The end of the summer may mean different things for different people-- especially in light of the global pandemic, COVID-19. For some, it may mean returning to campus for in-person or hybrid classes. For others, it may mean that school isn't resuming in-person at all. Whatever the case may be, we are all headed into uncharted territory.
With all of this comes a lot of stress, as we try to readjust ourselves to whatever the new norm maybe. So how do we maintain a healthy mindset? How can we still be good students even if our learning format is now completely changed? It's the question that almost every college student is now asking themselves. I, for example, am a self-proclaimed procrastinator. Even if I am given an entire semester to do a certain project, I will leave it until the day before, as my laziness has convinced itself that only my best work gets accomplished with the encouragement of pressure.
And I know that I am not alone, even in the slightest. We're all human, and we're all juggling other responsibilities like jobs, clubs, sports, etc. This new change could very well mean a brutal disruption to the haphazard routine we've created. Thus, planning and organizing for this new semester is crucial in order to get through these unprecedented times.
Familiarize yourself with your environment.
Get comfortable in it. Whether you're self-quarantining in a dorm, living with your friends, or staying home, get adjusted to your surroundings. Find the most peaceful spots for studying, whether it be in your bed or on your porch. Find the quietest spot that would be perfect for a Zoom class session. Note the times of days that are particularly loud and busy. Since we are no longer going to be in a setting where classrooms and libraries will be open for academic getaways, it is important to map out the best places to focus on work prior to the semester starting.
Plan, plan, plan!
Scheduling is going to be key to surviving this hectic semester, and a planner is bound to be your best friend. Make note of all important dates and times, like class hours or due dates, and constantly keep updating it! Having your professors' contact information on hand is good too, just in case something goes awry. Organize in whichever way is most effective-- color coordinate, set alarms, stick post-it note reminders everywhere. Do not fall behind! Once you allow yourself to start slipping, it'll only be that much harder to get back to where you were.
Make time for yourself.
Again, the times we are in right now are insanely stressful, so make sure you are focusing on yourself, as well! Your productivity will lower if you are pushing yourself to a breaking point. Instead, allocate time for whichever hobbies calm you the most. Have your new Netflix show bookmarked for easy access, or make a Spotify playlist to de-stress on breaks. Don't forget to pay attention to your mental health as well; go a step farther and surround yourself with loved ones (as safely as possible), and do not be afraid to ask for help when it is needed.
Don't be afraid of trial and error.
There will be some kinks in your routine, but it'll be that way for everyone! Remember that it's okay to make mistakes during all of this, and that some things may work and others may not. You may think that sitting on your porch is a great place to study, until maybe five o'clock traffic hits and suddenly you can't hear yourself think. Or maybe you planned to do all of your work in bed with your pajamas on, but find that you are having trouble staying awake. Know that this is all okay! No one knows what they're doing completely, so don't be too hard on yourself if you get frustrated with some mishaps. We are all only human at the end of the day, and mistakes are going to be a part of it. Embrace them, learn from them, and move on from them.
Remember to keep your physical health in mind as well, and be sure that you are practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and sanitizing as needed!