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5 Ways to Survive Junior Year: COVID-19 Edition

The amount of pressure put on college students in today’s day and age is considerably high and throwing in the pandemic makes things even more difficult. Most of us sat in a classroom for the first time in 18 months just two weeks ago. Most of us just met people face to face who we became close with through a screen. We have finally reached a turning point, a moment in time we’ve all been eagerly waiting for. As exciting as it is, I have found this transition to be extremely difficult. Adjusting to crowded spaces, in-person learning, and social interaction are things I’ve struggled with after being isolated for so long. If you are also feeling this way, you are not alone. Here are some small steps we can take towards easing this transition!

Plan Ahead

Now that we have to account for travel time when it comes to getting to classes and extracurricular activities, it is essential to have a plan for the day. On Sundays, I like to sit down in front of my planner and write out each of my days, including time for meals and exercise. I have also found it effective to color code my classes and activities in my calendar making it easy to follow. Preparation is the key to success!

Take Breaks

In my opinion, this is most important! It is so easy to get lost in work and forget to take breaks but this can be extremely mentally draining and sometimes counterproductive. Allowing your brain time to decompress and relax will only improve the quality of your work. I enjoy going on walks as a way to step away from my computer and move my legs. I also enjoy taking breaks to talk to friends and family. 

Create a Comfortable Work Space

The more comfortable you are, the more productive you will be! Having a calm workspace will help to ease some of the stress felt while trying to finish assignments. I tend to load my workspace with my favorite snacks, candles, and essential oils to help me focus. I also enjoy having my desk by a window to provide some natural light and fresh air.

Work in Self-Care

Practicing self-care means setting aside time to do things that make you happy! For me, this means exercising, journaling, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing in front of the television. At the beginning of the week, it is crucial to set aside time for these activities and to follow through with enjoying them to improve overall mental health and well-being. 

Get Enough Sleep and Stay Hydrated

As college students, we’re supposed to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night. I can confidently say that this is something I need to work on and prioritize, as getting the proper hours of sleep will increase energy and productivity during the day.

I also feel that staying hydrated is on the same level as getting rest because of how much walking UMass students do on a daily basis and how much brain power we exert throughout the day. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated when fitting workouts into our schedules as a way to maintain overall fitness and liveliness. 

As college students, we are in this together and should support each other through the obstacles and challenges we’re facing. This can be accomplished through simple steps that can be adjusted to each person’s needs and routines.  

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Haley LaKind

U Mass Amherst '23

Haley LaKind is a rising junior communication and journalism double major on the public relations track. She is a content writer and the instagram coordinator for UMass Amherst's chapter of Her Campus. She enjoys exercise, travel, and time spent with family and friends.
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