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It’s been just a little over a year since the pandemic began, and another semester is coming to a close. Most of my college experience has consisted of sitting in front of a computer screen and logging on to Zoom classes. While I’m hopeful for next semester, I can’t help but think about how crazy this past year has been, and how going to college during a pandemic changed me and taught me a lot about myself.

Nature is medicine

Going to class via Zoom meant that during the week, I was spending most of my time in my room rather than strolling through campus. Taking some time out of the day to spend a few minutes outside, getting some sun on your face, or driving past the ocean can do wonders. I know that I will appreciate simple study breaks in nature even when things go back to normal, and recognize how much it can be healing and refreshing.

The importance of a strong support system

College pandemic life can be isolating and boring, so having friends and family to count on is so important! Of course this was a given before the pandemic, but it really wasn’t until I was back at school (and far away from home) that having a strong support system meant a world of difference in wellbeing and comfort.

Boundaries

It’s easy to log onto Zoom and then stay on your computer all day doing homework or going onto you phone. The extra screen time from Zoom made me realize the importance of cutting down on screen time elsewhere and taking breaks.

Routine

My routine prior to COVID was all over the place, but logging onto classes from home gave my schedule a lot more flexibility. It’s something I’ll definitely keep in my life after the pandemic ends, too. Having a morning and evening routine ensured that I was making time for self care every day while balancing out the homework and work that I had to do throughout the day.

More and more people are getting vaccinated, which is a positive sign for college next fall. While no one knows exactly what next semester will look like, I’m hopeful for what’s to come. In the meantime, reflecting on the past year has shown me the important lessons COVID taught me about my life.

Ashley is currently a sophomore at UH Mānoa. She is majoring in biology with an interest in marine and wildlife conservation. In her free time she loves to practice yoga, read, create wellness content for her instagram @soulfullyashley, and explore the island.
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