How to make the most out of a difficult situation.
March 2020 has certainly brought a lot of changes to the way we live our lives, the way we interact with others, and the way we learn. As of this month, colleges and universities have turned to online teaching due to COVID-19, and many students are adjusting to a brand new approach to education. There are unique and unprecedented challenges to face, but there are a few ways to make the situation more manageable.
Find your routine
It is very easy to become lethargic and unmotivated after being thrown from your average day-to-day routine, so make sure you create a structure to keep on track. You may no longer be living in your dorm or your off-campus apartment, but you still should wake up at the same time as if you were physically going to attend class. Make sure you get dressed, keep up with personal hygiene, and if you are able, try to incorporate movement into your day. I take virtual yoga classes before I begin my day and it has definitely made me feel more productive.
Keep up with your studies
It may feel as if life has been put on pause for the time being, but that is not the case. If your college or university has transitioned your classes online, you may feel tempted to snooze through them. I’m encouraging you to fight through that urge. This is a universally unfortunate ordeal across the world, not a vacation. Use the online materials provided to you and find new ways to keep yourself organized. For example, if you feel that after starting your virtual class that you might take better notes on Google Docs than with a pen and paper, go for it! If you’re a visual learner and you think you’d rather hand-draw diagram, you should do that. Keep up-to-date with deadlines and assignments on Google Calendar or in a notebook; either way is perfectly valid as long as it works! You may also find yourself in a brand new learning environment, so make sure you eliminate distractions as best you can. Personally, I cannot work in the same room I sleep in, so I make sure to move to a room in my home that is quiet and has plenty of natural light so I can keep focused. Even though you are not surrounded by your peers and facing a professor in person, you should still try to avoid going on social media or texting. Take thoughtful notes and, if your lectures are being recorded, make sure you download them before your next assignment is due so you can refer back to them.
Social distancing does NOT mean social isolation. Text your classmates and friends to see how they’re coping. Be honest with your family if you’re feeling lonely. Go play with your dog (who is most definitely very glad that you’re with him). Finding time for socialization is a part of the college experience and just because you aren’t face-to-face right now, it doesn’t mean you’re actually alone. For example, my friends and I watch movies over FaceTime and, while it isn’t ideal, it definitely makes me feel better.
Dealing with COVID-19 is now a part of all of our lives and it is important to stay smart, strong, and safe. Remember to follow the guidelines led by the CDC and that we are all in this together.
Kasey graduated from UMass Amherst in 2017 with a degree in Communication and English. She now works for Macmillan Learning as a Digital Marketing Assistant. As a self-described 'Real Adult in Training,' you can most likely find her somewhere in downtown Manhattan showing strangers pictures of her dog or hunting for the undisputed best place to get waffles!
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