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Zach Rivers, Social & Administrative Pharmacy PhD

Zack Rivers

Lauderdale, MN

How are you adjusting to the digital classroom?
I'm enjoying the increased flexibility for some of my classes, where the lectures are recorded and I can watch them after my daughter goes to bed. It's forced me to budget my time differently, with one-two hour chunks for school, then a family/parenting slot, then back to school. That's probably the biggest challenge right now.

What extracurricular activities do you typically participate in? What does this look like in the new social isolation environment?
I'm an avid boardgamer, and I love to cook overly complex recipes, both of which are challenged in isolation. I've definitely played "Iron Chef: Zach's Freezer" already, to avoid multiple grocery runs in a week. I've connected with my friends over digital gaming platforms, so we can still play games, but it doesn't replace time spent together in person.

How are you staying active during this unique time?
We live on a relatively quiet street, so my wife, my 2-year-old, and I go for walks. The fresh air is much needed!

Do you have any creative ways for staying connected with your peers?
I organized a digital coffee hour for my department starting last week, where we meet over Zoom to discuss how our week has been, any research updates, and support each other through these times. I'm also more engaged on Twitter than I used to be, connecting with health outcomes researchers around the country.

How you have adjusted your environment to accommodate your class/study needs?
I've updated my home office, with a fancy new keyboard, mouse, and headset. My wife and I share our office, as she's moved to telehealth to connect with her patients, so figuring that out has been challenging.

Do you have a favorite quote that is providing you inspiration during this time?
From J.R.R Tolkein's Fellowship of The Ring:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The Our Virtual Campus series highlights health sciences students in this new era of online learning off-campus.