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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

Now that schools are open again for in-person classes, we have to reset ourselves to a new “normal.” Most of us haven’t even had the chance to attend any in-person university courses or any kind of formal examinations before, and we know how daunting that can be as students. You’re starting a whole new chapter of your life after high school and now have the added-on pressure of facing it all in person after years of online learning. It’s important to acknowledge a few things: Because we don’t live in a perfect world, your classes may be awkward and you may find yourself in uncomfortable situations—especially in smaller courses. However, everyone is going to feel this way, meaning you’re not alone!

Our social norms have been skewed by the lack of face-to-face interactions brought on by the ongoing wave of COVID protocols, so returning to a swarming social environment will be overwhelming. But the best thing we can do is try to laugh off the awkwardness and keep things light! You may have noticed during the first couple of weeks of courses that this swarming social environment can cause awkward situations and can make it hard for you as a student to focus or cause you to feel anxious and frustrated. These are all completely valid and common feelings. Hopefully, our tips will help you get over them or at least lessen your troubles. 

1. Create a routine

It’s important to aim to create a new routine for yourself to easily get into a steady groove that keeps you focused and running on good habits. With routines, we can build predictability and structure. By having a routine, you’ll eliminate some uncertainties, which will in turn help you diminish some of those anxious feelings. Additionally, routines have been proven to help students excel, so you’d be boosting your study habits and your academic performance as a student overall, too! These habits can include creating a steady sleep schedule and bedtime, setting mealtimes, predetermined study zones, timed study breaks and study hours, and most importantly, dedicating time to yourself for fun and relaxing activities. 

2. Share and Connect

The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that you’re not alone in being uneasy in your return to in-person learning—all your fellow students are in the same boat. Communicating with your friends and sharing your experiences and feelings can help you feel more comfortable and at ease with the whole situation. It can also strengthen your bonds with your classmates as you build instances to relate to together. As students, you’ll understand each other the best and building connections based on your shared experiences will allow all parties to relax, let go of those frustrating and anxious feelings, and feel more comfortable with your situations. Everyone needs a safe and supportive space in their community and this can be the perfect doorway for that much-needed safe space. 

3. Ensure Safety and Sanitization 

Although it may feel like COVID has come to an end, it still exists!! We need to remember to maintain strong hygiene habits and to keep ourselves safe and clean. With the constant bombardment of COVID sanitization methods being thrown our way, we probably all feel as though a set of hygienic methods has become second nature to us, but it’s important to maintain these habits and to ensure that we sanitize and avoid unnecessary threats to our health. By practicing sanitary behaviour like proper hand washing and mask-wearing, we can ensure our safety and the safety of those around us while also following the measures and guidelines set in place in our community and school.

We hope these tips will prove useful to you and can help you with your transition to in-person learning by making it easier and smoother. As students, it’s important to stay efficient with our time, energy, and actions. Take your first in-person semester easy, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and make sure to stay flexible and open to new chapters in your life. Good luck! 

Mina Sehri

U Ottawa '23

Mina is in her fourth year of Joint Honours in Political Science and History with Co-op. She hopes to pursue a career in law! She is a huge raptors fan and loves going for car rides or reading to unwind. She loves to travel and hopes to see the world one day.