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Mental Health

What I’ve Learned my First Week of Fall Semester

The first week of the fall semester has taught me a lot about how to be successful in our new academic reality. It has also reminded me that I am not alone. Everyone is nervous about learning online, including professors. This semester is really about adaptation and communication. Our professors have created syllabi and planned our classes, but after the first week, a lot of my classes have already changed in structure. The professors are here to help us and want us to succeed. My professors have been great about accommodation. All of them have asked us, students, how we would like the class to be run, and what type of online environment would be best for us to learn in. All of my professors have been very vocal about trying to create a sense of community while we cannot be physically together. [bf_image id="qg2f0y-awgq9c-cgbeqx"]

It may sound cliche, but now more than ever it is important to try to create relationships with your peers and professors. Take the time to ask for emails or numbers because we can no longer look to the person next to us and ask them a question. Take advantage of the Zoom breakout rooms and try to get to know people the best you can. I know Zoom can be awkward, but it only takes one person to start a conversation to make others feel more comfortable talking in class. Do not be afraid to ask for help because chances are there are many people who are feeling the same way as you. If something in your class isn’t clicking right, email your professor and try to find a solution to create the best learning environment possible. There is no such thing as a bad question, and once you create that relationship with your professor, it will be easier to talk to them about other things as well. [bf_image id="q7nop4-pr3rs-fhdtb9"]

My first week of classes I realized that I did not know anyone in four out of five of my classes. I took it upon myself to reach out and create connections in my class, and now I have a group chat or emails for all of my classes. None of us knew each other, but we now feel comfortable enough to ask each other questions and we use those group chats almost every class. I have struggled with anxiety for a long time, and although I was nervous to reach out to people, it has made a huge difference already in my semester. Although we may not be on campus, there are so many resources to make our transition to online school easier. The first week of the fall semester has shown me the importance of accepting the situation we are in and finding ways to help ourselves succeed during this crazy time. 

Ava Mullin

U Mass Amherst '22

Ava Mullin is a junior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, majoring in Communication and minoring in Sociology. She has been a dancer her entire life and also enjoys writing and spending time with her family and friends. Follow her on Instagram: avamullin
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