When I started college, I couldn’t have imagined the challenges I was going to face. College is a learning process in every way possible; it would’ve helped to know what I was really getting into. Here are the things I wish someone told me before my first day.
Professors can be scary, but don’t fret, they don’t bite. Building a relationship with professors could result in a letter of recommendation for your dream job, a job referral or advice to kick-start your career.
Broke college students should NEVER say no to free food. Take advantage of events with free food such as workshops, club meetings or info sessions where you can feed your tummy and mind at the same time.
Your dorm or apartment will become your safe space in college. Rooming with your friends isn’t like your childhood sleepovers. Often, personalities aren’t as compatible in close living quarters. Choose your housemates carefully.
Covid-19 is changing the all-American college experience. There is no more late-night munchie runs at 3 a.m., house party hopping, or late-night cramming with friends in the library. The spirit has completely changed, but all for the greater good of keeping others healthy and safe.
Still, that doesn’t discredit the fact that we are losing the value of our education by it moving online. We’re no longer able to use the campus as a resource to help fuel ourselves academically or socially. We long for the day we are able to build a sense of community again.
Here’s how Covid has changed the college experience and what you can do to make it better.
The Move to Online
Being a college senior myself, remote learning has taken a huge toll on me. My days are lengthened with logging on to Zoom for everything, and yes- even my pair of blue-light glasses can’t keep me focused.
I find myself eagerly waiting for my professor to say “That’s it for today everyone,” and sometimes can only hang in there for half of the time. I’m constantly left feeling anxious and frustrated.
I was sure that universities would begin to understand how different students cope with a very tricky, unstable, and scary situation at hand. However, I’ve experienced the opposite. An overwhelming influx of papers, online assignments, and weekly quizzes quickly presented themselves. Not to mention more group projects. Weekends soon became “working-weekends” and with assignments piling up I truly felt like I was drowning.
It wasn’t long until I had to think for myself. How am I going to cope with the now? I needed to figure out the best plan I could to navigate something out of mine and everyone else’s control. If you too are struggling during this time whether it be financially, academically, emotionally, etc, please know you are not alone. Below are some resources that might help each day go by just a little better than the last, and hopefully give you peace of mind.
COVID Emergency Assistance Funds
The last thing that we want to do is pay full price for online learning, especially during a pandemic. So check with your college or university about COVID Emergency Assistance/Relief Funds.This has greatly helped students access resources such as food, housing, course materials, technology, and affordable health care. In some cases, they even pay you to be at home. Additionally, FAFSA is allowing students to get even more aid granted despite if they were already given their semester disbursement- so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Trust me, we all could use a little help in this area. Luckily, Tuition Funding Sources’s (TFS) database connects students to monthly scholarships based on needs, wants, and qualifications. They have highlighted “scholarships of the day” as well as career aptitude tests that can help your search become even more personal.
Businesses are also partnering up right now to help students around the world get the support they need to further their education.The McDonald’s® HACER ® National Scholarship assists Latino students to be front and center and attain the education they deserve. In 2019, more than $500,000 was granted to 30 students in order to help finance tuition costs. And better yet, The 2020-2021 application period just opened October 5th.
This app is a lifesaver. From brief wellbeing exercises to longer guided meditation, Headspace is offering free downloadable tracks that can help you ease your mind at home or on-the-go anywhere and anytime. Tune in when you need a break or to re-center yourself.
Sometimes hearing someone speak and having an honest conversation about a certain topic is really fun to engage with. It provides us another perspective other than their are own, and it’s interesting to get a glimpse at the way other people live. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to listen to an episode can help ease some stress, reminding you that others are by your side who, too, have felt the same chaos.
For a great selection of podcasts, search Spotify or Apple Podcasts to start the search on some good series.
Be Patient with Yourself
Remember, this pandemic is not forever although it might feel like it right now. Do not feel like you are responsible for the frustration you are undergoing. Take some time to care for yourself and take a step back from the craziness of the world to remind yourself that things will get better.
Talk to a friend, counselor, or therapist if you find yourself in a crisis more than you can bear. Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 service to anyone who needs some support and wants to speak with someone. What’s nice is you have the option to either call or text, depending on what’s most comfortable and effective for you.
Get-togethers are looking a lot different right now, but you can still plan an event that will keep all of your friends together. Zoom can be a wonderful platform not only for the classroom, but to catch up with everyone. Plan a “Whine Night” where you talk about all things life or vibe to shared music. Your university should give you an unlimited personal meeting room link so you don’t have to pay a dime for the time.
Virtual Social Hours
Many universities are offering virtual social hours so students can connect to each other and get more of a sense of community as we navigate through the days. Check online on your school’s website to see what types of activities they are offering students at this time, and what events might fit your personal or career interests. You never know who you might meet!
Find Your Hobby
Having a go-to hobby during this time can give you something to look forward to and be an escape from all the ongoing chaos. Look into things like surfing, socially distanced yoga classes, cooking, or hiking to get you feeling joyful and inspired. Try one thing out and see if you like it, and if not who says you can’t just move to the next thing? You’ll be surprised at what you discover will be your next “thing.”
The pandemic has definitely made college life and life, in general, a whole lot harder. Know that it is completely normal to feel mad, sad, scared, or anxious about what’s to come. With these tips, my only wish is that they help you cope just a bit more as they have for me. Together we will get through this, slowly but surely.
The moment you graduate from college is the best feeling in the world. But riding that wave of relief for too long can have serious repercussions. Here’s what not to do after shedding the cap and gown.
Nothing sounds sweeter than spending six months on your parents’ couch watching the entire series of OITNB after four grueling years of school. Beware, too long of a break tells prospective employers you’re lazy.
Most lenders give a six-month grace period after graduation to start paying back student loans, but some recent grads pretend that period never ends. Take financial responsibility before you do major damage to your credit score.
Job seekers! Hiring managers look at your social feeds. Don’t rant about your ex or post drunk #AboutLastNight pics, it’s not professional. If you just can’t help yourself, make all your profiles private.
Money isn’t everything. And while paying off credit cards and loans is a priority, so is finding the right job — the one that challenges, stimulates and makes you want to stick around for more than a year.