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Survival Kit: Zoom University (or 2020 in general…)

If I described the world’s current situation as “crazy,” it would surely be an understatement. Similarly, if I said that virtual college is enjoyable, many would definitely raise their eyebrows! When I heard that my school was going fully online this fall, I genuinely panicked—how in the world was I going to stay motivated and sit at a desk all day long, staring at a computer screen and attempting to understand Differential Calculus? My classes started last week which, lucky for you all, has given me a chance to reflect on what makes a virtual learning environment the best for my productivity and overall sanity. Here are some tips to help you survive Zoom University this fall. You’ve got this, I promise.

Make a Spotify playlist — or seven.

Spotify has truly been my best friend since the start of classes. There are so many playlists and podcasts that make the day go by quicker when I’m studying, working out, or just trying to relax. If you can’t find something made by Spotify that you like, make your own playlist! Compile all of your favorite songs, the tunes that you study best to, or just the jams you love unconditionally - and make yourself a cup of sunshine right on your screen. It’ll make schoolwork and life more bearable - I promise.

Mood lighting —  a must!

If I’m going to have to spend so much time sitting at my desk, I at least want it to look cute and homey. Thus, mood lighting is essential. Whether it’s a string of Christmas lights, lovely positioning by a window, a lava lamp, or candles, there are so many easy and affordable options that will help spruce up your space and make it really cozy for all those late nights.

Lots of healthy snacks!

If there’s anything that is super important to remember, it’s that your brain needs food to function properly and perform optimally! Snacks, therefore, are crucial. Pick a few of your favorites — I’m definitely a dark chocolate enthusiast, and there’s honestly no stressful situation that a fresh, juicy apple or a handful of almonds can’t fix. I also love to munch on air-popped popcorn during class or sip on a refreshing protein shake with Greek yogurt — tasty, healthy, and satiating. Make sure you balance them and also pick healthy options so your brain will get all the goodness it needs!

HYDRATE!

I cannot stress this enough — DRINK WATER. Since you’re probably looking at your screen all day, you are much more prone to headaches and sore eyes — drinking water makes all the difference. It is so so important to hydrate so that your body functions properly — healthy body, healthy mind, healthy attitude, and then success!

Have some go-to beverages!

Attending virtual college is definitely a series of ups and downs — some days it’s easier, and some days, it’s much much harder. However, I personally find that my favorite coffees, teas, and matchas get me through the day. It’s comforting to reach for a mug of soothing herbal tea or frothy coffee when your reading assignments start to feel interminable. I guarantee that this is a game-changer!

A way to physically de-stress

Since the start of virtual classes last week, I’ve really been trying to make exercise and physical movement a priority. It’s really refreshing to go on a walk, run, or do some yoga after sitting in one mindset for so long! Plus, exercise releases endorphins, which do wonders for the brain and body.

A fun wardrobe!

From what I have observed, the ideal Zoom University wardrobe combines comfortable loungewear with a few cute pieces. On days when you need more motivation, a cute outfit is an excellent choice. On other days, loungewear is definitely a must!

These are just some tips and tricks that are helping me survive Zoom University this fall! I hope they are insightful and useful.

Shiloh Harrill

Lafayette '23

enthusiast for all things literature, sunrise, and coffee-related
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