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College in the COVID-19 Era

by Jenna Ranney, Content Manager

Our fall 2020 semester is turning out to be unlike any other, that’s for sure. Amidst the global coronavirus pandemic that disrupted spring semester and transformed summer vacation into a summer isolation, the transition back to school life this fall has surely been challenging. With staying safe and healthy as our number one priority, so much of campus life has changed this year, and no matter what your semester looks like or how it may change in the coming weeks, we are all facing new challenges.

For those of us who were able to return to campus this semester, navigating new safety guidelines and hybrid class schedules can be tricky. For the students learning remotely, this semester brings a few more months at home with Zoom meetings and online homework assignments. Whether you’re back to dorm life or not, the need for continued social distancing and extra safety measures this year has left most college students feeling a bit stressed, lonely, and frustrated. Remember that you’re not alone! As isolating as these last few months have felt, it's important to remember that millions of students across the country are in the same boat right now. So, as we all struggle to navigate online school and safely distanced social lives, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  1. You’re not alone! Now six months into a global pandemic, it's normal for all of us to be feeling anxious, scared, or frustrated. Safety concerns mean that we have to stay physically separate, but it doesn’t mean we are on our own. You’ve still got your friends, family, and loved ones on your side!

  2. Be mindful of your screen time. When we’re taking classes online, completing homework online, and connecting with clubs and classmates online, all those hours staring at a screen can add up! As much as you may want to relax by watching some Netflix or YouTube or TikTok, try your best to take a break from the screens for a bit! Giving your eyes and mind a break from technology can make more of a difference than you’d expect.

  3. Try to change your scenery. Reduced capacities of campus facilities and limited options for public spaces at home have left many students confined to one space—whether it's their dorm, their apartment, their house, or elsewhere. But staying in one room all day can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Taking a walk outside or even spending an hour in a different space can work wonders for your mental health!

  4. Reach out to friends. Talking to other people who make you happy is the best way to make yourself feel better when you’re down. Reaching out to loved ones and friends who understand what you’re going through can be a great outlet for you to get some of those negative thoughts off your chest. Or, you can keep it positive and just use an hour or two chatting with friends to cheer you up! Spending time with friends can be the best remedy for a rough day, even if you’re standing six feet away from them or speaking through a mask or a screen!

  5. Be gentle with yourself! Right now is an incredibly hard time to be a student. It’s important to acknowledge all the new challenges you're facing, celebrate all the little victories, and allow yourself the rest and self-care you need. Whether it's a nap, an hour off, or a special treat, make time to do something for you today!

As we move farther into fall and deeper into schoolwork, remember that you are dealing with entirely new circumstances. There are bound to be some bumps in the road, and you should be incredibly proud of how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished in the face of these challenges. Keep moving forward, and don’t lose hope—better days are coming!


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