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  • Writer's pictureMehli Romero

The Virus: Find the Spot

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

COVID-19 has disrupted our daily lives across the globe. For students, all of our classes have moved online, and for architecture students our studio space has become a corner of our home. The thing we used to call studio culture was officially dissolved when President Robbins ordered the University of Arizona campus be shut down. We find ourselves in a familiar yet strange place, whether that be a home, apartment, or studio living space. We ask how we are going to get work done when the atmosphere of our home might not be tailored to be a productive space. It leaves me feeling like a goldfish stuck under a rock that's way too small with no room to breathe (that's my goldfish Kami... she wasn't feeling too hot a couple of weeks ago but she's all better now). Here's how I've dealt with the challenge.

I appreciate the studio space I'm given on the university campus and I will admit it's a necessary and nice place to work especially when I'm working on models and needing the help of a fellow friend and classmate. Also, studio is free of distractions and full of encouragement. But I don't like to be in studio 24/7 because that place is also filled with stress. And I can only take so much before I break. So I escape to the place I currently call home. My home is HOLY because I've dedicated it as a place of peace, love and hope. At home I get to relax and do things that don't have to do with architecture (as mush as I love it). I'm a musician, writer, and artist. So I like to go home and play the violin. Or maybe I'll write stories and poetry for the evening. However, now that my studio space has been taken away by this virus I've been forced to work at home. I'm constantly working on architecture and when I decide to take a break with some painting I still feel the pressure of my work. I even go to the extent of feeling guilty for not working more. Or harder cause it's really easy to get distracted and be lazy especially when my design doesn't seem to be working out. So I've decided to start up a new habit which helps me have the peace I used to enjoy. I dedicate all of my architecture work to literally just my desk tucked into a crevice of my room. I don't allow myself to take it to the dining or living room. I don't even let myself take it to my bed or papasan sitting next to the window. I've realized that if I stay in one spot everyday and dedicate that spot only to architecture work I become so much more productive. I tried taking my work outside but it would only break my focus (although not everyone is as easily distracted as I am). In designating my desk as the only place I can work on architecture I'm able to continue to enjoy the spaces of my room and the rest of my home. I think to myself, "My desk is studio. Not home." This mental exercise helps me continue to associate the rest of my home to peaceful, positive vibes. So far it seems to be working out pretty well. Of course this won't work for everyone. I've met people who are more productive moving around. If you are one of those try working outside, on a balcony (if you have one), or in different places of your home. Several studies I read this week describe how everyone has their own methods of learning, and the space you study in affects how conducive you are to retaining knowledge and staying focused. Depending on your established working and studying habits the space best for you can be identified. Once you've identified a space you'd like to try, stay there for at least five days. Change the location each week and compare how you've performed in each spot. Remember to be aware of things that distract you such as family, friends, roommates, social media, or other tempting activities. Being aware and acknowledging those distractions allows you to keep your guard up when you are working. If you are mentally prepared for those distractions you will be better able to dismiss them. Lastly, in order for your study spot to be successful make sure not to linger there for too long. Take breaks often. I like to take a five to ten minute break each hour. It helps keep me sane and focused. And make sure you eat and exercise. Its beautiful outside... at least here in Tucson. Tucsonans should take advantage of the weather before it gets unbearably hot.

Bocca luppo! (Good luck in Italian)

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