Going Through Your First Year of Post-Secondary Education in Light of the Coronavirus

Going Through Your First Year of Post-Secondary Education in Light of the Coronavirus
Going Through Your First Year of Post-Secondary Education in Light of the Coronavirus
Embarking on this journey in 2020 means things are likely looking quite different than you would have previously expected. Perhaps some (or even all) of your classes are being run solely online? Perhaps you are feeling unprepared?

You did it - you graduated from high school. What an accomplishment!

If you are reading this, it likely means that you have chosen to, or plan to, continue your educational career by attending University or College. What an exciting stage of life to be in! There’s no question though, that embarking on this journey in 2020 means things are likely looking quite different than you would have previously expected.

Perhaps some (or even all) of your classes are being run solely online? Maybe you are living at home, instead of moving out? Perhaps you are feeling unprepared - worried that your final year of high school was cut short?

These are things none of us could have expected and can most certainly cause anxiety and fear - and rightfully so! Change, uncertainty, lack of control – these can be very unwelcoming and stressful things.

If this sounds remotely familiar, we want you to remember that you are NOT going through these emotions alone. Teachers, faculty members, school counsellors, and students are all navigating these times alongside you. Nothing facilitates understanding and empathy more than having gone through the experience yourself.

To help further ease any anxiety you may be feeling, we have compiled a list of tips on how to navigate this post-secondary world in light of the coronavirus.  

  1. Treat an online course like a real course/job
    • Get ready - get dressed, brush your teeth & hair, etc
    • Don’t be ‘late’ to school or reschedule school time for social events
  2. Learn the virtual space
    • Instead of learning the lay of the land on campus, take the time to learn the virtual campus
    • Understand which resources are still available virtually, where to find them, how to use them, etc.
      • Ie. writing centers, therapists, tutors, library links
    • Join Facebook groups or forums for your University/class year
  3. Hold yourself accountable
    • Perhaps find a classmate as an accountability partner (like a gym buddy)
    • Make checklists with what goals you wish to accomplish each day
    • Implement firm boundaries – finishing school once you’ve accomplished your goals for the day (ie. put laptop and school work away when you’ve accomplished your goals)
      • When you don’t ‘go’ to school, it can be easy to simply continue working, blurring the boundaries between school time and personal time
  4. Practice time management
    • Designate certain hours each day/week where you sit down and read, watch lectures, work on assignments, study, etc.
    • Set weekly goals as well each Monday, and check in with yourself mid week to see if you are on track or if you need to re-adjust
  5. Set up a workspace that is inviting and dedicated for school
    • Wherever it is (coffee table, kitchen table, office), make sure you have a space to keep your files/books organized
    • If you can, find space near natural light, and fill it with things you love (ie. candles, plants, essential oil diffuser, blanket, etc)
  6. Avoid distractions
    • If possible, avoid setting up a workspace near distractions (ie. tv, bed)
    • Limit unnecessary screen time 
    • If you can, turn your phone on do not disturb mode, at least for certain hours of the day
  7. Learn when and how you are the most productive
    • Some people work best first thing, some work best in the evening – carve out school time whenever you can best get down to business
    • Similarly, determine what type of learner you are
      • Auditory – online classes should be great
      • Visual – may want to consider printing off the lecture slides so they are in front of you during class 
      • Kinesthetic - Perhaps you can convert your notes into hand drawn mind maps
  8. Do your best to actively participate
    • Use discussion boards to ask questions or answer other students’ questions
    • Don’t be afraid to add to the conversation
  9. Collaborate with others
    • It may feel like you are learning on your own, but this couldn’t be further from the truth
    • Many online classes are built around collaboration – working with other students to complete assignments and discuss lectures. Use this to your advantage
  10. Email etiquette is essential
    • Emails may be the only form of communication you may have to speak with profs/TAs
      • Adding things like “good morning”, “hope this finds you well”, “please”, “thank you” – all can go a long way 
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