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Making the Most of Living on UGA’s Campus During a Pandemic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

It’s no secret that college right now is VERY different from what most of us are used to, but that doesn’t mean you have to absolutely hate your semester. Here are seven ways you can make the most of living on UGA’s campus amid the pandemic.

Play online games with your friends instead of meeting up in person.

A big part of college life for many students is being able to socialize, but unfortunately, it isn’t safe to do so in person. However, just because you may not be able to hang out with your friends right now doesn’t mean you have to be bored and alone all semester. Take some time to research online games and activities you can play (from a safe distance) with your friends. Consider logging back into your ancient Club Penguin account, or maybe download some multiplayer game apps like Fun Run (fast-paced and super fun racing battle game) or Evil Apples vs Humanity (online cards against humanity-like game).

Take advantage of Athen’s beautiful outdoors.

There are tons of things you can do to have fun without heading downtown each weekend. As the weather gradually gets brisk and the leaves begin to fall in the next few months, it’s the perfect time to explore the city and get some much needed Vitamin D. Plus, you can do so while practicing social distancing with some friends! Consider visiting Lake Herrick, the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, Oconee Forest Park, Bear Hollow Zoo, or Fort Yargo to get some hiking in. Take some super cute fall Instagram pictures, or many even have a socially distant picnic with some friends.

Give your notes/planner the organization and color coding they deserve.

If you’re anything like most other college girls, you’ve probably tried to make super cute and neat notes for your classes, although they’ve never lasted the whole semester. Lucky for you, now that everyone is stuck inside most of the time, it’s literally the perfect time for you to put in that attention and make the cutest Pinterest notes of your dreams. And you can’t sit and say you don’t have time for that, because we really all should have a ton of free time right now (unless you’re a chemical engineering major or something).

Take advantage of campus dining.

If you have a meal plan, whether it’s your first time with one or you’ve had one before, the dining probably isn’t exactly as you may have anticipated. However, in light of being in a pandemic, it’s important to make sure you’re still eating plenty and making the most of that fat check you already paid to the dining services. Consider ordering your own personal pizza and 2-Liter of soda from Snelling through GrubHub on a weekday from 4-10 pm for a fun change of pace. Or you could even have a social distance pizza party somewhere with your other dining plan pals. Also, take advantage of the Grubhub options for meal plans, and be sure to snag some snacks and treats with your order to ensure that your room is always stocked up for any late-night study sessions. And don’t forget the option to still eat in the halls with your friends by making a reservation through the GrubHub app. At your reservation, you’ll be able to build your plate with hot foods and sit down socially distanced with 2-3 friends to enjoy your meal! (Plus you should definitely visit O-House sometime to get some french fries, chicken tenders, and that delicious dipping sauce everyone raves about).

Find a new area to safely study by using the new Study Space Map.

 Consider checking out this link to visit the UGA Study Space Map that can filter and show you indoor and outdoor study areas by features, seating types, and distance from the current location. The site even shows you the supplemental dining seating available on campus so you can find outdoor seating to eat your to-go meals! While studying may not be the most fun you can possibly have on campus, this new feature could potentially be how you find your very own secret study spot to get all of your work done this semester. It almost has a scavenger hunt type feel to it, so that is definitely something worth looking into.

Consider looking into UGA’s free, online tutoring option through the app Penji. 

You can locate information on how to sign up by googling UGA tutoring, or simply download the app from the App Store and sign up with your UGA email to began looking at tutoring options. The app offers a great way to schedule free tutoring sessions in either 25 or 50-minute virtual appointments or by joining virtual study pods. This is a great resource to use, especially with the lack of many in-person office hours or tutoring options for students. Besides, it’s something we are already paying for in one of those million random fees, so it’s definitely worth taking advantage of.

Take Advantage of the Health Center’s free programs for the semester

Although there currently aren’t any in-person events occurring, the Health Center and Fontaine Center are teaming up this semester to provide workshops, resources, and daily stress-relieving programs via zoom that can be found here. Programs available to students include daily ten-minute relaxation practices, a Feel Good Friday event on September 4th where you can learn how to paint the Arch, and how to learn about body image, sexual health, and nutrition. They even have some weekly courses on mindfulness through the month of September. Although these options may be a little different than usual due to them being virtual, it can be a fun change of pace to attend one of these, and again, YOU HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR THESE SERVICES SO PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM!

This semester is definitely not what anyone was planning for. There has been a drastic change to all of our academic and social lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this isn’t what we are used to at all, which is OKAY! The important thing to remember and prioritize right now is the safety of ourselves and those who we are around. UGA is full of smart, innovative, and responsible students, so it is important that we act accordingly and follow all safety guidelines and regulations in order to keep each other safe in these difficult times. Remember, you aren’t just protecting yourself by making good decisions right now, you’re also protecting the lives of other students’ families and the entire community of Athens. Making reckless decisions is no longer just affecting your own health, but could also be jeopardizing the well over 120,000 people that also call the Classic City home.

Be smart, wear your mask, and stay safe. 

Hannah is currently a Fisheries & Wildlife major pursuing a certificate in Environmental Education. When she's not writing for Her Campus, she can usually be found watching TikToks or looking at animals somewhere.