If you’re in college right now, it’s probably not a time like anything you expected. COVID-19 has affected everyone it seems, but college students, in particular, have seen significant changes in their daily lives.
Sometimes the impact of these effects isn’t as acknowledged for college students as it is for other age groups.
While there is now an approved vaccine in the U.S., experts have warned it could still be some time before we return to a sense of normalcy.
Whether you’re an undergrad student, or you’re a postgraduate in law school or another graduate-level program, the following are some general things to keep in mind:
1. Maintain Structure
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that structure is necessary in your daily life, even if your routine looks nothing like it once did.
The structure you give to your day doesn’t have to be typical of what other people are doing. It just has to work for you.
You’re probably doing most if not all of your learning online, meaning your routine has been gone for some time now.
Getting good sleep, taking care of yourself, and eating well are all part of establishing a healthy, functional routine.
2. Excelling in Your Classes
It can be tough to find motivation when your classes are online.
You need to commit to not only attending all classes and supplemental activities but also to studying. Act as if studying is part of your job. Build it into the set schedule that you follow every day.
As the fall semester is drawing to a close, you might not have been as successful in your online classes as you would have liked. However, a new semester is about to begin, so rethink your strategies.
Since it is close to the start of a new semester, consider creating a study calendar.
Go over your syllabuses from your instructors and document all of your big assignments and deadlines.
Create a plan around these deadlines for how and when you’ll study.
Everyone is already facing enough stress as it is, without adding to it rushed or missed deadlines.
When you’re creating a study schedule or mapping out the semester, be realistic. Sure, you might feel like you want to do everything, but that’s probably not going to happen.
If you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, you’re going to get frustrated. Now is not the time to be hard on yourself.
Your instructors should provide you with extensive online resources, so take advantage.
When you’re listening to video lectures, take notes by hand. That helps the information become more ingrained in your brain.
It’s easy to duck out of class conversations when you’re doing things remotely, but don’t let yourself. Actively participate. Discussions are an important part of the learning process.
You might also have access to discussion boards, and participating in these conversations can give the topic you’re studying relevance and context, and that, in turn, will help you better understand and remember it.
3. Setting Up a Workspace
You might be learning remotely from your dorm or apartment, or perhaps you’re at your parents’ home for the time being.
Regardless, if you’re used to traditional college courses, it can be a big adjustment to do remote learning.
To set yourself up for the new semester, make sure that you have a learning space that’s quiet, away from distractions, and will set you up for success.
Keep the area clean and uncluttered, and make sure it’s a place where you’re focused on the tasks at hand.
4. Stay Connected
The social elements might be what you’re missing most right now, but just like you prioritize your academic goals, do the same for your social connections.
Whether you’re seeing the occasional friend in a socially distanced way or you connect virtually, social connections are an important part of your overall well-being, so don’t neglect them.
Also, consider getting together people from your class for virtual study groups.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Finally, be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to mourn what you feel like you’re missing right now, and you shouldn’t feel bad for that. College or grad school can be challenging enough even when you aren’t thrown into a pandemic.
Take care of yourself in whatever way feels right for you.
If you start to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, your school should have resources available so you can connect with a therapist or counselor, possibly virtually.
Don’t wait too long to get help if you feel like you need it.