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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Aggies share summer plans amid COVID-19 pandemic

A look into how three students are spending a summer like no other

The sun is shining, the school year has come to an end and Bachelor in Paradise is on: It’s summer. Summer is a time of exploration for many students — a time when to focus on school, potential careers or just relax. 

This summer, like much of 2020, however, is drastically different from the ones in years past. With COVID-19 regulations in place, many regular summer plans are no longer available, and summer plans have been adjusted to fit the new normal of the pandemic. Yet, students have still found ways to spend their summers productively. 

Samveda Rukmangadhan, a first-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, decided to take summer classes at Davis over the summer to get ahead. This is an option that many students have chosen due to the pandemic, as online classes can be done safely from home. In fact, in a message sent on May 8, Chancellor Gary May said there has been a 22% increase in Summer Session enrollment since last year.  

Rukmangadhan’s original summer plans were to travel to India and see family, but these have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Instead, Rukmangadhan said she decided to take two of her harder classes, CHE 118A and B, at a time where she can put all of her focus on them.

“I chose these courses because they are some of the hardest courses I would have to take,” Rukmangadhan said. “I decided, since many other health-related opportunities are closed over the summer, such as labs and hospital volunteering, I may as well focus all my time into harder classes.”

Kavenpreet Bal, a third-year genetics and genomics major, has a multitude of plans prepared for the summer. He is taking classes at UC Davis for Summer Session One and Two and, at the same time, he plans to continue his work as a microbiology assistant at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching hospital, where he will culture bacteria to assist in diagnosing various conditions in animals. Additionally, as a part of the Bhagat Puran Singh Health Initiative (BPSHI), Bal will distribute medical supplies to hospitals in need. Lastly, Ball will volunteer at Sutter Health and participate in mobile research at Hunter Laboratory. 

Bal shared his gratitude for all of these opportunities and looks forward to when restrictions are lifted so he can take on even more of his interests. 

“I am fortunate to be able to work at an essential job, take classes online and engage in mobile training/research, while giving back to our first responders and hospitals,” Bal said. “After restrictions ease up, I look forward to ideally being able to shadow physicians with specialties in internal medicine and emergency medicine.”

Rodrigo Altamirano, a first-year hydrology major, is enlisted in the California Army National Guard and plans on participating in annual training this summer. Altamirano will use this time to maintain and improve his skill levels, such as obtaining a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

Altamirano shared his excitement for his upcoming training during the summer, and emphasized its safety. Above all, his family’s safety is the driving force which keeps Altamirano optimistic for the future during these hard times.  

“Even though we only see each other once a month for our drills, my section is very close and knowing them, there’s not going to be a dull moment at annual training,” Altamirano said. “My chain of command, as with many others in charge, are going to do their best to keep the health and safety of their soldiers a priority. Knowing that my family is healthy and safe is what is able to keep me optimistic, to do everything you can to make sure the ones you love are safe is what keeps me going.”

Written by: Nora Farahdel — features@theaggie.org


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