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How To Adapt To A Class Routine, According To A Her Campus Editor

Today, we’re talking about college class routines. In Ask An Editor, Her Campus Editors answer readers’ questions about how to be a human. This month, Her Campus’s Deputy Editor, Iman Hariri-Kia, hosts office hours. 

Dear Editor,

How do I adapt to a class routine after being in lockdown for over a year?

Sincerely, 

Late To The Lecture

Dear Late To The Lecture,

So, I know every other week, I log onto my silly little computer and write my silly little column and promise you that you’re not alone. But this time, I seriously mean it: You’re not alone in your anxiety. The pandemic messed with all of our abilities to establish a regular routine. And returning to a life full of commuting (whether that means taking the subway or walking across campus), classroom politics, and getting up to go to the bathroom knowing everyone’s eyes will be on you is way easier said than done. 

For a year, you’ve been able to roll out of bed and log onto Zoom. You’ve played music in the background of your lectures and been able to bring your brain food with you from course to course. There’s been more than plenty of time to study and cram and less performance anxiety when you’re taking an exam from the comfort of your teenage bedroom, with your Squishmallow cheering you on. How on earth are you expected to just snap your fingers and go back to normal?

Well, maybe the solution lies in redefining what “normal” means. After all, you’re never going to be able to get that time back or become the person you were pre-pandemic. So why should your class routine look the same? I’m going to suggest a few coping mechanisms that worked well for me, including some that I’m incorporating into my day-to-day post-pandemic life as an adult. Try them on for size, and we’ll take it from there — together. 

Design Your Class Schedule To Accommodate You

Not the other way around. If you’ve gotten used to rolling out of bed, patting down your hair, and turning on your camera for class, recognize that the transition back to being primped and proper by 9:00 AM sharp will most likely be a rough one. Instead, opt for classes or dissertation groups that meet later on in the afternoon or throughout the day or courses that provide virtual options. Have your class schedule meet you halfway, instead of the other way around — at least for your first semester, while you ease back into the IRL classroom setting. 

When It Comes To Class, Try The Buddy System

Another option is teaming up with friends in your major or your roommates, organizing your class schedule to take courses together, or in adjoining classrooms and buildings. That way, you’ll have someone to shake you out of bed, walk you to class, and keep you alert. Having a friend can also come in handy when it comes to social anxiety and classroom politics, organizing study groups and guides, sharing notes, and more. Although education is an individualized experience, and everyone learns differently, going through the transition with a buddy can help you feel less alone. Plus, the classroom allies you make will be your friends for life — I’m still tight with two girls from my thesis group to this day.  

Teachers Can Make All The Difference

When you’re still getting into the swing of a class schedule and routine that isn’t governed by when your parents are using the kitchen, or your sibling has to take a shower, having a guide can make or break your experience. And that guide is — you guessed it! — your professor. Do you need someone who challenges and motivates you? Are you looking for an ally who will understand how difficult this transition can be? Look up the professors you’re considering taking beforehand, and pick one according to your needs. Then make an effort to introduce yourself on Day One so that you’re cemented and communicate how you’re feeling. Forming a professional relationship with your professor can take some of the pressure off of the adjustment. 

Remember that transition periods are inherently challenging because you have one foot in the past and the other in the future, so the only way you can cope is by being as present as possible, checking in with how you’re feeling, and serving yourself the best way you need. The way you’re feeling right now won’t last forever, so remain patient with and kind to yourself. You’re a new person, so don’t hold yourself accountable to older, outdated expectations. 

Bestie, you’ve got this. 

Love,

Iman

Iman Hariri-Kia is a New York-based writer, author, and Her Campus Deputy Editor. A 2017 recipient of the Annabelle Bonner Medal and a nationally acclaimed journalist, she covers sex, relationships, identity, adolescence, and more. Her debut novel, A HUNDRED OTHER GIRLS, will be published in spring 2022.
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