Anna Schultz-Blue College Hat

Balancing Online Classes And Quarantine: Here's Where You Can Start

It’s that time of year again - the start of school, classes, club meetings, research, internships and the works. However, this time around, we have the added stressors and complications of COVID-19 that may leave us wondering how we can deal with all of our regular day-to-day college duties, as well as stay safe and healthy in the midst of this pandemic. If you’re like me, moving back to your college town and living in an apartment with your roommates and best friends can be a light at the end of the tunnel. But, it can also add some challenges concerning study space, scheduling and balance of life in general. First, let’s take a step back. Balance: that is what’s truly a key philosophy to living a well-rounded, happy and stress-reduced life in your new place during the new school year. Hopefully, subsequent tips and tricks can help you live your best life dealing with online college and apartment life in the 2020 school year!

  1. 1. Write it down!

    Back-to-school supplies, agenda

    I know it can sound tedious and monotonous, but I promise you that writing down everything you have to do for the upcoming day will really take that added weight off of your shoulders. It will allow you to really account for the time, energy and space that you will need to accomplish whatever it may be for that day. Either the night before or the morning of, get a planner, notebook or even just piece of scratch paper, and make a schedule with three boxes. One box will be filled with a to-do list of everything work-related you need to do that day (school assignments, job or internship work, etc.). The next will be a schedule of commitments you have that day (coffee with a friend, working out, class, meetings, etc.). The last box will be things you are going to do for your personal self-care that day (take a walk, meditate, call a loved one, do a face mask, etc.). Having this structure has really helped me, as it gives me motivation and a schedule for when things need to get done, and it also forces you to set aside time for yourself! If you start doing this, your life will seem more orderly and goal-oriented, giving you the stamina, structure and motivation you need for the days and weeks to come.

  2. 2. Switch up the scenery

    UCLA hill sunset sky

    This is really important for anyone living in an apartment, because staying in the same place all day takes such a toll on your mental health, productivity and energy levels in general. It really doesn’t even need to be a huge shift, but taking one in your bedroom, one in the living room and one outside at a park can give you some much needed variation in scenery to help with the monotony of online classes, meetings and work. I love taking a blanket and earbuds to do class outdoors. The fresh air and sunshine does wonders for your mentality and energy.

  3. 3. Have the talk

    two women talking

    While it may not be the most fun thing to do, it is important to have that chat with your roommates about how you’re all going to be working, going to class and living together as you all are going to be spending a lot more time together in the apartment than normal. It is really a big help to write some house rules on a document so everyone is able to see and access it if some questions pop up. This list can have sections like house cleaning procedures, COVID-19 rules and preferences, finances, food and all of that fun stuff that comes with growing into our adult lives. It comes down to mutual respect to know when it’s study time and when it’s movie night time, when to talk about more serious issues and when to have a laugh, and just how to participate in a home where everyone feels like their best self, mentally, socially and academically.

  4. 4. Know yourself and find time for fun

    two friends walking big dogs on leashes on a bright grassy hill

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but even now, I still feel like it’s go-go-go every second. It’s hard to come up for air and take a breather sometimes. But, of course, this is the most important thing to do for yourself. You know yourself, and you know when you’re feeling overworked, deprived or when you just need a hug. Listen to your body. Make sure to take the time you need for you. The assignment will be there when you come back from a long chat with your best friend. That paper can wait until you go and make yourself a cup of tea and listen to your favorite album. That email can wait to be sent until after you decompress and do a little yoga. I know it’s hard, since we all want to reach our fullest potential. But, that potential can’t always be reached unless we do take that time, that break, that walk, that chat, whatever it may be, and really just take a breath. It sounds silly, but this can really make all the difference.

I hope that these tips and tricks can be integrated in your daily schedule this upcoming school year. Take the time you need to decompress, work hard and flourish in whatever your passions may be. And just remember, this too shall pass. We got this!