"Though a lack of motivation and procrastination is going to be prevalent in my life, disciplining myself is an attitude I can carry."

April 30, 2020

Discipline. The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior; a sense of control, direction, or order.

This "new norm" has taught me discipline. With the semester winding down, it has been tough to keep the motivation I once had at the beginning of the semester. Ever since virtual learning was implemented into my lifestyle, my brain was almost rewired to believe I didn't have any "real" classes. Going from class to class, having long breaks, needing to wake up early and dreading to get on the train to school, were all part of the routine that kept me aligned with the work I had to do. I started off the semester with a lot on my plate––working at Gap, being a full-time student, volunteering at the New Museum, trying to get involved with on-campus clubs like Encounters Magazine or the UNICEF organization, and joining a meditation group. I always had to plan ahead and coordinate timing to ensure my schedule went smoothly. Now, I am at a complete standstill. Everything that kept me busy has now disappeared.

I am no longer going to networking events after long days of school, my job recently furloughed their employees, and the hands-on clubs don't work efficiently without a face-to-face relationship. Losing all that action has prompted a lack of motivation and procrastination.

Another thing that had prompted my lack of motivation was fear. Since graduating from high school I haven't had a steady time at college. I went from a college upstate to then going to Lehman College, a college that didn't have my major and was too far of a commute, to finally coming to Baruch. My first semester at Baruch was spent with me trying to readjust to the intense business classes and solidifying my place as a "Bearcat." This was going to be MY semester. I was going to build a community through the clubs I was interested in, be able to show off my school spirit in games, be on top of my academics, and end the semester with a high GPA. And then a pandemic hit. It's almost as if I couldn't catch a break. The thing that scared me most was my ultimate dream to study abroad. I didn't have the ideal GPA I wanted for Fall 2020 (nor would I have wanted to go given everything going on), but I knew I needed to work extra hard to study abroad Spring 2021.

I always have had a sense of procrastination. However, now it seems as if I was shielding myself away from all my responsibilities. That's where discipline comes in. I looked at my calendar a couple of days ago and realized I had exactly one month until the last day of classes. I had piles of assignments I had yet to do, exams coming up back-to-back, and papers that clearly would not write themselves. I knew that one thing that kept me from saying "whatever" to my assignments was the thought of being on a plane in January en route to England. I grabbed all my planners and decided it was time to organize the plenty of time I have in applying myself.

One of my planners highlights my overall wellbeing, something I genuinely appreciate. With this particular planner, I'm able to highlight goals, write affirmations, and organize my days in depth. I then have a notepad because physically writing things down in-depth helps with me break down assignments and plan how I want to execute them. My digital calendars are the most helpful because of the color coordination and the fact every time I look at my phone or open my laptop, I have a notification of assignments.

Discipline is crucial in trying to get by this semester. I've learned that virtual learning doesn't work for me because I am just doing assignments to get a grade rather than learn, or I am learning on my own and struggling with the material. Though a lack of motivation and procrastination is going to be prevalent in my life, disciplining myself is an attitude I can carry.

"Paola is more than just an Advisor and mentor—she's a best friend who's helping to guide me through the world of adulting. For us, it was never just about guidance in school but about all of me."

April 17, 2020

Hi, my name is Niezum from, and I'm from Queens, New York. I am a sophomore at Baruch College, majoring in Digital Marketing and minoring in Journalism en route to graduate with a BBA in May 2022. Bottom Line came into my life almost magically. I was on my way to class when I received a call from an unknown number. Usually, I would ignore such calls, but I remember my gut telling me I needed to pick up. If I had not picked up the call from Bottom Line, I genuinely do not know where I would be in life.

At the time, I was at Lehman College, a choice I was forced to make after having an experience of displacement at a private college upstate. My ultimate dream was to go away to college. That experience crushed my dream. I settled for a city school, and in hindsight, it turned out to be the best decision I made.

My very first Advisor, Jessica, made me feel welcomed at Lehman, reassuring me that our time together was going to be worthwhile. If it weren't for her, I would not have gotten the opportunities that I have now. We worked on my transfer to Baruch College, she helped me get my part-time position at Gap, and she referred me to another first-generation program, Project Basta, to help secure internships and full-time jobs. My short time with Austin, my first Advisor at Baruch College, made me feel confident in the new environment. He was incredibly hands-on to rid any worries I had over financial aid issues and adjusting to a whole new world.

With this pandemic, there's been another obstacle put in place –– it feels like my whole life paused. I was excited to start joining clubs and building a community of my own. Since middle school, I've been involved in either the newspaper or literary magazine club, and now at college, I wanted to continue the pattern. It also put a halt to in-person classes, preventing me from socializing with my peers and making friends. Internships I was excited to interview for canceled their programs, and I was furloughed from my position at Gap. My life went from a speeding train to being stuck at the station.

My current Advisor, Paola, has been truly inspiring. I remember our first conversation where she spoke about her time at Columbia University and her thesis she wrote on mental health in women of color; I knew I wanted to be under her wing and pick her brain. From the day we met, she was like a sister, offering a helping hand to chase my dreams. Every time we talked, she would push me to pursue my interest in writing. She offered to be my writing mentor, connecting me with top writing platforms and overall being my motivator. During this time, she has been nothing but patient and understanding –– qualities I value. Telling her about how disrupting this pause in my life is prompted her to help reorganize my life. Previous to this, we spent 45 minutes rearranging my entire schedule to delegate time slots for studying, socializing, and extracurriculars. Recently, we spent another 45 minutes talking about my schedule for the fall and how I can start thinking about organizing my life then. Every time I speak to her, she is always willing to help no matter how tedious it may be or ridiculous the question is.

I think if I can put into words what I am experiencing right now, it's by putting into perspective the image of confinement at home but living in your head all day. My mental health has ​halted the motivation I had when I would be able to sit by the large windows at Baruch doing work, seeing my friends, and being excited to go to club hours and basketball games. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with four people. With my sister taking business calls in the bedroom, my mom making food for the entire family, and my dad checking up on relatives across the globe, it's left me on the small part of the couch focused in on my computer. I'm big on needing my own little space, and when that's taken away from me, it's hard to be productive. Constantly being at home has also tricked my brain into thinking I don't have anything to do — it's like I'm covering my eyes and ears from responsibilities.

To avoid disturbances, I wake up at the time I usually would for class––before my parents –– and try and do as much work as I can. Doing a little studying leaves me feeling a sense of accomplishment, which results in me having a good day (small accomplishments are still accomplishments!). It has been hard trying to stay on track with my work primarily as both professors, and the students are lost. Bottom Line has been acting as a backbone. Paola is constantly trying to help me make this my new norm.

What has been helping me get by is making a comfortable set up for myself. Through the weekdays, I would spend my morning at my kitchen dining table, basking in the private, quiet, morning. I've gotten back into journaling to get my thoughts and feelings out on paper and meditating to help keep me grounded. I did fall off the schedule Paola and I worked on, but for the most part, I've adjusted it to fit my new normal. One of the most significant accomplishments I have had since this pandemic is that my mind is surging with creativity. My dream is to start a magazine, and through the inspiration I gained from Paola's writing and motivation, I am starting my own website. It is an online magazine to represent the underrepresented and speak about things I never grew up seeing in the media. For me, there is still a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Paola is more than just an Advisor and mentor—she's a best friend who's helping to guide me through the world of adulting. For us, it was never just about guidance in school but about all of me. If it weren't for her or Bottom Line, I would be at a crossroads. I would not have secured the part-time job I hold, I would not have been able to transfer, I would not have the connections I do now, nor would I be here embracing my love for writing. I miss the in-person relationships Bottom Line provided, from the movie nights to the networking events. And I wish we had more online resources to connect again. Bottom Line continues to support students from not just the baselines but from within as. They encourage you to make you the best version of yourself, and I thank every person who has had even an ounce of contribution towards who I am becoming.