The thought of not being on campus for the beginning of my junior year never crossed my mind, let alone taking a semester off from college entirely. When this became my reality, overwhelming thoughts of doom began to creep in. How would I stay connected to my school? What about my friends? What would I even do for a whole semester at home? Why did this have to happen to me?
At first glance, a semester off spent at home may seem very daunting, especially when we’ve all been used to the normally scheduled fall and spring semesters. Over time, I realized that this time at home gives me a new opportunity to experience things I normally wouldn’t have the chance to. Here are some of my tips on how to stay connected to college, while not actually being there.
- Join a Club or Activity.
For me, one of the things I miss the most are the clubs and activities I was involved with on campus, outside of the classroom. While some of those are still taking place over zoom, I felt like I needed something new to turn my focus to. When I found Her Campus, I knew that was it. I already had mutual friends who enjoyed being a part of this group of women, and I’m so glad I decided to give it a shot. Whether you like to read and write, be involved in politics, or make a difference in the environment, joining a new club that you can participate remotely will help you stay connected to the campus community.
- Do Something Meaningful with Your Time.
Whether you find a job, internship, or discover a new hobby, having something productive to fill your time is super important, especially if you’re not enrolled in any classes. You will have a lot of free time on your hands which can feel overwhelming at times, but if filled adequately can lead to many new skills and opportunities. I decided that my summer job working at a jewelry store wasn’t what I wanted to spend my time doing. Through connections, I’ve become a nanny for different families throughout the week while applying to as many intern opportunities to complete on the side, remotely of course! It’s important to partake in things that not only give you experience, but you genuinely enjoy doing. Anything to add to a resume while you can’t complete course work will help you in the long run.
- Remind Yourself You’re Not Alone.
One of the hardest things to understand is that you aren’t the only one going through this unprecedented time. We must all remind ourselves, no matter the situation, that we aren’t alone. This is the new normal, and each and every one of us has valid stressors. The key is to not let them overpower us too much. It’s okay to feel the negativity and uncertainty of the future but remember to keep things in perspective. The future is uncertain for everyone, so we must try to practice even more kindness towards those around us.
- Have a Familiar Face Nearby!
This last tip can be a little harder to come by, especially during COVID-19, but having a familiar face to spend the time with can make things even better. Living at home with my parents is great, of course, but when the opportunity arose for my roommate, and one of my best friends, to live with me this semester, I couldn’t pass it up. We both have a semester at home and realized the best way was to spend it with each other! If you can’t be with someone in person, like me, make sure to put in the effort to stay in touch. Weekly Facetime calls, frequent texting, and even zoom hangouts can help you stay connected.
In conclusion, one semester off isn’t the end of the world, and time will go by much faster than you think. Staying connected is an important way to make this time more positive. So, if you’re in a similar situation, take a step back and try to find some silver linings in your semester at home, you never know what could come of it!
Disclaimer: Her Campus at St. Law U is neither sponsored by nor affiliated with any of the first four brands or companies mentioned in this article.
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