Sticking to plan, staying well help weather pandemic

Posted April 4, 2020

College students throughout the United States have moved almost entirely to online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to unexpected learning and living situations for the remainder of the academic year.

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is home to nearly 6,000 students who have all been impacted by the effects of COVID-19. Those students living in on-campus housing have been required to move out and many students who live off campus have opted to leave their housing as well.

My roommates and I were among the many who decided moving home would be the best option financially, educationally and for our mental and physical wellbeing. None of us was expecting to move out so soon and we certainly did not expect our college education to move entirely online. We all used our “extended spring break” to move our belongings, arrange for bills to be paid and reorient our minds to online schooling.

For me, online classes are a less than ideal approach to learning. That implies I needed to develop an entirely new system of organization and time management. Additionally, with my move home, I returned to my full-time job, which also meant budgeting time for 50 hours of work around my courses each week.

The step I found most vital, as suggested by the University of Michigan in an online newsletter for students in college, was creating a structured schedule to follow every day. Though it may be easy to stay in bed and enjoy television and other media all day, creating and following a schedule helps me to get things done in an efficient and timely manner. Having a schedule also makes me feel much more productive, so when it is time to wind down in the evening, I feel less stressed.

This is a stressful time for students; it is important to not only work your daily schedule around academics, but your health wellness as well. Harvard Medical School recommends to people of all ages, careers and education levels that exercise is a great way to control stress levels. Currently, mine are higher than usual. Because of this, I have been walking, biking and rollerblading to stay healthy mentally and physically.

Though these times can be trying, we should all take steps to find normalcy and keep ourselves well in the mind, body and spirit.