After almost two years of online school during COVID-19, we have all faced the ups and downs of life in quarantine. From online classes to proctored exams, the stress and lack of motivation faced by many of us have been enormous. Here are some pieces of advice for thriving in various areas of university life.
The only way to succeed academically is to understand the information presented in lectures and continuously apply it. The first step to thriving academically is to show up to lectures. Sure, it sounds obvious to attend lectures, but with university eating away at our minds and many professors not requiring class attendance, it is difficult to develop a mindset to attend lectures. Wake up for that 8 a.m. and make notes as if the class were in person. Creating a schedule is also a great way to stay on top of due dates. Using all the information presented in each of the course syllabuses, use the time blocking method to dedicate specific hours of each day to complete assignments, attend lectures or make and review notes based on the deadlines given in your course syllabi.
Focusing on mental wellness is just as important as physical health. Take time to destress and relax by reflecting in a journal entry, putting on a face mask or even eating a healthy meal. Even with the continuous stress and the looming assignment in the back of our minds, getting enough sleep can improve mental health and your mood.
For most of us, the main goal of attending university may be to achieve academic success, but there are other aspects such as experiencing an incredible social life that is also important. Joining clubs in school can be extremely beneficial to gain new experiences, meet new people and engage with the school community. Taking part in volunteer experiences such as volunteering at homeless shelters or food drives is also a great way to thrive socially, and is even more important during COVID and the winter season.
Juggling a full course load and working a full-time job can be exceptionally difficult and can result in not dedicating an appropriate amount of time to all classes and assignments. Getting a part-time position on campus or related to a specific field of study can be a good way to make some money and gain good experience for a resume. Though it may be a little late in the term to be an IA, TA or marking assistant, there’s always next semester or even next year. It allows for reinforcement of past course material and getting to know or network with professors. Being a part of the co-op experience is also an option for most programs. Be sure to talk to faculty coordinators or the co-op office for more information and requirements for the co-op program. It involves alternating between semesters of school and working experience, which allow for the practice and development of knowledge and skills learned in classes, labs and tutorials.
Finding time to exercise and stay healthy is essential in university and for the future. Going on a daily walk, hiking on a nearby trail and taking advantage of the gym memberships offered by universities are all options. Dedicating time to meal prep to eat healthily can also contribute to an improvement in physical and mental health. Get a reusable water bottle and healthy snacks such as granola bars, nuts, chopped vegetables or fruit and yogurt to help combat bored eating and ensure an appropriate number of vitamins and nutrients are being consumed every day.
University life should not be about surviving each lecture or each day, but instead about discovering what makes us happy and what habits will help us in the future. Hopefully, these tips will lead to an increase in motivation and a more proactive mindset.