My name is Sadhana Madnani and I am a junior at Tufts University majoring in Child Study & Human Development and minoring in Education and Studio Arts. I co-founded the Tufts UNICEF Club after I first interned for UNICEF USA last summer (2019). The Tufts UNICEF Club launched officially in March, the week before colleges switched to online learning due to the pandemic. Since then we are constantly adapting and learning how to take our club activities online and you can too!
My college experience – I’m sure just like many others – changed completely as I resumed the remaining months of my 2020 Spring semester from home in Dubai, doing classes online during night hours due to the time difference. I would wake up in the late afternoon, have breakfast, work until midnight, have lunch, watch the sunrise, join my family having dinner while they have breakfast, then sleep and repeat.
Needless to say, I was one of many around the world who faced changes and adjustments during these times. However, in more ways than one, studying remotely and being home opened up doors of possibilities. I was able to intern at UNICEF USA remotely, tutor online, work on independent art commissions, and most importantly take some time for myself!
I focused on living in the present and enjoying my time versus stressing over the uncertainty of the future. All of us were forced to change our future plans and rethink the way that we live our lives.
Gone are the days of us attending 200-person lectures in a big auditorium or piling into the sports field to cheer on our school’s football games. Instead of greeting our friends with hugs, socially-distanced waves and elbow-taps are the new way of greeting.
That being said, it does not mean that we cannot have an incredible Spring semester. I will be back in the United States to resume classes predominantly online and a few in-person. The Tufts UNICEF Club has plans to continue engagement over Zoom and continue to share online resources of advocacy, social engagement, and education. This is the perfect time to read that extra book, listen to that podcast, and educate yourself on a topic you were unaware of before.
National Council member, Cynthia Yue, who has been attending George Washington University remotely during the 2020/21 school year shared their plans of virtual meetings, events, and fundraisers for their UNICEF Club. Her university has plans of decreasing in-person class sizes significantly and changing the schedules to a rotating basis, as well as ensuring everyone wears masks.
My point is that no matter where you are in the world or whatever time zone you are in, you can still have an amazing Spring semester. Part of the college experience is meeting your friends and interacting with new people who have similar interests to you and these are all things that can be done socially-distanced.
You have shown us since March 2020 how to advocate, speak out, fundraise, host events, and build community with your UNICEF Clubs to benefit children around the world. Keep being the incredible changemakers you are! You've got this! Seize the day! Or better yet, seize your Spring semester!
If you're looking to make the best out of this spring semester with your UNICEF Club and want to learn more about taking action virtually and hosting online meetings for your club be sure to check out the following resources: