As August is coming to an end, returning back to school is near; however, this year, back to school is looking different for all of us. Whether it is college or elementary school, everyone is affected by change for this upcoming school year. My nephew is starting kindergarten this fall, as I start my second year in college, yet both of our schooling will look different than expected; having five and six year olds attend school for the first time virtually, and some college students stay at home to take classes. Many athletes’ seasons are cancelled or postponed until this virus is over, but when will this be? When will it be safe enough to return back to school and our hobbies the way we remember it.
For college students, many travel far to go to school; but many will have to experience the college life at home this semester. Many will not be able to go to campus, and those that are allowed will have lots of online classes. Many won’t be able to join student organizations without meeting over zoom, nor will they be able to get involved within their community as they had hoped. Although this virus has us all very anxious, worried, and stressed, your success this school year should not be negatively affected. To help make your school year feel a bit more organized and manageable, I have come up with some tips to help everyone; whether you are staying at home this semester, living on campus and attending in person classes, or just want tips on what to do when everything is back to normal.
First, I am going to start with some school tips to help those that will be having 100% virtual classes. This can help anyone in any grade.
Avoid doing your work in bed
This is something I had to learn the hard way. After waking up with papers and books all over me, I’ve realized that the bed was no place for studying. Trying to be productive in your bed is very difficult, especially if it is very comfortable. Your brain will associate your bed with sleeping, and you will eventually start to drift off instead of getting work done. Act as if you were in a classroom and go to a table/desk instead of leaning on your soft pillow.
Keep your room/work space clean
Making sure you keep your space clean is very important. If there is clutter all over, it’ll become hard to focus, find things you need, and stay organized. Having a clean and organized room helps you stay on top of all the work you have to do
Get ready as if you will go to class/leave the house
Make sure you get up, shower, brush your teeth, and get dressed everyday as if you were heading to class. It will help you keep up with what day it is, and make sure you are not just staying in your pajamas all day. It will help with productivity and allow you to feel refreshed everyday. If you get up and start the day the same you would if you were to leave the house, then you will build a routine of staying clean, productive, and focused on your work.
Get Air and Walk Outside
Whether you get frustrated, or just want a change in scenery, going outside and taking walks is very important. Instead of staying in your room or house all day, explore the outdoors on your breaks. Go run, bike, or walk for a few minutes without any distractions (phone, music, etc.). Nature has proven to improve concentration and can help you focus when you go back to work.
Have Bright/Good Lighting
This is pretty self explanatory, but do not work in a dark or dim area. Open the blinds and get some sunlight or have lots of lights in your room. How can you focus and work on your assignments when the darkness is just asking you to doze off. Make sure you have more than enough light to see properly, as well as help with concentration.
Make Your Own Schedule (if class is not at a specific time)
Many online classes will be prerecorded or will not require you to attend the class at a certain time in the day; instead, you are given a time frame to complete the assignment. In order to stay on top of this type of learning and not fall behind, create a schedule for yourself. Get a planner, and dedicate your time to a certain class every day, as if it was the time of actual class. Make sure you keep up with assignments and the objectives taught.
Do not go out or order grub hub every day. Get up and cook something new for yourself to keep yourself from getting bored and losing your sanity. Also, making sure you eat all three meal as well as snacking throughout the day is very important. Do not forget to take care of yourself and fuel your body before starting each assignment. If you eat before you start, then you won’t get hungry in the middle and distract yourself on food.
Attend Virtual Office Hours and Virtual Org Meetings
Don’t forget to stay involved in school. Although you are not on campus physically, you can still participate in activities and create friendships with people over virtual events. Check out what each organization is doing to help you stay involved. Along with this, check with your teachers and professors and see when their office hours are. Attend when you have questions, ad build a relationship with them.
Next are some school tips for those attending in person classes. These tips will help you stay safe and (hopefully) health throughout the year.
Have a Covid Kit
Having a covid kit in your room as well as in your backpack is a great step to staying safe. Be sure to include:
- hand sanitizer
- extra mask
- disinfectant wipes
Have a Quarantine Bag
Hopefully we never catch the virus, but things happen. In the case that you catch the virus, and will need to quarantine, here are some items you will need to take with you/have packed already.
- extra clothes
- chargers and all electronics
- toothbrush and other toiletries
Clean Room Regularly
Make sure you clean and disinfect your room on a regular basis. Now more than ever do you need to make sure you are in a clean environment
Have Air Purifiers or Plants
To help better your clean room, add a diffuser, humidifier, air puffier, or even plants to help clean the air and kill/eliminate bacteria
Ordering your food to either pick up or deliver is best when on campus. Avoid sitting down in large crowded areas, and try to eat outside or within six feet of others.
Check How Your Feeling/Symptoms Regularly
Be sure to monitor yourself daily. Check up on your friends and people you are around often. Make sure to check your temperature, wear your masks, and know all the symptoms of corona.
Avoid large crowds/high risk areas (bars, etc)
Self explanatory, but do not act stupid and go to bars, frat parties, or large gatherings with lots of people and no mask
Lastly, I have some college tips/suggestions for when covid ends and we return to normal
Use a Planner
planners help with organization and staying in top of classes, assignments, exams, and extra circular activities. Try using different color pens, markers, and highlighters to visually see what your plans are and what to complete first
This was something adults and teachers would tell me all in high school…to make sure I got involved in college. I realized the truth to it after joining for many different groups on campus. You build friendships and connections with people you would never meet otherwise. You also get to network with people in many different career paths. Being involved also looks great to put on your resume
Use Rate My Professor
If I knew about ratemyprofessor.com before college, I would’ve had a better first semester experience. Using rate my professor allows you to see what other students said about your class and teacher, the difficulty level, their final grade, and their experience within the class was overall. It’s free, and you can easily avoid scheduling a class with a terrible teacher.
Build Relationships With Professor/TA/Advisors
Go in to office hours and email your teachers to build relationship. You don’t realize how many connections they have or people they know that can help you in the long run. Professors are excellent to use for recommendation letters and references.
Acknowledge When a Major/ Course Is Too Difficult
College is difficult, whether you had a 4.0 in high school or not, you will have down points in college. However, be aware when something is too hard or difficult for you. It is meant to be challenging, but it’s okay to see and accept when a class or the major you are in is too difficult for you.
Its Okay To Change Majors
With that being said, it is okay to realize your major is too difficult or is not meant for you and can change it. In fact, more students change their majors instead of keeping the same one all the way through. I was one that had a complete career path change and switched majors. Make sure you explore all your options and pick one that you will succeed in. Find your passion, and find the major that most corresponds to it.
Look For Textbooks Anywhere Else
Frist, be sure you go to class and read the syllabi before you book shopping. Afterwards, go search up your book and find the cheapest book. Do not feel obligated to buy the book from your school book store. Some places that sell cheap books are
Find External Scholarships As Well As Internal
Every college and university gives away scholarship money and grants to students every year, so be sure to check your schools website to find them. But, you can always get more money outside of your institution. Many big named companies like Panera and Panda Express give out scholarships as well, so try seeing if your favorites brands or food stores have scholarships for you.
Branch out (try new groups/orgs and do something new every week)
This goes with getting involved on campus. Joining groups and organizations is a great way to branch out and try new things. I also suggest to go try something new each weekend. It s more fun trying new places to eat than eating at the same place everyday. Bring some friends and explore around.
Learn to say no (NO FOMO)
Finally, learning the importance in saying no. Do not be afraid that you will miss out if you say no; there will be another party, another sporting event, another time to do everything. Do what makes you happy and comfortable. The fear of missing out can sometimes hurt you.