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Okay, let’s be real. None of us want to do online classes. 

Yeah, yeah – it’s the best thing to do to ensure public safety, allow for social distancing, but not lose time in pursuing our degrees. That’s all true. But, that doesn’t mean this doesn’t suck

Here’s the thing: the Covid-19 pandemic is the world we live in right now. Nothing about this is normal, and it’s OK to feel frustrated.

However, it’s a new semester. It’s time to stop the pity party and just make the best out of this really unfair situation. Here are my suggestions as to how to make the next couple of months as manageable, yet rewarding, as possible.

Make a routine and stick to it.

You’re probably sick of hearing this, but people are preaching it for a reason: you need structure and routine to both act and feel productive.

Back before the virus took over our lives, I used to have a pretty basic day-to-day schedule – I’d go to class, eat at a specific time and place, then meticulously go through the tasks on my to-do list. I’m doing the same thing now – just, instead of moving around, I’m staying in my apartment all day.

One thing that has really helped me form a routine is going by an hourly schedule every day, as shown in the image above. In my bullet journal, I have blocks of time spaced out for all of my tasks/activities, from waking up and eating breakfast, to going to class, to my breaks and free-time. It has been a lifesaver in creating that much needed structure, despite many of my classes being DIY. It helps ensure that I limit procrastination and am efficient in the way that I organize my day and tasks.

The nice thing about this, too, is that this schedule is completely created by you. You can be flexible with it – so if you wake up a little later than you planned to, or the readings you had to do for one class took a little longer than expected, it’s not a big deal because the only person you’re answering to is yourself.

That being said, stick to it as much as you can. For example, I try to wake up at nine every morning; sometimes I oversleep, but I always make sure to be up and ready by ten, which is when I want to start getting to work. 

Get ready every single day.

Ah, I can already hear the reactive groans. I know, I know. Getting ready? When you have nowhere to go? Could I have said anything more unnecessary?

But I’m telling you – this is an essential part of creating a routine. Get up and wash your face. If you typically wear makeup, go ahead and put some on (I just wear BB cream and a little bit of eyeshadow in the inner corners of my eyes). Get dressed in something you would normally wear to class, even if it's just a fresh pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. There’s something about getting yourself up and ready that puts you in work mode, and reminds you that today is a new day and it’s time to be productive!

Get up and moving.

This is something that I personally really need to work on. It is far too easy to just go between my desk and bed and have that be the extent of my movement all day.

Remember that your mind and body are linked; if your body feels slow and sluggish, so will your brain. If you’re able, go take a walk outside (wearing a face mask, of course). Try an at-home work out, like this folklore one I linked above. You don’t have to do anything too crazy, but try to keep your body engaged, even if it’s just the equivalent of walking between classes. It will keep your energy up so you don’t go insane just sitting and doing work all day.

Socialize and get involved – from a distance.

This is a huge stressor for first-years, and for good reason. Adjusting to college is already a hard enough process, and now the coronavirus has just gone and made everything worse. I know, it’s scary.

But that’s why it’s more important now than ever to get involved in organizations, to socialize with your peers as much as you can – even if it’s majorly virtual.

For example, I’m involved in the Young Democrats at UGA as well as, obviously, the Her Campus chapter. We have weekly virtual meetings. I’m even trying to get involved in some new clubs this semester, despite all of the craziness. Though they are not formatted the same, and it will definitely be a bit awkward the first couple of meetings, getting involved in fun activities with other students will help keep you sane. It’s important to have things to look forward to so it’s not just work, work, work all the time. 

Plus, remember: we’re all in the same boat right now, especially all of you first-years. Everyone’s scared and extra-shy, so don’t feel uncomfortable! We’re all just trying to make the best out of an unfortunate situation, and trust me when I say that the upperclassmen just want to help the first-years integrate as smoothly as possible into college life.

For the love of God, be easy on yourself!

Seriously – we’re in the midst of a global crisis where you’re taking a risk every time you go out to the grocery store. Despite that, you’re still putting yourself through college and taking classes in a way that they have never been done before.

Please, cut yourself some slack. There are going to be days where all you want to do is lie in bed and watch Netflix. There are going to be days where you feel so touch-deprived and lonely that you can’t focus on anything else. That is okay. 

What matters is that you try your best every single day to have some semblance of normalcy in these unprecedented times. Remember, progress is progress – don’t quantify it or compare yourself to other people who seem to be killing it during the pandemic. We can’t all be Taylor Swift and write and produce a whole freaking album in quarantine.

Just remember: whatever you’re feeling, however sad, stressed, or frustrated you may be, everyone else is feeling it too. Never feel like you’re alone in this because, really, we’re all in this together. 

Now, go take a shower, put together a routine, and make this the best semester it can possibly be. You’ve got this.

Nimra studies International Affairs and Journalism at the University of Georgia. She's a first-generation Pakistani-American who loves reading, astrology, Taylor Swift, and daydreaming.
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