(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
4/10/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Post-Docs,
Happy Good Friday to all, a day for reflecting on sacrifices. For Christians, this day represents the ultimate sacrifice by one for the lives of many. For all of us, it can be a day to understand how the sacrifices we are making right now are saving the lives of so many. Flattening the curve is working! At the beginning of all of this, friends in Public Health all said to me some variation of, “If it works, it will look like we overreacted, and that will be a really good thing.” With estimates still showing a global death toll of hundreds of thousands and an economy that is straining against its limits, it is hard to imagine we have overreacted. However, it could--and would--truly have been so much worse without our shared sacrifices. I am so grateful that the sacrifices all of you have made to stop fieldwork, stop experiments, teach online, meet with your advisors in endless zoom calls, teach your kids at home, and more seem to be working. We have more sacrifice ahead of us, but the Anteater community has shown that we can and will get through this.
And now, on to the news of the day. Notice that we have changed the format of this message slightly to put new information up front and reminders of things that we think are important enough that they should be restated later on. And of course, the closing at the end.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Racial inequality, and racial, gender and sexual violence--in forms both slow and spectacular--have not only persisted through the coronavirus pandemic, but also become even more apparent. As COVID-19 has spread across the United States, so have attacks on Asian Americans and racist disruptions of online platforms, with women of color and individuals who are Muslim and/or LGBTQ experiencing some of the ugliest attacks. Moreover, rates of illness and premature death have increased among those American sub-populations—particularly Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans—who have long been socioeconomically vulnerable. In the midst of health fears and daily disruptions, it is difficult to engage in the long-term fight against racial violence.
This Webinar will discuss the need for universities and community partners to remain engaged in projects that map and respond to racial and ethnic inequality in the United States and to examine how these institutions might be responsive to racial and gender violence in ways that promote collaboration and understanding across axes of difference. Register by clicking the link above.
DECADE Health and Wellness Seminar with Graduate Counselor Phong Luong Wednesday, April 15, 2020
5 pm - 6:30 pm
DECADE welcomes graduate counselor Phong Loung who will offer a number of different health and wellness tips, along with different coping mechanisms for students, as we navigate a new normal. Just click the link below to join the discussion!
UCI Worklife Wellness Virtual Self-Care Wellness Resources
UCI has plenty of great resources and tips on how to take care of yourself mentally and physically on its “Worklife & Wellness” page. Click here to see what the page has to offer.
Online Workouts Provided by the ARC
All of us are undoubtedly feeling a little cooped up nowadays, but UCI Campus Recreation has provided a plethora of online videos and exercises we can access to make sure we can still stay physically fit during this time. Click here to see all of the different tips and exercises.
Another Way to Have Your Voice Heard
Everyone’s situation is different, and while I’m always available for my office hours and our graduate counselors are always ready to help, sometimes you may prefer to suggest something anonymously. We have now provided a space for you to do just that. If you’d like to ask an anonymous question or give us feedback, please feel free to click here and do so at any time. We will continue to keep this form link in our daily emails.
Watch PHD Movies...FOR FREE!
Running out of things to watch on Netflix/Hulu/Disney+ [insert streaming service here]? Don’t worry, I have you covered! The PHD Movies (yes, both the first and second) are available to stream for free here! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, below is a brief description on the films.
The PHD Movies are the film adaptations of the comic strip "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham. The films take a smart and humorous look at the world of Academia through the eyes of four grad students, and features real academics (including several MacArthur Geniuses and a Nobel Prize winner!) in many of the roles. They were made possible by the incredible efforts of volunteers and the support of thousands of fans, and by the generosity of Caltech and the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter. The movies were featured in the New York Times, Nature, and Science Magazine among others, and screened at over 500 locations worldwide.
Some Tips on Working from Home
Our wonderful academic counselors, Phong Luong and Elizabeth Dunn talked at our Graduate Division staff meeting today about some of the concerns they have been hearing across student groups. One of those was how to work from home, how to actually accomplish anything when your self-care space, cooking space, sleeping space, and working space are all the same. We have a seminar on this topic being donated to us by a great executive coach, Ali Levin, next Thursday, April 16 from noon - 1pm. Make sure to register for the talk by clicking here!
In the meantime, here are some tips I have found over the years that have helped me:
- Make an “office.” You don’t have to have a ton of space to do this, but see what you can replicate from the space you worked before into this one you have now. Elizabeth mentioned that she put pictures up near her desk at home in a similar arrangement to the ones at her office in Grad Division. For me, I turned a closet at home into an office (this wasn’t pretty, and it's very tight, but it works). I put my pens and notebooks out each day just like I would in my faculty office. I had a chat with a PhD student today from her garage. Wherever works for you, own it!
- Give yourself a commute. What??? I thought the benefit of working from home is NOT having a commute. It kind of is, but I have found that a little separation between home and work, physically and temporally can help. So, before you sit down to work for the day, take a walk around your apartment, complex, street, and then get started. And when you take a break for lunch or other reasons, actually take a break. Close things up and walk away. And at the end of the day - leave the “office.” The first time I worked from home, I was in a tiny apartment, and I would literally lay a towel over my desk, covering my laptop and books and declare the office closed for the day. It sounds silly, but out of sight out of mind can really help, especially if your “office” and your “bedroom” are the same room.
- Maintain regular hours. It is hard enough as a PhD student to have a sense of schedule. Confinement only makes this harder. The more you can do to keep regular hours--whether those hours are early morning to late afternoon or late afternoon to midnight--as long as they are structured, it should help you with focus.
- Socialize. You can’t be in person with anyone but your family or roommates right now. That’s rough. We all need a break from those folks (or from our own heads) sometimes. Don’t go too long without a check-in with a friend. And remember, even if you don’t think YOU need one, maybe your friend or family member does. So, help them out.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself! Working remotely is hard under the best of conditions. I ran an entirely remote team for about a year, and it was exhausting. You are under more stress and strain than the “average bear,” so own those little mistakes, own your days when you can’t be “productive,” and be gentle with yourself. You will get there.
For Those Who Can Sew:
UCI Medical Center is accepting donations of home-made masks. You can drop off on 4/11, 4/18, or 4/25 at Parking Lot 83. firstname.lastname@example.org for questions. Here is the video they recommend for instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FB--BOyTiU
I’ll be sewing some this weekend with the kiddos and will let you know how it goes. I got a good tip today that if you have jewelry making wire at home, stitching that into the top of the nose area can help with fit. As a side note, this is evidence that it does indeed all come full circle in life. I first learned to sew in grad school. I was, let’s be honest here, procrastinating from working on my research and so got tutoring from a fashion student in the evenings. I am pretty sure sewing is the only thing that will keep me from getting thrown out of the compound in a zombie apocalypse. I have no other post-apocalyptic skills. As a test to see if you are still reading, feel free to tell me any useful skills you will roll out when the zombies come.
Fun UCI Zoom Backgrounds to Download
Are you missing campus like I am? Take your Zoom experience to the next level by downloading some of these great custom UCI Zoom backgrounds. Click here to take a look!
Hardship/Emergency Support Funds Available
We are all doing our best to adapt to the changes that COVID-19 has brought to our way of living. There are undoubtedly additional hardships facing our community during this time. These hardships may occur in different ways and affect some of our students and postdocs differently than others.
For those of you who find yourself in financial distress, please fill out the Request for Hardship/Emergency Support Form for small grants to support emergency needs. While we can’t guarantee support to everyone, we will strive to assist you with the resources we have available. Please note that this includes childcare challenges for those who are having them given that we cannot reimburse childcare expenses with current centers nearly all closed.
2020-21 Applications for Continuing Student Fellowships Are Open
We have shifted some fellowship funds around and hope to be able to support a good number of students, particularly for this summer when you most need it. The following three student fellowships are now open and accepting applications. Please check with your school or program for their internal deadline and note any changes in awards from previous years that have been put in place in response to COVID-19 and an effort to get you through the next several months. More information about each fellowship is available at https://grad.uci.edu/funding/index.php
Faculty Mentor Program (FMP)
President's Dissertation Year Fellowship (PDY)
Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship (GDDF)
FMP and PDY fellowships are only available to Ph.D. students
GDDF is available to PhD and MFA students
For more specific questions please contact:
FMP/PDY: Daniel Fabrega email@example.com
GDDF: Claudia Campos, firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet Access Assistance
With many of us now working remotely, there is now higher demand being placed on our graduate students’ home networks. In an effort to help aid the performance of your internet speed, we have the following options to offer at no cost to you:
For those of you located on-campus and utilizing these networks, you may see an improvement by avoiding the use of your wifi and alternatively connecting directly to your router with an ethernet cable. Please use the following request form to determine your needs and request an adapter and/or longer cable: Ethernet Adapter Request Form. Be sure to measure how far you need to go. We can get some seriously long cables if you really need them, though PLEASE tape them down if you run cable all over your apartment. I once took out a good chunk of a major mountain west telco’s website tripping over a cable in a datacenter. #TrueStory
UCI has a limited number of Internet Hotspots that will be loaned out to our graduate students free of charge for those living off-campus. Priority will be given to those who do not currently have internet access at their residence. To determine if you qualify for the hotspot, please complete the following form: Off-Campus Hotspot Request Form
Please note, while we will do our best to provide these supplies, availability isn't necessarily guaranteed, and so as always please reserve these supplies for those who need them.
- AGS has emergency travel funding available: https://www.ags.uci.edu/services/travel/
- The Central Travel Office and Risk Services will host an encore Q&A on COVID-19 and Travel on April 9th at 11AM. Travel reimbursement questions: email@example.com
Upcoming Support Groups with Graduate Counselors
With the support of Harinder Singh, Director, Graduate Professional Success in Science, Tech., Engineering & Math (GPS-STEM), Graduate Counselors Phong Luong and Elizabeth Dunn are leading a new “Restore-antine Graduate Support Group” for Spring Quarter.
These drop-in sessions will be held several times throughout the quarter as a means for students to express their frustrations or ask questions in a safe environment, gain advice from the graduate community about establishing routine and remaining motivated, while sharing their wellness and school-from-home tips with their peers. The full schedule is below. Just click the Zoom link and you’re in!
- Thursday, April 16: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
- Thursday, May 7: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
- Thursday, May 28: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Come Visit GD:
Dean’s Virtual Office Hours: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057.
- Monday, April 13: 2:30pm – 3pm
- Tuesday, April 14: Noon – 12:30pm
- Wednesday, April 15: 11:30am – Noon
- Thursday, April 16: 9am – 9:30am
- Friday, April 17: 3:00pm – 3:30pm
UCI IN THE NEWS - COVID-19 Article List
- The New York Times, April 10, 2020 No Halt to Culture Wars During Coronavirus Outbreak
- The Atlantic, April 10, 2020 The Pandemic Will Cleave America in Two
- BBC News World Service, April 9, 2020 (Audio) How will economies re-open after Covid-19?
- The Conversation, April 10, 2020 Colombia hopes for ‘humanitarian’ ceasefire during coronavirus as violence resurges
- The Hill, April 10, 2020 Pandemic spurs court fights over mail-in voting
- Lifehacker, April 10, 2020 How to Cultivate Resilience During the Pandemic
- Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2020 Online COVID-19 diaries are helping people cope. They’re also a research gold mine
- The Washington Post, April 9, 2020 (Opinion) Opinion: Trump is wrong about the dangers of absentee ballots
- Mindful, April 9, 2020 How To be Mindful About Consuming Coronavirus News
- EdSource, April 9, 2020 Searchable database: How much will California colleges and universities get in emergency stimulus funds? This one is EXTRA fun. Search for University of California, and see which campus is anticipated to get the most funding.
- Patch, April 9, 2020 Masks Recommended For Essential Workers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
- LAist, April 9, 2020 Coronavirus In LA: Your No-Panic Guide To Daily Life And The New (And Changing) Rules
- KRTH (CNS), April 9, 2020 OC Health Officials Strongly Encourage Face Coverings
- Anthropology News, April 9, 2020 The Use of Money to Maintain Connection (and Toilet Paper)
- Engineered Systems, April 9, 2020 UCI Engineering Faculty Design, Deliver 5,000 Face Shields to Local Medical Center
I have had a lot of tough conversations this week in which I had to tell people that I couldn’t give them everything that they wanted. Sometimes this is because we don’t know what we don’t know yet, and we may be able to do it in the future. Sometimes it’s just not possible to do the thing that is being asked. It is never fun to have those conversations, but I believe in honesty, and I believe in open and transparent communication. Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University and director of Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program, said it better than I can:
“Honest people know that the road to success and virtue always involves shared sacrifice, hard work, and gratification postponed. Telling people otherwise isn’t leadership, it is pandering.”
I can’t promise to give you all what you want right now. However, I promise to tell you what I can do, and I promise not to pander to you.
Now, go enjoy your weekend. Take at least one full day off, and if you celebrate, eat yourself sick with hard boiled and cadbury eggs, preferably not together.
Looking forward to a day in the sunshine with you all,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division