Category: Lauren Mottel (page 1 of 2)

“Hobbies and Shedding Perfectionism” by Lauren Mottel

Over the course of the past year or so, I — like many, many other people — tried to find ways to pass the time and distract myself from the stresses and monotony of life at home. Among the more fruitful attempts of passing time, that was not movie marathon-induced naps or zoning out and staring at the ceiling, I had picked up a handful of hobbies and activities that have always piqued my interest. Some of these included yoga, getting some use out of my Nintendo Switch (see: Hades Game), bullet journaling and sketching, crocheting, and (gasp) writing (pretends to be shocked). 

I found that despite the initial distress and learning curve that came with virtual learning, it coincided with the stage in my life where I actually needed to start properly developing personal projects and time for myself that wasn’t dictated by my coursework. When the pandemic hit, I had only really experienced one full semester of college and hadn’t quite established a routine for what to do in my spare time besides studying or the occasional swim; in a way, I didn’t get to foster the sense of independence or explore my personality in the way that I had wanted to. This past year, I found that this influx of excess time, bereft of the intensive dual high school / club sports schedule, provided an opportunity to actively make use of that time by incorporating these newfound hobbies and projects. What’s more, it gave me something to structure my life around instead of robotically moving from screen to screen and gave my days a breath of fresh air.  Continue reading

My Virtual International Internship by Lauren Mottel

By the end of last fall semester, I knew I needed a serious recharge. It started fairly well and carried on as well as semesters can go, but after retrospect (which most realizations are apt to stem from), I had a delayed realization as to why that post-finals, drained feeling was hanging a bit heavier over my shoulders. 

After the collective last-minute struggle of abruptly adapting and transitioning to virtual learning last spring, as well as my choice to take a class over the summer, I realized that this past fall was the first fully virtual semester, stacked credits and all. Sure, it may have been a not-so-sharp realization, but knowledge is power, and this definitely had an impact on me. Last fall was neither the hybrid mix of the spring nor a single class over June. It was a set of core courses, heavy with foundational curriculum, and for some of them, the additional rigorous standards and expectations of my Honors sections—all of which were taken while I wrapped myself in a blanket at my desk at home. 

So yes, suffice it to say that the build-up of Zoom fatigue from last fall more than definitely garnered some much needed R&R and winter break was a welcome reprieve. However, I knew I shouldn’t stay idle for too long, lest I mentally regress and sink into the Lauren-shaped mold in my couch for the next four weeks. Despite the extremely valid need for rest, I knew I wanted to be productive over winter session, especially considering I didn’t do very much during this time the previous year. (Hindsight at its finest once again.)

Therefore, this past January I was fortunate enough to participate in a virtual international engineering internship, which not only kept me from withdrawing into a weighted blanket-induced hibernation but more significantly helped me gain great work experience in a really unique way. I was placed in a group with other UD engineers and paired off with the medical device company Renerve Ltd. based in Melbourne, Australia. Our task was to design and formulate a surgical implant product that met a desired function and applications and to provide a full-scale proposal for the product rationale, research and development, regulatory pathways, manufacturing, and marketing strategies—all within four weeks.  Continue reading

“The Seven Deadly Sins of Working from Home” by Lauren Mottel

With the current fall semester well underway, it’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed, with days upon weeks upon months since March and summer blending together into one purgatorial blur. I truly could’ve sworn that everyone was exchanging frog bread recipes and sharing other spring quarantine hobbies just the other day. However, staying at home for such an extended period of time can definitely have an impact on your behavior, inducing a monotonous cycle of waking, eating, working, and sleeping, akin to how the carefree, do-nothing quality of summer encourages rejuvenating laziness. What’s more, the adjustment period between the end of summer and the start of the school year is only exacerbated by the dull routines of quarantine, in which the sudden mountain of assignments, exams, and projects creates an abrupt change of pace that can leave just about anyone suffering from the whiplash of it all. 

Therefore, as we emerge from this blurred, purgatorial mindset and hit the books to do our best to muscle through this virtual semester, here are (in no particular order) the Seven Deadly Sins of Working from Home you may need to watch out for: 

1. Improper Zoom Etiquette: A Lesson in Hubris

Listen, we’ve all been there, but let’s just cut to the chase: please remember to mute yourselves. There’s nothing worse than to be listening in on a lecture only to hear the feedback noise of a classmate talking to their roommate—or in rare cases, cooking in the kitchen—ultimately drowning out the voice of your instructor. What’s worse is when your professor either mishears it to be a potential question and patiently takes the time to wait (only to be greeted with silence) or stresses for everyone to mute themselves, while you are none the wiser. Wow, I can’t believe people still need to be reminded to mute themselves, one may wonder. We’ve been virtual since March, you may think. Pride cometh before the fall. 

Continue reading

“The Art of Solitude” by Lauren Mottel

For as long as I can remember, I have had this underlying feeling of curiosity in my bones, an itching to create—in whatever form it may take—and a large part of that feeling came from school. I read any book in sight and tried to pick up on storytelling. I would peer at the dance of light on a fruit bowl and transfer that to still lifes for middle school art class. I analyzed iambic pentameter in English class and composed my own poems with their own heartbeat of a  rhythm. Constructed stories out of Spotify music playlists, tried my hand at photography—quite literally anything. However, as I grew older, my class schedules left less room for the arts in exchange for a looming tower of labs and lectures. Yes, I will admit, the standard essay for English 110 and colloquium or lab reports may do the trick sometimes, yet other times I can’t help but feel creatively stifled, and over time this feeling can build quite dangerously. 

There’s a certain restlessness with being idle for too long, now more than ever in this quarantine; it’s a very acute feeling, as if your fingertips tremble with the ghost of a twitch. By the same token, there are times where you can’t help but feel the weight of this quarantine as loneliness. As someone who has danced along the precipice of burnout more frequently than preferred in my very young life thus far, the desire to be productive being blocked by such a weight can be very debilitating. Yet with the two together, restlessness and curiosity, one can begin to reframe that loneliness as quiet solitude. To me, there’s a drastic difference between the two. From my perspective, loneliness has always been something that grew from insecurities and relentlessly ate at my mental health, draining color from life, whereas solitude is isolation willingly taken up, a time for self-reflection and expression when you have the time to notice the different shades of green in the garden, the rhythm of your breathing, or the way branches dance in the wind—life’s colors become brighter. The difference between the two is awareness—awareness of the life around you—and with restlessness and curiosity, it stimulates a desire to create something that can imitate and immortalize that life in whatever form necessary. Continue reading

“The Good Place and Stress Management” by Lauren Mottel

Welcome! Everything is Fine. At least, the latter is what you try to tell yourself as you grapple with a mountain’s worth of papers, homework assignments, and midterm study sessions—to the point where you just know that the “recommended” eight hours of sleep is going to be just  another pipe dream. Even now, with what seems like an eternal loop of “Special Report” coronavirus updates on all the news channels, the combined stress no doubt feels physically and mentally exhausting. We’ve all been there, truly. Nevertheless, those four words are also what greet you when you enter the afterlife, at least according to The Good Place

Written and produced by Michael Schur, famed creative behind The Office and co-creator of Parks & Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place follows the stories of Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), and Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) during their time in The Good Place, designed by the architect Michael (Ted Danson) and managed by a “Janet” (D’Arcy Carden), a humanoid database of all the knowledge of the universe. However, this takes a turn when it turns out that Eleanor—a supposed death row lawyer but in actuality an “Arizona trash bag”—is placed there by mistake and tries to earn her place there by learning ethics from Chidi, a former moral philosophy professor, while also trying not to blow her cover. 

It’s pretty much common convention that college students are professional binge watchers, capable of watching hours of content within the most unbelievable of time frames (time frames when we really should have been crossing some work off of our agendas, but alas). Regardless, this show is no exception, holding a coveted spot in my top ten list of shows, and there is no better time to chip away at your “To Watch” list than now.  Though I can’t provide much more context aside from this in order to avoid spoilers, the four seasons of The Good Place are designed with the creative precision of a Swiss watch, discussing major philosophical concepts with plenty of quick-witted humor slipped under the door that will make you belly laugh, alongside truly mind-boggling twists and satisfying character arcs. 

The characters and the chemistry they share in particular are what make this show so special to me and many other viewers. The Good Place was my go-to show to watch in the background while I did work/attempted to do work because in trying to manage my school work, I was enraptured by the storyline and found myself picking up on coping mechanisms exhibited by the characters’ personal developments—coping mechanisms that have been helping me from getting quarantine cabin fever during this difficult time. So without further ado, I present The Good Place’s Guide to Stress Management: Continue reading

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