The Leatherby Libraries building on the Orange campus isn’t the only place where student employees help with the work of running Chapman University libraries. This week’s installment in the Leatherby Students from Home series talks with Lillian Phan, who works with Health Sciences Librarian Ivan Portillo in the Rinker Health Sciences Study Commons.

1. What has been the most challenging aspect for you of studying from home so far, and how did you overcome it?
When staring at a screen for so many hours a day to watch online lectures, then hours more to study, it can be hard to focus for prolonged periods. This decreases productivity. In order to combat this, I take 10-minute breaks for every hour of screen time, where I do not look at a digital screen for the entire period. I would go on a run, perfect to get one mile done, or quickly prep some cookie dough from scratch. This allows my eyes to relax and for me to not get overwhelmed by the volume of online work.

2. What do you miss most about coming in to work at the Study Commons?
I miss the great environment of the library. It’s lovely being in a clean, open, sunny space filled with books, fellow hardworking students, and classmates. The vibe of the library is very motivational and homey.

3. What book(s) have you been reading recently?
Other than school textbooks, I am a huge fan of non-fiction and self-improvement books. I am currently re-reading The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. It is amazing that changing your habits, even if small, can positively change your life immensely. A habit I have been working on the past few months is waking up at 6:30 am.

Cover of the book The Power of Habit. The cover is yellow with red and black font, and there is a simple image of three black stick figures on a red spinning wheel

The Power of Habit, Lillian’s current read

4. What remote resource(s) from the Leatherby Libraries have you been using the most while you study from home?
Now that courses are all online, online resources are more important than ever. I enjoy utilizing the online databases for ebooks that are required for my classes. Additionally, this is economical. I definitely recommend it, and am happy to help you find the textbook you are looking for!

5. What is your number one piece of advice for other students learning remotely right now?
Try your best to stay focused on work for a 30- to 60-minute period of time. No social media, television, or phone usage in that time. Then reward yourself for focusing so well with a 10- or 15-minute break to exercise, get a snack, call a friend, or play a quick game. This will prevent you from burning out emotionally, and refreshes your mind! It adds some variety into your routine so every day feels different.