The Return of In-Person Classes

While I can't speak for anyone but myself, I have found that the prospect of returning back to in-person classes has given me an insurmountable level of anxiety. Thinking about this, however, seems so backwards. Prior to last March, any change to my daily routine had a similar impact. I got so overwhelmed after any minor change to my plans, a problem which became much more noticeable once the COVID-19 pandemic started to increase in severity. It was crazy to try and comprehend that there would be a “new normal,” but recently, I have come to realize that this craziness has actually started to feel quite normal. I have gotten so used to making my own schedule, wearing sweats all day and not having to worry about going anywhere except to my laptop for a Zoom call. So now, at the start of the third semester impacted by COVID-19, I figured it would be a good time to lay out ways to manage the anxiety which has accompanied this pandemic and now this slight return to our usual lives.

Make sure to talk to your professors!

Prior to a little over a year ago, the reality in which we are currently living was something only heard of in a dystopian novel. Living through a pandemic, not to mention being a college student during one, was unprecedented. That being said, the difficulties we are all facing in classes and all subsets of our life are nearly universal. Luckily, for as many people as there are struggling, there are equally as many people who are willing to help. One of the best resources we have as students when dealing with the difficulty of classes is the professors of the classes themselves. I have yet to encounter a teacher in the midst of this craziness who isn’t willing to work with students to combat the challenges which have accompanied this pandemic. I'm sure that with most professors this semester, this is the case. If you are struggling with a class or any other portion of your life, whether it be academic or otherwise, make sure to reach out to professors. It is more than likely that they will be able to work with you to help manage the workload of the class or can connect you to resources that can help you with other issues.

Keep a routine for yourself! Not everything has to be different! 

I know that with any semester, whether it be online or in-person, I get overwhelmed at the prospect of having to overhaul my schedule. I like to be able to incorporate things into my day that aren’t in service of schoolwork, keeping myself both sane and happy. I think that it is so common for relaxing or fun moments to be the first things sacrificed when life gets stressful. That was the case for me, and I am sure for many others, when the pandemic first struck and we were put online. It was scary, shocking and felt unmanageable. As classes move back in-person, the same feelings have managed to creep back in, making it seem as if there is no time for anything else besides school and going to/preparing for class. However, it is so important to prioritize other aspects of your life, especially aspects that have continually supported you over the last year. Make sure to continue to make time for yourself, whether it be working out, eating a good meal, watching your favorite show or hanging out with your friends, roommates, family or significant other in a safe way. Doing things for yourself is just as important as maintaining your academics.

Keep yourself informed with TRUTHFUL information. 

One of the most challenging parts of the pandemic is the feeling of being disconnected. I have found that I have felt cut off and unable to find truthful information regarding the virus and its implications. This has become increasingly true as the pandemic has grown to be both a political and polarizing topic. Following the 2020 presidential election, it seems as though there is new and sometimes contradictory information regarding the virus everyday. Everyone has something to say. At this point, opinions are like masks, everyone has one, although not all are effective or based in facts and evidence. Many people have been convinced that the virus is a hoax and that there is no need to be concerned, false claims which have been publicized by various politicians, personalities and unreliable news outlets. On top of that, many other people have taken to social media, such as Facebook, to share their opinions in an attempt to go viral - no pun intended - for their thoughts. This continues to be difficult to navigate as social media and television are, in many cases, the only connection we have to the world outside a small bubble of people. This highlights the need for you to remain informed. Find trustworthy sources, such as the CDC or other governmental health websites, which can inform you about the impacts and changes of the virus. Also, remain aware of the University’s resources and policies for the virus which are also helpful.  Make sure to also keep an eye out for information about the vaccine and other ways to remain safe in this crazy time. Don’t get overwhelmed by the plethora of conspiracy theories and false information.

While there are many things that need to be managed during one’s life in the pandemic, the advice above may help you manage the stress which accompanies classes starting, whether they are in-person or virtual. Make sure to keep yourself safe and to continue to make yourself a priority amidst the growing to-do lists of the semester. Good luck with the semester, and hopefully next semester will be a less stressful, more normal experience for us all.