Student Q&A with Summer Blanco

CPP student Summer Blanco

Summer Blanco

5th year biology major, botany option
Social justice leader at the Pride center

How have you adjusted to staying at home and virtual instruction?

It has taken some time to adjust to virtual instruction in my home. What has helped me the most, as cliché and repetitive as it may be, is creating a schedule. It took some experimenting to finally get into a rhythm to complete assignments, while also scheduling breaks and time for myself. I also had to try out different working spaces – my backyard, my kitchen, my bed, my desk. Now I have a dedicated workspace in my room and a daily routine, where I schedule in time to complete all my assignments at the beginning of every week.

What do you miss about Cal Poly Pomona?

There are so many things that I didn’t realize I took for granted! I miss swimming at the BRIC every week to get energy out (no pools are open now, sadly). I miss all the interaction I had with peers, professors and staff – from being in class besides friends and familiar faces to hanging out at the Pride Center on campus, and everything in between. I even miss the long walks from the new structure across campus to the College of Science.

What do you miss about life in general?

I am a total extrovert and being around other people gives me energy. My favorite thing to do in my free time was to go out dancing with friends. I really miss being able to have that interaction with those close to me and strangers wanting to do the same thing.

How do you connect with your friends and peers, and how do you find inspiration and motivation?

My friends and I have Netflix Party’s multiple times a week. We also call each other to briefly check-in throughout the week. Since we’re all dealing with a lot, we only Facetime/Zoom once a week or so.

I’m a graduating senior, so this is my last semester. Once I graduate, I will prepare for PhD studies and join a plant biochemistry and molecular biology lab at Michigan State University I am interested in utilizing my research background and experiences to enter a biology graduate program and spearhead diversity initiatives like the ones that have uplifted me.

What’s kept me motivated is knowing that I am moving towards that long-term goal, no matter what happens.

Do you have words of encouragement or gratitude to share with the campus?

Remember to take time to take care of yourself, above all else. These are difficult times, and it can be easy to funnel all of your anxiety into productivity. But try and allocate time in your schedule for yourself if you have the energy and means to do so.