disruption. While it is not easy to enter the job market with an uncertain economy or a lack of mental health support, many youth continue to demonstrate resilience and strength despite it all. Dr. Turner admits that the job hunt in the time of a pandemic and economic uncertainty is not easy but that youth are innovative and are “finding ways to support adaptation to destruction”. As such, youth continue to advocate for one another and are sharing their resilience with the world.

Image: Prexels

Although there are countless negatives of COVID-19, Kylie Hurst, a manager of You.i TV and an employment branding specialist, shares some of the positive workplace changes that have resulted due to COVID-19. These positive changes include:

– Diversity and inclusion call-out

– Location barriers removed with the increase in remote jobs and education

– Personal barriers removed with the increase in remote jobs and education (childcare, time of day, cost)

– Embracing individuality

These changes are all important and allow for increased access to employment, inclusion, and involvement that may have been lacking prior to COVID-19. With the rise of ZOOM meetings and online classes, education and employment are becoming more accessible to more individuals across the country.

In addition to the positive changes that may help youth in regards to employment, Hurst also shares some tips on how to standout in the job market. These tips include:

– Everything is an online business card, so make your online presence accessible and engaging (Portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.)

– Looking for a job is a full-time job: make a plan, organize, track, and update regularly

– Socialize on social: use social media platforms to connect with individuals who may help you (alumni networks, virtual events, etc.)

–  Build your resume: If you are fortunate and have been given additional free time as a result of COVID-19, use that time wisely to gain new credentials and experiences

Searching for a job can be intimidating and challenging, particularly with the lack of mental health support, the uncertainty of the economy, and for youth just entering the workforce. However, these tips should help to point you in the right direction. Resiliency is critical when searching for employment and embracing your individuality will set you on the right path for your future career.

By Catherine Duffy

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an event like no other for the present population. The three-month isolation period changed life as we know it as plans were cancelled and a new way of life surfaced. But did everyone have the same general experience? It is known that there are two big personality types in our world: the introverts and the extroverts. Some people even identify as a mixture of both. The quarantine has allowed these two personality types to peer into the other’s way of life. What unique emotional changes have introverts and extroverts experienced in 2020? 

Merriam Webster defines an extrovert as “a gregarious and unreserved person” whereas an introvert is known as “a reserved or shy person who enjoys spending time alone”.

The beginning of isolation back in March provided a major life change to extroverts around the world. The social beings began to feel trapped knowing that seeing friends and family was officially against the law, and that social calls to cafes were strictly prohibited. Social media and video calls filled their days at home and helped them put their social energy to use.

While staying at home reading books and making puzzles made the extroverts stir crazy, the introverts were extremely delighted. There was so much time to recharge now that time alone was just part of every day routine. New solitary hobbies were adopted and their anxieties may have begun to vanish. As an introvert myself, I discovered that I had much more energy to call friends and family at the end of the day having had so much quiet time to recharge on my own. 

While the extroverts counting down the days to freedom, the introverts may have taken every as a blessing. The social anxieties of big group gatherings, presentations and hours of interacting with others as they worked became a thing of the past.

Now that many restrictions have been lifted, a bit of the opposite has happened. Extroverts rejoice as they return to work. They have been finally granted the opportunity to socialize and talk to their hearts content once again. Introverts, on the contrary, have been reintroduced to the stress and social anxiety they knew before the quarantine.

Though this year has been filled with disappointment and tragedy, it seems as though both introverts and extroverts have gained insight into the other’s way of life. Whether it be being forced inside or forced to return to the outside world again, perhaps both personalities have gained a certain appreciation for the other’s routines as they have had the opportunity to explore them. Perhaps with this new insight, both personalities will be able to live in harmony, or at least show understanding when the other isn’t emotionally content.

by Nicole Mattson

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(A record player plays a tune).

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled or postponed all of the upcoming concerts we all have been looking forward to. If you are stumped on what to listen to next after you have grown tired of repeatedly listening to your playlists, try listening to instrumental music. Most bands from the 1970s are known for their phenomenal chemistry between the singer, guitar, drums, keyboard, and even cowbell. That being said, it can be eccentric to take the singer out of the equation. You can find underlying meanings in how the instruments are played, which can help you understand the bands’ music and dynamic even more than before. Instrumental music gives you, the listener, room to think more creatively and make the song your own: how does the song make you feel? What does it remind you of? The options are endless. In times when it feels like the pandemic will never end, listening to different types of music can help you relax, which is a crucial part of taking care of yourself.

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(A guitar and band setup sits on a stage).

It is also interesting to look through instrumental music since many songs are not well-known. If you are tired of listening to the same Fleetwood Mac album over and over again, try listening to some instrumental versions! You can chill out to all the songs listed below, or you can pick and choose certain songs based on your mood.

If you are feeling strong:

 

  • “Pali Gap” by Jimi Hendrix 

 

Rainbow Bridge, posthumously in 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ7AttIb-kc

“Pali Gap” was released posthumously in Rainbow Bridge in 1971, after Jimi Hendrix’s death the previous year. One of the more powerful songs on this list, how could you resist listening to Hendrix’s moving guitar solo? This song is perfect for both loosening up as well as doing something you enjoy.

If you are feeling groovy:

 

  • “What a Shame” by Fleetwood Mac

 

Future Games, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DcfbD_NuNo

Fleetwood Mac… there is not much to say about them except that they are one of the grooviest bands of all time. This song was released before Stevie Nicks joined, but it’s still worth listening to since it is instrumental. “What a Shame” is an easy listen, since it will make you feel good about yourself.

If you are feeling bored:

 

  •  “One of These Days” by Pink Floyd

 

Meddle, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48PJGVf4xqk

You all know the saying, “only boring people get bored”. Sometimes being bored is inevitable, since there are limited options for things to do during the pandemic. “One of These Days” starts off repetitive and a little dull, but escalates into something great. Hopefully, it will put you out of any boredom you may be experiencing.

If you are feeling candid:

 

  • “Do You Know What?” By Sly and the Family Stone

 

There’s a Riot Goin’ On!, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIuCZhxTBx4

According to Oliver Wang in their article, “Sly and the Family Stone: 20 Essential Songs” published March 15, 2016, on rollingstone.com, “Greil Marcus famously wrote that There’s a Riot Goin’ On! ‘was no fun. It was slow, hard to hear, and it isn’t celebrating anything.’ In short, ‘It was not groovy.’” So, while you can still chill out to this song, it’s important to note that it was created in a time of change when being honest was more important than ever. If you’re feeling outspoken, you should listen to this “Do You Know What?”, as well as the other songs in There’s a Riot Goin’ On! such as “Family Affair”.

If you need a pick-me-up:

 

  • “Daybreaker” by Electric Light Orchestra

 

On the Third Day, 1973

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaJNjYmpeWY

Electric Light Orchestra’s music is known to put people in a better mood; honestly, who wouldn’t feel better after listening to “Mr. Blue Sky?” Even without lyrics, ELO’s music can still make you feel happier. The addition of the violin in this song is phenomenal and can make you feel some type of way.

If you are feeling nostalgic:

 

  • “Lipstick Traces” by UFO

 

Phenomenon, 1974

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQJgWIaP7UU

The wailing guitar in this song is begging for you to reminisce about your past; perhaps this includes your life before the world shut down. “Lipstick Traces” encourages you to think deeper about yourself and what you’ve been through, and how you can improve your life post-pandemic.

If you are feeling inspired:

  • “Intermezzo No. 1” by Abba

Released in 1975

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6kShipYwCk

Intermezzo No. 1 is one of the more upbeat songs on this list. Like ELO, Abba’s music guarantees it will put a smile on your face. You could cook, paint, or just walk around the house listening to this song.

Bonus song: If you have wanderlust:

 

  • “Bron Yr Aur” by Led Zeppelin

 

Physical Graffiti, 1975 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKge6Ay9O4E

Are you tired of listening to “Stairway to Heaven” over and over again? Put on “Bron Yr Aur” and drive around for a little bit. Even driving is a good way to take a break from things happening in your life, and an excuse to leave your house. This song is nice to listen to on a road trip. Even if you can’t travel anywhere due to the pandemic, going somewhere like a park could be a fun adventure.

Since the beginning of the worldwide shutdowns due to the pandemic, there has been talk about a ‘new normal,’ or a persistent wish to return to the old sense of ‘normal’ that everyone had become so comfortable with. Many continue to wish for the reopening of their favourite local café, the dance floor of the nightclubs, or for their university to begin allowing in-person classes once more. And these people are not alone in their wishes, as I too wish for the flexibility and care-free spontaneity of the past. However, this quarantine has allowed for many, including myself, to reflect on what the ‘new normal’ should look like and the changes that need to be made so that we can all move forward, together.

Image courtesy of Prexels

Movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the acknowledgment of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have picked up steam during the past few months and changes within government, companies, and society at large have been numerous. Arrests still need to be made, police still need to be held accountable, and systemic racism must still be addressed, but change is happening, albeit long overdue. With the inequalities of our society being brought to light and gaining traction in mainstream media, it is necessary that we no longer strive to return to ‘normal’ but rather a ‘new normal’ that offers equality to everyone.

Image courtesy of Prexels

With Pride Month just behind us, it is also important to recognize the areas in which individuals in the LGBTQ2+ community continue to be disadvantaged and discriminated against. Whether related to discriminatory policy changes or the high murder rate of black trans women, there is still a long way to go for equal rights and justice. As such, our ‘new normal’ should be one of acceptance, love, and pride and individuals in the LGBTQ2+ community should not be forgotten or ignored.

There are many instances of a need for change and a need for this ‘new normal’. In order to achieve such a hopeful dream of equality, one must reflect inwards. It is about recognizing your privilege and becoming an ally. As a cis, straight, white woman I have had to reflect on my privilege and further educate myself about the inequalities that exist in the world. On top of that, I have also had to acknowledge the systems of oppression that I continue to profit from such as colonialism and racial discrimination.

Recognizing your privilege can be difficult and challenging but it is necessary to create a better, more just world. It is important to keep in mind that your privilege does not mean that you have had an easy life, it just means that there are not factors of your identity that are making your life more difficult. For example, if you are white, your white privilege does not mean that you have not experienced hardships, but rather that the colour of your skin has not contributed to your hardships. I think it is important to keep this in mind, especially when educating yourself on the inequalities of the world.

Overall, there is hope for a ‘new normal’ that is inclusive, accepting, and equal and that ‘new normal’ begins with everyone. It is each person’s responsibility to work for change and to be an activist and an ally. We have the opportunity to create a ‘new normal’ and it is time that we begin to realize these much needed changes. 

by Sumner Lewis

people at theater
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

(Spectators wait for a theatre show to begin).

The very first musical I ever saw was The Lion King. I was five and I can clearly remember the amazement I felt as I watched the performers on stage. My family and I sat in the first row of the mezzanine at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, CT, right next to a little platform where actors would occasionally come and make beautiful birds dance in the air over the audience below. 

I fell in love that day with the concept of a musical, which I saw as an art form that enveloped me, inspired me, and made me want more. I didn’t just want to watch the show unfold before me; I wanted to be up there in the hoi polloi.

The next show that caught my attention was Wicked. I was seven when my mother saw it for the first time and brought back the cast album for me. I learned every word, note, and harmony on that CD. It became my dream to one day play the role of Elphaba. Idina Menzel’s voice spoke to me. Elphaba understood me.

Idina_Menzel_Defense.gov_Crop

(Idina Menzel gained prominence due to her role as Elphaba in Wicked).

If you’re into musical theater, you can’t deny that you’ve wanted to play every single character in your favorite show. I’ve gained a larger appreciation for Glinda as I’ve grown older and I want to challenge myself with playing different kinds of characters. But then I remember that she is blonde and I’m not. Where did anyone ever see a blonde Black girl in the late 2000s/early 2010s? Nowhere. So that also rules out ever being Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.

I inherently knew from a young age that race was everything in theater casting. Not as well as I know that fact now, but young girls need to see people who look like them inhabiting the spaces that they want to be in. Representation is everything. The more musicals I got into, the more I understood the subliminal message that there wasn’t a spot for me in a show except for playing a green witch that I love so much. Even in The Lion King, the performers are mostly darker-skinned, much darker than my tan, biracial skin.

In 2015, my discovery of Hamilton caused a revolution for me. I saw people on that stage who reflected me and my life experiences, a phenomenon which had not happened within the sixteen years that I was alive before that time. It didn’t matter what race you were as long as you were a person of color. Read that again. It didn’t JUST not matter what race you were, the casting directors WANTED people of color. That stage was a celebration of the skin tones that have historically been labeled ‘other.’ I finally saw a show I could actually be in.

The problem doesn’t solely lie on the shoulders of casting directors. There is simply a lack of characters being written for broader people of color. Sure, there are some Black characters, some Latinx characters, a couple Middle Eastern characters, but I, an ethnically ambiguous person of color, don’t get to play any of them because they have a distinct ethnic heritage to display. I’ll never be Nina from In the Heights (although I really, really want to be), Jasmine in Aladdin, or Nala in The Lion King. 

My most recent role was Ronette in Little Shop of Horrors. The show has four female roles; three are reserved for women of color. However, the leading female role is the single white woman in the cast. The other three women are the cast’s backup singers. We worked as a trio, three harmonies that would be lost without the others, but it meant that we were more of a conglomerate than we were individuals. 

Only two people of color showed up to audition for a show with three spots available for someone with that description, so it wasn’t even a competition to get a role. Sometimes I wonder if I got the part based on my own merits or if they didn’t have enough people to fill a historically Black role. We almost didn’t have enough people to fill all three spots and had to hold another round of auditions, to which only one person showed up. She got the role.

On top of that, the urchins are written as the stereotypical sassy Black girls. There are so many different ways to be Black. The only requirement is to wake up with your Black skin every day. Playing a sassy character can be loads of fun, but when it plays into racial stereotypes, one has to wonder why they were written that way.

I’ve always said that Hercules should be adapted into a stage musical just so I could play one of the Muses (and now it has, last year for a short run at The Public Theater). I love the strong, Black women with incredible harmonies and powerhouse voices. They are a Greek chorus, and they work as a nameless group behind the scenes. No one Muse exists without the others.

I want to see more diversity in the theatre community. We need to see characters on that stage that reflect who we are a society and the world we wish to be. Take Hadestown for example; it is written and cast in a way that any person, no matter the color of their skin, can play any character in the show. It is art used for a purpose. It encourages the dreamers, those of us who see a better world in our future. I see a better world where, even if my dream of performing in shows professionally doesn’t come true, I can share my love of theatre with my future children and they will see themselves represented on stage, celebrated, no matter the color of their skin.

by Molly Rosenfeld

I’ll start off by saying I am not much of an athlete, never was, and probably never will be. My lung capacity is below average, I don’t have much in the way of upper body strength, and I’m not particularly flexible.

As a young child, I participated in swimming, ballet, soccer, and gymnastics. It was important to my parents that I got good aerobic exercise at least once a week and that I tried a variety of activities to find a good fit. After I learned how to rollerblade at 10, I wanted to ice skate. I loved it from my very first public session, and my parents signed my sister and me up for group classes.

To my own surprise, skating came relatively easily to me. I have a good balance and have enjoyed learning new elements and choreography. I passed the five recreational levels within a year and began learning jumps and spins. 

In seventh grade, I had other commitments and had to take time off. I started playing recreational volleyball and joined the swim team at my high school, but found that I didn’t really enjoy either one. 

I later took a dance class at school, and “jumped” at the chance to start ice skating again. I signed up for more group classes on weekends and have been going once or twice a week ever since. For the past five years, I have worked with a private coach. When I’m in Southern California with my family, I go to The Rinks-Lakewood ICE. It’s truly become another home for me. I walk through the doors and I know I’ll be around people who care about me, who are people I deeply care about in return. 

Last August, I moved to Northern California to attend San Jose State University. I started up with group classes at Solar4America Ice-San Jose. I don’t feel the same connections and love that I do at Lakewood, but it’s been a nice change of pace.

And then… the pandemic happened.

It’s been difficult taking time off, but I suppose absence does make the heart grow fonder. I’m looking forward to beginning taking the United States Figure Skating sanctioned tests and thus begin competing. Thus far I’ve only taken tests through the Ice Sports Industry and competed on a recreational basis against myself or only one other person in my division.

Ice skating is an expensive pastime, but I’ve found it worth every penny. It’s my favorite outlet, exercise and socialization all rolled into one! I plan on skating for the rest of my life.

I reached out to a couple of coaches I’ve known for years to learn what professionals are currently doing.

Angel Sarkisova started skating when she was 6 years old and has been coaching for about 10 years. She will be transferring to California State University Los Angeles this fall as a communication major.

Q: At what point during your childhood did you realize that you truly enjoyed and had a talent for ice skating?

A: I realized I loved skating almost right away about a week into coming back consistently. I realized I had some natural ability for the sport shortly thereafter and decided to commit myself full-time to try to reach my full competitive potential.

Q: What are your favorite memories from being a coach?

A: I have so many favorite/special memories from being a coach. I really can’t remember specifics anymore, but rather the especially special moments. My favorite memories of coaching come from my everyday conversations, milestones, and accomplishments my kids achieve on a regular, non-special day. In other words, my favorite moments happen every day, while I share some kind of special interaction between one of my skaters and myself.

Q: How do you think coaching and skating will change when we return after the pandemic?

A: After the pandemic, unfortunately, I think things will change in ways that will hurt the progress of skating for a while. It will be hard to correct skaters without being able to physically touch or get close to them. Ice time will be much harder to come by and reserve, and we will have to take extra precautions that will take time away from effective training. However, that being said, whatever gives the people and customers peace of mind and safety is most important. So I’ll take whatever we can get when we all get back on the ice, whenever that is.

Skye Wheeler Koachway received a BA in English Rhetoric and Composition from California State University Long Beach and began coaching during her second year of college.

Q: At what point during your childhood did you realize that you truly enjoyed and had a talent for ice skating?

A: I started skating after a Girl Scout field trip to Paramount Iceland when I was 6, and I think I loved it immediately. For sure, I know that I begged my mom for lessons and she finally signed me up the January after I turned 7. She thought I’d take one session of classes and then be over it but of course I loved it and wanted to continue. I don’t remember not skating and I always thought I was “meant to be” a skater.

Q: What are your favorite memories from being a coach?

A: I have so many favorite coaching moments! I’m trying to think of a favorite and can’t think of just one. I love watching my skaters grow up. Most skaters will not become world champions so I always try to think about how I’d like to help them learn actual “life skills”- hard work, positivity, kindness, and sportsmanship. I’ve also loved working on the synchronized skating teams and the shows; the team comradery is amazing!

Q: How do you think coaching and skating will change when we return after the pandemic?

A: I think we’re going to get back on the ice very slowly, beginning with freestyles. Coaches will need to wear masks and be spaced out along the walls. I think some skaters will quit during this break, but the ones who return will really know they love it.

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(Selfie at the 2019 ISI Winter Classic Competition!)

image4(With Coach Nha-Quyen Nguyen after I passed my Bronze Freestyle test in July of 2018.)

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(With Coach Skye Wheeler Koachway at my first ISI competition.)

image1(The badges I’ve earned for passing the Freestyle 1, Ice Dance 1, and Freestyle Bronze Tests.)

 

 

By Catherine Duffy

Lunches with grandma, birthday celebrations in our favourite diners, and late night drinks at the bar have all been activities I’ve missed during the quarantine. As of June 8th 2020, the province of Saskatchewan announced that restaurants could open their doors once again. While residents may believe that their dining experiences will remain the same as they were before the pandemic, there are several changes they must stay aware of.

Having recently begun working in a restaurant myself and having taken the opportunity to eat in my favourite restaurants since their reopening, here are some of the changes I’ve noted.

1. Restaurant staff will be wearing masks to protect not only customers but also themselves. Busy kitchens and interactions with dinner guests make physical distancing impossible so masks serve as the next best thing to prevent catching COVID-19.

Source: Pexels

2. Hand sanitizing stations have been set up all around restaurants to remind people to clean their hands as much as possible. Staff members have set up timers to ensure they are washing their hands regularly.

3. High touch surfaces are getting regular cleaning treatment. This is a restaurant manager’s way of making sure they are doing everything that they can to prevent a second wave.

4. One-way traffic has become mandatory inside certain restaurants and there is always one door for entering and one door to exit. While this might make the walk to the bathroom longer, it helps guests avoid coming within six feet within one another.

5. While many may be eager to return to their favourite restaurants, by law, they can only operate at half capacity. Reservations may be the best way to guarantee a table for two on a Friday night. By operating at a limited capacity, restaurants can ensure that people from different social circles stay apart by placing a few empty tables between parties.

5. Your food may be placed at the far end of the table to avoid a waiter having to reach across the table and come in close contact with restaurant goers. While the service may seem incomplete, it is in the public’s best interest.

6. Though servers are usually prompt to clear away dirty plates, some may walk away from your table leaving them behind. This is to avoid cross contamination. Bussers have been hired to handle the dirty dishware.

7. Finally, while it may seem like the perfect chance to get together with a big group of friends, whom you haven’t seen in months, parties are limited to six guests per table, by law.

Source: Pexels

Dining with these new guidelines in place is a new reality and while some may be excited to return outside again, others may believe there is still too much of a risk and stay inside. Though it may seem like going out to eat has become a chore with many rules to follow, if everyone follows government implemented guidelines, people may begin to socialize again while still physically distancing and ensuring the safety of their fellow citizens. 

by Abbey Ross

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(A girl looks at her phone with a sense of fear)

If you are a technology user living in 2020, you have undoubtedly seen tremendous amounts of troubling and stressful news stories during the past few months. Television channels are clogged with their usual politics, crime, and celebrity news, but now an entirely new topic has crammed its way into the already overwhelming news cycle. Yes, you guessed it: COVID-19.  As if turning on the news wasn’t stressful enough, we now have more portable—and more intrusive—forms of technology that ding and beep at us as soon as the death toll rises, a gaggle of gun-wielding protesters emerges, or a politician makes a statement on Twitter. 

If you are like most people, including myself, who feel like they’re drowning in a river of events and notifications, you’re probably looking for a way to get some air, to escape the never-ending rapids. How are you supposed to do this, though, when we live in such a quickly evolving world where it seems like every hour brings another devastating wave of events? 

For some people, the solution is to just turn it all off. They take their phones and hide them in another room, silence notifications, and escape into the world of Netflix or a good novel. In all my efforts to do this, however, I’ve felt suddenly and alarmingly disconnected. What if my sister calls or my friends need my advice? What if my boss emails me or a vaccine is found today and I miss it? I have listed some things that I have done when I just need to step back and take a break. They help me feel more grounded and less anxious while allowing me to maintain a healthier level of connectedness.

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(Being in front of a laptop can cause you undue stress)

Listen to Your Brain and Body—feelings of anxiousness can manifest in many different ways.

Be kind to yourself and be open to the sometimes subtle signs that your mind and body are overwhelmed. These can include anything from changes in appetite and sleep patterns to sudden tiredness, loss of motivation, loss of memory, and other mental and physical symptoms. For example, back in March at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I convinced myself I was sick because of tightness and pain in my chest. After a week or so, though, I noticed that I only felt these symptoms while reading or watching the news.

Communicate—tell your loved ones what you’re doing and why.

When you start to feel overwhelmed by being tethered to your phone or computer—whether by news alerts or lengthy debates in a group chat—don’t be afraid to let your loved ones know how you’re feeling. A simple text explaining where your head is at and that you will be stepping away for a little while should suffice. Your friends and family have surely been dealing with similar concerns lately and will likely support your choice to take a break.

Example: Hey guys, I hope you all are having a good day. I am a little overwhelmed with what we’ve been chatting about/the state of the world right now/my notifications, so I’m going to put my phone away for a bit and do something else. I’ll talk to you later.

Set Up an Alternative—find a less intrusive method of communication where someone can reach you if they really need to.

 If you are concerned about being completely disconnected from your phone (a very reasonable concern in this day and age), include in your message that someone can reach you if something urgent comes up. If you’re living at home right now like me, giving your friends, coworkers, or family members your home landline phone number is a great alternative.

Make it a Habit – set aside some no-phone time on a scheduled basis.

 By doing this, your contacts will be aware of what you’re up to every day from 3-5 pm, for example. They will know not to worry if you don’t answer right away, giving you some peace of mind to escape and relax.

 

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(Exercising is a great way to retreat from technology)

Use Your Free Time Wisely – once you have identified feelings of anxiousness and established some time away from the noise, make sure you really appreciate the silence.

Now that you have created some space for yourself to retreat from the endless stream of news and notifications, make sure you allow yourself to fully occupy this space! No sneaking looks at your phone or flipping on the news (even if it’s just for five minutes)! Do something that makes you feel calm and centered; for tips on mindfulness, exercise, yoga, and new activities during quarantine, check out these other BTP articles: 

Quarantine Activity: Learning a New Language

   Stretching it Out: Keeping Connected Through Yoga

   Staying Fit During a Pandemic

   Rediscovering Reading During Quarantine

   Meditating in a Time of Crisis: A “How-To” Guide in Clearing the Mind