The pandemic has been nothing short of a major party foul. I was a senior last year, and I thought that this would last a few months at most. Here we are, though, a decent way into my freshman year of college, and the virus is all around us still as dreadful as ever. Lucky for you guys, I have learned a few tips and tricks on how to handle COVID during the supposed ‘best years of our lives’.
- Join a Group
A college campus of any sort has many social groups to join! Take advantage of this whether it be in greek life, student government, or any of the various clubs that are always seeking out new members. You would be surprised by all of the many options available for students, especially as a freshman.
- Make Study Dates
Believe it or not, college is still school! Head to the library, or a fun common space and study with a friend. Even over zoom, it can be very helpful to just have another person to chat with.
- Explore Campus
The University of Utah has a very large campus. Unfortunately, this can make walking back from class up the gigantic hill that is our campus pretty difficult. However, there are always people to mingle with. I have met some of my very favorite people on a bench outside my building, or just walking to class.
- Pay Attention to Campus Events
I don’t know about you guys, but there are always events going on at the U filling up my email inbox! Most are virtual right now, but event virtual social events are better than none. I would encourage everybody to take a quick look and check out new events.
- Take Advantage of Libraries and Common Spaces
These spaces are there for the student to study, learn, and be social! Although there are barriers of masks and six feet, it is still very possible to connect with others in a place as simple as a common space in a dorm.
- Put Social Media Handles on Your Door
My roommate and I decided when moving in to put our social media handles on our whiteboard on our door. So many people followed us, and we met so many different people. Make sure you are safe about who you add, but I would say I have met some of my favorite people on campus this way.
- Start Penpalling
This is a great idea for people who like to write! Letters can often be seen as a lost art form, and this is such an amazing way to bring it back. There are so many options set up for this that include pen pals in other countries, young cancer patients, and just people looking for a friend.
- Go Hiking
Living in Utah sure has its perks! This is one of the best places in the country to hike, so take advantage of it while the weather still allows it. This is a great activity to gather some friends and head out for a little day trip.
- Join a Book Club
I am in a book club right now, and I love it! It is such a great way to connect with others on an intellectual level. Analyzing text with friends can be so interesting because it really allows everybody to explore different ideas. Through this, I have learned so much about my friends that I would not have known otherwise.
- Have Zoom Watch Parties
Zoom is good for more than just class and business meetings! Get on with friends or a new group, and watch a TV show or movie. It's almost like they are right there with you and it’s free.
The point is, college is hard right now. We all need to figure out how best to navigate this pandemic, while still preserving our own mental health. Take care of each other, and try to make the best out of this year. You can still make it one of the best years of your life!