For the last installment of the Leatherby Students from Home blog series for this academic year, Hakeem Wakil talks to us about missing putting together his fantastic book displays, and what he’s reading and working on right now.

1. What has been the most challenging aspect for you of studying from home so far, and how did you overcome it?

I think the most challenging aspect of studying at home is getting distracted by chores or technology. Sometimes, I’ll sit on the couch for a short break and I will get sucked into Netflix. Other times, I will realize that there is laundry that needs to be completed or dishes that need to be washed, so I’ll postpone my studying to focus on those. Getting distracted by these things sometimes results in me going to sleep quite late, which makes it difficult to wake up and start studying at a decent time. What I have attempted to do to overcome these challenges is set goals for myself. I will make a conscious effort to organize my time in a productive way throughout the day. Setting goals and being proactive on chores – not letting them pile up – has helped.

2. What do you miss most about coming in to work at the Leatherby Libraries?

A wood and glass display case containing approximately 20 books, all on the topic of war

Hakeem’s most recent book display

I miss making displays! Making displays was one of my favorite parts of working at the Leatherby Libraries. Being able to research a topic, select different books, and assemble it in a way that is visually aesthetic is something I really enjoy. I was looking forward to making a couple of displays towards the end of the year, including one about Peace. It was always fun working on a display and seeing some of my friends who were passing through the first floor.

I also miss my coworkers and supervisors. It was always nice being able to have conversations with the lovely staff that works in the Leatherby Libraries. Many individuals would always engage in interesting conversations with me. I also miss being able to have lunch on the terrace.

3. What book(s) have you been reading recently?

The cover of the book Black Teachers on Teaching. The cover is black, with orange and yellow font, and a black and white picture of a Black male teacher in a classroom with Black students.

Hakeem’s current read even comes from one of his displays!

I have been reading Black Teachers on Teaching, edited by Michele Foster. It was a book I found one day while making a display

4. What remote resource(s) from the Leatherby Libraries have you been using the most while you study from home?

I have been using online databases. I am conducting research right now about the mathematics of the Alhambra, so I have used the database a few times to find sources. I have also used the database to look for different journals that align with the content I am researching/writing.

5. What is your number one piece of advice for other students learning remotely right now?

I would say try to take advantage of the extra time. We have so much free time right now that can be put to so much positive use. Whether that is spending time with family, reading a book, or picking up a hobby such as drawing or music, make the most of it. When our lives resume, we are going to miss the time that we had. I hope that a majority of people can come out of this situation having gained something by utilizing the extra time.