Headed Back to Campus? Here’s How to (Mentally) Prepare
Categories: Blog, For Students, For College Students
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Students across the nation are returning to campus after spending a year at home taking online classes. Even before the pandemic, starting the school year on a new campus brings up a lot of emotions —from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and stress.
After over a year at home, the transition from remote learning to in-person classes may add even more nerves to your wave of emotions. As a second-year transfer student, I’m equally terrified and thrilled to be going back on campus soon. Transferring from community college to a university was a huge transition online, but I became extremely comfortable with navigating remotely within the past year. Just as I got used to it, I now have to adjust to in-person classes at a whole new campus! It’s a big transition I have to mentally prepare for. Here’s how I’ve prepared to return to my college campus with confidence.
Remember Life Before the Pandemic
There once was a time where we were able to walk on campus, engage in lecture halls, ask professors questions by raising our hand, meet with other students and counselors, and so on. After classes transitioned to a remote environment, a lot of our study habits changed, too. Instead of taking your habitual ten-minute walk to class, it turned into a ten-second click into a virtual meeting for class. Rather than raising your hand, you’re clicking on a “raising hand” feature, waiting to unmute in your virtual call.
How can you plan for a pandemic? You really had to decide whether you wanted to return home and study in your childhood bedroom or stay at school surrounded by an empty campus. While the world was facing uncertainty, students also had a weight on their shoulders to continue going to school and try to figure out what to do to ace their classes.
As you prepare to return to campus, remember your old study habits, hang-out spots, and the places you studied with your friends to make the transition easier.
Face the Digital Exhaustion from Online Classes
While learning remotely, we spent countless hours staring at a computer screen and adjusting to online instruction. Being at home and trying to connect with students on projects and assignments was a big challenge, especially while in isolation. Muted mics, awkward silences, and poor internet connections became normalcy.
Despite this digital divide, many students were able to overcome it and succeed. We were apart in distance but somehow felt closer together. Breakout rooms, discussion boards, and class group chats helped minimize the virtual barrier.
As a result, many schools provided new resources for their students, including mental health tips and other services. But after a long-anticipated and unpredictable wait, many schools across the nation are getting the green light to return to school. Just like adjusting to online learning, returning to campus is going to be mentally and physically draining. Make sure you know where to find the best mental health tips including from your school.
Plan to Attend In-Person Events
As schools are gearing up for students to return to campus, you can expect announcements from your school with “Back-to-School” events in the works. While this may be exciting, it can also be nerve-racking to be surrounded by crowds of people again.
Returning to school after the pandemic continues to be up in the air for many students. Some schools have announced policies and updates that align with the region’s public health CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines. The situation is constantly evolving, meaning that campuses will vary with their strategies for moving from remote learning to in-person classes.
Many schools will be extremely cautious throughout the first semester of in-person classes. So what does that mean for you? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Stay Safe and Follow the Rules
Vaccinations are required at a lot of schools, but this might not be true on your campus. Your options to participate in events may change depending on if you’re fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, so be sure you stay up to date on your local and state guidelines – and make sure the people you hang out with are also familiar with the guidelines.
Facial covering policies will differ. Some schools have taken action to require indoor masking, while others require masks for all instructional settings, whether indoor or outdoor on campus. Along with masks, other safety measures like maintaining a six feet social distance and limiting unmasked areas can be anticipated and may change by state.
Be Kind to Others
Finding your groove can be challenging after spending an entire year adapting to a new routine. Students have had different experiences while taking online classes, so remember to be kind to yourself and others. It took us time to adapt to remote classes and it will now take time for us to adapt to being back on campus.
Returning to school after spending over a year at home can be both suspenseful and exciting. No one has all the answers and that’s okay — we’re all navigating this confusing time together. We encourage you to stay up to date with what your school plans on doing to take the next steps. Stay informed and rock out the school year, you got this!