News: We are in a Global Pandemic!
1 Universitarios se Manifiestan Frente a la Torre de la Libertad en Apoyo a San Isidro
Art by Wolfang Rugeles
By Daniela Lopez and Laura Santos
December 3, 2020 at 9:00 A.M. EST.
Now seriously, we do not think that the best way to inaugurate Urbana's blog first article is by detailing the objective events that all of us - oh, surprise - have been experiencing for approximately eight months. However, it is not a nefarious idea to offer our voices to the narrative of how the events of 2020 have affected us so far, personally, academically, and creatively.
In the first instance, the difference that affected me the most was, without a doubt, the lack of socialization. Even without being overly dependent on contact with others on a day-to-day basis, being deprived of this interaction obviously meant a substantial change in my routine.
Also, the fact that my point of work, study, and leisure was precisely the same table prevented me from disconnecting mentally and leaving stress behind. This, in turn, decreased my academic performance somewhat since no one is totally infallible under continuous tension.
Anyhow, since almost any problem has a solution, I got a method to make myself a little more efficient. It consisted of making mental lists at the beginning of each day and start by doing the easier tasks. Although it seems like an unimportant habit, it is proven that starting our day with the feeling of having done things well (for this reason, we start with the easiest ones) later facilitates our performance in the rest of the tasks, due to the fact that our motivation increases.
As for Urbana, when the lockdown began back in March, we all abruptly switched to an online format with essentially no prior experience - had never heard what a "Zoom" was until then. We used Google Meet instead. Our staff had been used to meeting at least once a week for two or more hours in our Little Havana Urbana room, and now, we had to work remotely. Back then, I was editor, layout designer, and illustrator and let me tell you, creating a whole magazine from scratch while socially distancing with no knowledge of sharing software remotely can cause some tension.
It was funny because eventually we decided to use Dropbox so the layout doc updated any time someone would work on it; but, if two people opened it at the same time, the file becomes corrupted and ruined. We had this shouting method, if someone was using it, they had to put it in the chat so no one would open it, thing is, we all forgot to either say it or let the others know we were done. Fun times indeed!
As the design season began, we all met when it was most convenient for all of us, at night. We started a meeting at 6pm and did not finish until midnight or even later, and the next day, repeat all over again. Even though we were physically separated, meeting with them every day created a connection because we'd share our uneventful isolated day (except for Wolfang who'd go out to install ACs with his father during the day and Maria who worked at Amazon). I even got a bunny who unfortunately passed away but she'd be shown on video almost every single day while I sat on my bed working on layout details - everyone loved Harriet the bunny and mourned her death with me.
Other projects like the podcast also fostered this behavior as well. Through all these meetings, which were many and very long ones, we established a sense of friendship and connection similar to the pre-covid standards but with the virtual spicy twist.
Ultimately, the inception of this project, The Urbana Blog, came from the need and desire to connect even further, to make our voices and opinions heard when far apart. It is, like Urbana, a student-led project that aims to reach our audience with conversation regarding cultural and current topics that are relevant to our community. As a matter of fact, this idea was brought up by a group of students that saw Urbana as a potential platform and outlet for their creative endeavors through the creation of something organic and periodic, like the blog.
Laura Santos is currently the co-editor-in-chief for Urbana Volume XIV and former editor and layout designer for Volume XIII. She is a first-generation immigrant originally from Honduras who has a deep passion for challenging the status quo and improving her community. As an orphan who migrated to the United States in 2014, she holds deep interest in social policy. Thus, she is pursuing a political science degree at The Honors College at MDC with ultimate purpose of become involved in policy, journalism, and government affairs. She is an avid fan of MMORPG, "World of Warcraft" and during her free time, she enjoys writing, reading, binge watching historical fiction, and playing videogames in either Nintendo Switch or PC.
Daniela Lopez is a psychology major at Miami Dade College, currently in her second year at the Honors College Dual Language program at Eduardo J. Padrón Campus. She is also co-Editor-in-Chief of Urbana Literary & Arts magazine for its volume XIV, as well as the secretary of the recently founded club JapAnime. Her greatest passions consist of spending quality time with her loved ones (including her cat Chessi), reading, consuming audiovisual content, and learning curious psychological facts.
Harriet, the bunny.