by Kelsea Johnson

Hi March friends! If you’re anything like me, in this time of isolation, you may be beginning to feel stagnant! I’ve always been a person on the move! I love to work out, and travel, and hike and climb, and generally do all things active and busy. 

So, this begs the question: what in the world can I even do with myself if I have to stay at home, and away from public places?!

 One thing that I’ve decided on, is that I am going to be using this time to nurture myself (body and mind), and I would love to have anyone that feels similarly join me! Below I’ve provided a few of my favorite isolated “active” activities, and I hope they provide some solace in knowing that we are all in this together! I will be your partner in isolation!

  • Watch an outdoorsy movie: 

If you’re majorly feeling the outdoor fomo, this may escalate that (oops). However, it may help you get your nature fix! It is also an awesome way to get ideas for future travel plans, or adventures you’d like to have. If the ocean is calling you like it does Moana, you’re lucky that it’s on Netflix! Some of my favorite outdoors/travel movies include “Into the Wild”(2007), “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (2013), “Eat, Pray, Love” (2010), and like… any Disney movie ever. 

  • Play with a dog! Any dog at all!

Our furry friends are our best break-out partners! According to WHO, household pets  cannot contract the virus, so therefore you can cuddle them at will without risk! This is personally my favorite pastime these days. Take your dogs (or cats, if they’re into that) on a walk, to an uncrowded dog park, or just in the backyard to run around. The exercise and attention is great for the both of you. Get as much sunshine exposure as is possible in this period of time. Your body and “Fido” will both thank you for it.

  • In home workouts:

I get it. I miss the gym too! I am a person who lives for my endorphins at some point in my day. The good news is, there are lots of in home work out options that are just waiting to be utilized; many don’t even require equipment. If you’re a cardio enthusiast, I again recommend getting out for a jog (or walk) to get some vitamin D from the sun. I love a good workout video, however, and luckily for us, youtube has no shortage of that! A few of my personal favorites include, “Pop Sugar Fitness” (an array of dance, pilates, bar, HIIT, etc.), Yoga with Adrienne (for my fellow vinyasa junkies), and “Fitness Blender” (specializes the workout to different muscle groups per video)

  • Travel the road less traveled

If you are just dying to get out for a hike use your resources to find unlikely routes! There is an app that I love called “Alltrails” that is free, and can help you find safe and low traffic hiking routes. A lot of people in our area of Kern tend to frequent Wind Wolves, or even just the bluffs, but there are a lot of really amazing nature walks less than an hour away from Bakersfield. As always, make sure that you are going with someone, or a small group and practicing your 6ft apart social distancing rule whenever possible, but by all means get out and explore; just do so safely and wash your hands thoroughly upon your return.

  • Clean your room

Not to sound like your mother, but really, just try it! Put on your favorite music, and get your body moving. The state of our living spaces are a direct reflection of what’s going on in our psyche (ie- a cluttered room equals a cluttered mind). Pull a full on “Lizzie McGuire” (are you guys too young to remember that?!) and star in your own concert, complete with windex and sick dance moves. I promise your spirits will be much lighter once you let yourself have fun, and reap the benefits of an organized space. Mom will most definitely nag you less about it as well

  • Make a routine, and try to honor it

This one is big, but will earn you bonus points. Aim to get your standard 8 hours of sleep a night. Try to wake up at the same time every day and dedicate each hour to something that will make your day great. Make time for productivity, make time for leisure, make time for wellness, and make time for rest. Eat healthy whenever possible, and try to teach yourself a new skill once a week.  Check out this example schedule for ideas of how to begin!

Quarantine routine:  

7am- Wake up

-Skin care


-Make bed

-Eat breakfast

-Get ready

8am-something for the soul

Choose one




8:30am-11:30am- something for the brain

-attend online lectures

-do homework/study

-read for school

-Work for March Consulting

12:00-1:00pm- Lunchtime

1:00-1:30pm- Spend time outside

Choose one



-Go for a walk

-play with the dog

1:30pm-2:30pm-Something for the body

Choose one





-weight training

2:30pm-3:00pm- something productive

Choose one


-clean drawers


3:00pm-4:00pm- Something for the heart

Choose one






4:00pm-6:00pm- something fun

7-be lazy (netflix, social media etc)

-board games

-video games

6:00pm-7:00pm- Dinner time

-Take vitamins


-skin care routine


-express gratitude

-sleep by 10

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by Dakota Nash

As a student we are constantly learning new material or skills. We are putting that brain to work on a day to day basis. It’s important to keep your brain on fire that way when you return to school you aren’t extinguished. Especially now that school is out for a while. We want to continue to challenge our brains and not let them go stagnant. We all have the opportunity to learn something new everyday. Here is a list of ways to keep that learning flame burning, and enjoy your time doing so!

Ted Talks

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that Ted Talks are way better  when you actually want to watch one. Ted talks continue to be a huge part of higher education. As a humanities student, there wasn’t a single class that didn’t include a Ted talk. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Your body language may shape who you are by Amy Cuddy like 10 times. The best part is they are shorter than a 30 minute tv show.  There are a wide array of Ted talks out there here are a few links to some videos that could potentially change your life.

The new bionics that let us run,climb and dance- Hugh Herr

Underwater astonishments- David Gallo

How to make stress your friend- Kelly McGonigal

Brain Games

The greatest piece of technology we have right now is actually your phone. It’s readily available to us and there are games galore all over the app stores.  I can say that I spend a lot of time on my phone playing words with friends or some crazy puzzle game that I get frustrated with. Shout out to Apple for sharing our screen usage to us and personally attacking me each week with the crazy amount  of hours I spend on it. Here are a few fun games to challenge your brain

  • Brain Test
  • Easy game
  • Words with friends
  • Duolingo- Teaches you languages. Highly recommend to keep up your spanish or french.


Oh Netflix, my favorite streaming service! Netflix has no chill when it comes to their documentaries. There is a vast selection on there and on all of the other streaming services. Documentaries are an excellent way to see a part of life that you either can relate to or don’t relate to at all. I’m a sucker for a good true crime documentary, but here are a few others that can teach you something along the way.

  • Explained (Netflix). They cover a variety of topics and have special series. 
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney+)
  • What the Health (Netflix)

I want to challenge you to watch one “Ted Talk” a day, spend 10 minutes playing a brain game, and finally to watch a documentary instead of Grey’s Anatomy for the 3rd time through. 

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by Soren Filipski

If you are a student, tests have made you nervous, and you have learned from experience that too much anxiety can affect your performance. It can make concentration difficult, it can lead you to work too slowly or too quickly through problems, and it can fill you with feelings and ideas that distract from the test at hand. When anxiety affects you in these general ways you are often conscious of it, but it also has a more particular, unconscious effect that you may not be aware of:

Anxiety can also influence your judgment about how to answer specific questions.

Here is a common example:

Suppose you are taking the verbal section of the SAT and come to a problem where the question seems fairly clear to you, but the fourth answer choice contains a vocabulary word you just don’t know. (You studied your vocab hard, but this one fell through the cracks!) Now, the basic strategy for this situation is simple and well known: as long as you understand the first three answer choices, you can find the right answer merely by evaluating those three. In the simplest case, you may find the correct answer among the choices you understand. In a more complex case, you might find a fault in each of the first three answers, rule them out, and conclude that the fourth answer must be correct, even if you have no idea what it means. “I can eliminate the other three,” you tell yourself, “so this one is correct. It’s simple logic.”

And so it is, but anxiety introduces something different from logic, a foreign emotion that can obscure the correct answer even from a student who understands the correct method.

When we suffer stress, we feel a need for comfort, and nothing comforts us more than the things that feel familiar: my dog, my family, my favorite book, answer choices that do not contain strange words.

Time and again, students I instruct in SAT prep have told me that even though they understand the principle of ruling out the answers they can understand, they still cannot bring themselves to fill in the bubble for the answer they don’t understand. Why? “Because it is scary.” It simply feels better to pick their favorite answer from the three they know to be wrong. Faced with “an answer I do not understand, but can prove is right,” and “an answer I can disprove, but do understand,” students motivated by anxiety are instinctively attracted to the answers that comfort them, that is, the ones they understand, even if they otherwise see that they are incorrect.

So what’s the solution? The first step is to simply be aware that, like everyone else, you have a subconscious tendency to prefer familiar answers to well reasoned ones, the known to the unknown. Simply recognizing this will enable you to begin examining yourself when dealing with slippery questions. The next step is to address the root anxiety through practice and repetition. I sometimes wonder if the largest benefit that students get from practicing the SAT with me is that reviewing and analyzing questions and answers makes the test so familiar to them that it ceases to be an object of great fear. That is true of the test as a whole, but also individual question types. If you practice the SAT often, you will encounter many questions that pit reasonable answers against comforting ones.

As you repeat the exercise of choosing the difficult but correct answer, the decision to do so becomes a familiar thing itself and ceases to cause anxiety.

If you do it enough times, you can build such a habit of choosing that formerly scary fourth answer that the thought of picking one of the others is what really makes you feel stress. At that point, you will always avoid the type of error described above, because you have developed a positive allergy to it. 

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by Kiera Gill

Hey everybody,

So we’re living in very strange times. It’s a bit unprecedented, and if you’re anything like me, the constant stream of news and general upset of the established routine has left you feeling pretty lost and uncertain. Usually in times of uncertainty I find solace in my routine, but that kind of went out the window pretty quickly.

I’ll be honest with you, I was struggling! And I’m sure I’ll continue to struggle in different ways as the situation is ever-changing, but I have found a source of comfort, a sort of silver lining in this situation. 

Let’s take it back a bit. I’ve always loved learning. When I was a kid I would read anything I could get my hands on and if I saw somebody doing something that looked cool, I would immediately try and learn how it worked and how I could do it too. What I didn’t particularly love, however, was school. I was never very good with due dates and the regimented structure of school, without intending to, stifled the creative side of learning in me. I came to understand learning as a chore, not as an avenue to express myself. 

My love of learning reemerged, however, as soon as I got into college. The learning style is more self-created, you get to decide your own schedule and mostly choose the kinds of classes you want to take! This allowed me to finally rediscover what interested me, and I realized that I don’t have to make something my life mission in order to want to learn it or to enjoy it. I don’t always have to be able to profit off of what I learn, sometimes I can just learn for fun!

In this time of quarantine, suddenly all of us have been allowed that opportunity. Suddenly we have all of this free time, and we get to decide what we want to do with it. Now we’re faced with  a question: What do I want to do with this time?

My suggestion? Learn!

Learn that thing you always thought would take too much time, or that you never thought you’d have the skill set for. Go on YouTube, it’s a real treasure trove of information. I can almost guarantee there will be multiple tutorials for anything you could possibly dream of. And if that’s not enough content or guidance for you, find blogs where people talk about their experiences with your chosen topic, reach out to people, learn by doing!

To get you started, I’ve got for you five ideas (out of hundreds, maybe thousands of options) of things you could learn whilst quarantining/social distancing:

Learn to paint!

This has been something that I have been really getting into. I discovered that Walmart has 50 cent paint bottles and some really affordable brushes and canvases. There are tutorials on YouTube for every medium, at every skill level!

Learn to cook!

At home cooking is an important skill to have, perhaps now more than ever. There are so many different recipes available online, and just as many tutorials to boot! A favorite of mine is the YouTube channel Binging with Babish, where the host recreates food items from TV, movies, and video games. He also has a series, “Basics with Babish”, where he covers some classic staples that you could use for your everyday life.

Teach yourself to code!

The tech industry is our new frontier, although maybe not quite as “new” as I’d like to think. There are, however, new opportunities created everyday in this field, and learning code is a good way to get yourself on the cutting edge. 

  • Here’s a link to learning JavaScript (in one hour!)
  • Here’s a link to learning Python (in four and a half hours… break it up into a self-guided course!)

Learn a language!

Language takes time, and is really almost a puzzle. But at the end of this puzzle, you’ve opened up the world for yourself significantly. You can now read text of and hold conversations with individuals who you previously had minimal access to. Whole new worldviews are now available to you!

  • Check out Duolingo! It’s a free app that currently offers 35 languages, ranging from Spanish to Irish Gaelic to Klingon. 
  • If you’re learning Spanish (which I would highly recommend for Southern Californians), checkout Radio Ambulante, an NPR show where the hosts speak in Spanish and tell Latin American stories. Find it on Spotify, and, if you can, pair it with their app Lupa where they offer transcriptions and translations of each episode!
  • There’s also an entire French textbook available online, if you’d like that resource!

Learn yoga!

This one is great not only to keep you active in a potentially sedentary time, but it’s also an amazing meditation technique. One of the only ways I can get my very noisy brain to calm down for a second is to practice yoga and to really focus on my breathing. Get those endorphins, and get your mind clear! You can also take this one outside and get your Vitamin D! That’s a triple threat right there, folks.

Remember, you’re not alone. We’re all in this one together. You can do this, and in the meantime, we’ve got your back.

All my best,

Kiera Gill

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SAT Math Tips

20 Mar 2020

by Christina Varner

It’s hard to guess what math will and won’t show up on an SAT. The topics can range from anything a student is supposed to have learned in Algebra 1 to Geometry to Algebra 2. 

While the math can seem all over the place, there is a repeated structure for some questions that we can use to our advantage. Understanding what a question is asking in advance can save you time and trouble on the test. 

Let’s look at one of the question structures that is used repeatedly on the test:

The problems involve an equation or two, but in the places where we usually see numbers, they have used letters, in this case ‘a’ and ‘b’. The directions tell us that those particular letters (a and b) are “constants”. At this point, we have 4 different variables in our equations but two of them are meant to stay letters and two are not. 


When they say “a and b are constants” they are telling us that those are the letters that should be replaced with numbers. ‘x’ and ‘y’ will remain as the variables, which is helpful because they’re the ones we are used to always seeing in equations. 

So how are we supposed to decide what number to replace ‘a’ and ‘b’ with?

The question will also provide you the information you need to figure that out. You just have to know how to look for what that information is.

In the case of this particular problem, they already gave us the information we need when they state that the system would have “infinitely many” solutions.

If a system has infinite solutions, that means that both our equations represent the same function. We should look at the bottom equation as though it was originally the top equation and was multiplied by something. Since they gave us the coefficients of both ‘y’s (5 and 10), we can tell we must have multiplied by 2. Thus the original coefficient of x (2) should be multiplied by the same thing. And working backwards, ‘a’ on the other side of the equal sign should be half the value of -8. 

Here is the same structure being used for a quadratics based problem:

Again, we are supposed to complete the equation by figuring out what numbers to replace ‘a’ and ‘b’ with. The trick is figuring out how to use the additional information they have given us to do so! In this case, they have given us a table of values to work with. And what is a table of values but a list of points on the function? Each column represents an (x,y) or (x,f(x)) that is included in our function. The second column of the table tells us that when x=0, we should expect an output of -2. Now we can replace ‘x’ and ‘f(x)’ in the equation with these values and solve for ‘b’. Once we know what number to use for ‘b’, we can pull a second point from the table (1,3)  and replace ‘x’ and ‘f(x)’ again to solve for ‘a’. 

The concept they base the question on may change but the structure remains the same. By telling us that letters other than ‘x’ and ‘y’ (or ‘f(x)’) are “constants” they are telling us they should be numbers and it’s our job to use what they have given us to figure out what numbers they should be. 

Knowing that this is the aim of this kind of question will save you time figuring out the directions and give you a sense of where to begin in a question that looks rather bare and complicated. 

The more exposure you have to practice problems, the more experience you will have with these repeated structures so feel free to spend a little time each day working on practice tests. Besides, just attempting the math is forming connections in your brain that improve understanding, even if you’re getting the problems wrong! 

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