As you probably know, there’s still a global pandemic on the loose. Despite the rise in cases throughout the United States, colleges, including our own UMKC, have decided to try to resume classes and on campus activities to the best of their abilities. With this in mind, many classes have been either partially or completely moved online, campus operating hours may have been shifted, and college as we remember it has been completely transformed in order to ensure the safety of students and faculty. As different as things may seem, there are numerous ways for you to try to stick to a normal college experience while still staying safe and healthy.
- Things you NEED to carry with you in your backpack/purse.
There are a couple of essentials that you should be carrying around with you, now more than ever. These include things such as a mask to protect yourself and others from spreading the virus, as well as hand sanitizer. Disinfecting wipes are important to have for cleaning surfaces that others may have used and after you have used them. Additionally, I would recommend carrying disposable gloves to use at the gas station or at the grocery store because you never really know who or how many people have touched different objects and surfaces.
- Maintain a social life.
We all need time to socialize, but it’s important to do so while keeping some health precautions in mind. For instance, when seeing friends, try to meet outdoors. This allows the limit of spread and can make it easier to social distance. Additionally, when seeing friends, you should try to wear a mask because even though you may be keeping your circle small, you don’t know how many people others have been in contact with. It’s important to maintain social interactions for your own wellbeing, but doing so safely is critical.
- Find new study spots and methods.
You may have been very used to studying in coffee shops or in groups, but COVID-19 makes these things difficult to do. If you’re someone who used to study at coffee shops, but now does not feel comfortable doing so, try finding a quiet outdoor spot. Similarly, if you’re used to studying with others, I would encourage you to keep up these habits, but introduce some new boundaries, such as social distancing at least six feet and wearing masks to ensure everyone stays healthy.
- Keep up a routine.
The world is very different than it was a year ago, so it is important to keep some forms of consistency in your life. For instance, have a good morning routine in which you wake up, make your bed, get ready for the day and drink your morning coffee while looking over your schedule for the day and mentally preparing for your tasks. It’s something small, but it’s essential to keep familiarity around you since school as we know it has changed drastically.
- Take care of your mental health.
It’s very easy to get bogged down and feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that is thrown at us by the media. It’s important to remember that not everything we hear or see online or from the news is the truth. This is a new virus that we are continuing to learn about daily, so it’s very possible for some of the ideas or previous hypotheses to be wrong. It’s more than okay to take social media breaks and focus on the present, and reach out for help if you are feeling down or not yourself. UMKC offers counseling services to all students, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Overall, COVID-19 should not keep you from enjoying your time in college. It is important to maintain and follow guidelines and recommendations from healthcare providers while trying to live as normal of a life as possible. It won’t be easy, but putting safety first, for the sake of yourself, your family, your friends and all those immunocompromised whom this could be a death sentence for, is essential to putting an end to this worldwide pandemic.