Finding Help and Being Helpful During Social Distancing
How are you feeling? There could probably be a million different answers to that question: overwhelmed, restless, unsure if you’re actually hungry or just bored. We get it. If it seems like your typical wellness routine has been disrupted, you’re not alone. Your education may feel disrupted, too. Now that our summer semester is officially online, we know students are curious about what “learning at a distance” actually means. So you have one less thing to wonder about, we’ve outlined some helpful tips for handling online learning, and anything else you may be feeling lately.
Online learning, learning online, distance learning, learning at a distance… whatever you call it, taking classes online is definitely a different experience than being in a classroom. Here are some ways to be successful in online classes:
- Review this checklist for Georgia State’s guide to the tools you’ll need to learn at home. Think laptop, charger, access to iCollege and more.
- Stay organized! You’ve probably heard this one a lot, but having a space to study will help keep your head clear during class. If you can, set up an “office” space away from your bedroom so you have designated, separate areas of your home for work and rest.
- Maintain a routine. If you normally have breakfast at 9 a.m. and lunch at 12:30 p.m. on the dot, keep it up. Doing familiar things will help you feel “normal,” even in small ways.
- Focus on what you can control. Switching to online class is a big change, but there are still parts of your education you can control. One of the biggest is filling out your FAFSA if you haven’t already. This is a big step for your future that you can get done in under an hour! Orientation is another big one. Though this will also be online, registering for a session will set you up for class registration and more.
- Stay engaged! Just because you’re seeing your professors online doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to them or ask questions in class. Don’t hesitate to reach out to classmates either. Chances are they’re feeling similar to you! The more engaged everyone is, the better the online class experience is.
That brings up our next point: remember to make time for your physical and mental health. You can’t be expected to focus on school if you aren’t feeling okay, so be sure you’re checking in with what your body and brain need. Here are some ways to get moving and stay sane:
- Change your space. What better time to get your room juuuust right than when you’re stuck inside? Moving furniture around is sure to get your heart rate up, and it’s an easy way to make your space feel fresh.
- Ever heard of TikTok? Trick question. Of course you have. Hop on, find a dance challenge you like, search for a tutorial and get your groove on.
- Enjoy the weather. It’s finally springtime! Try to get out and take a walk, ride a bike or enjoy fresh air somehow once a day. Remember to stay six feet away from your neighbors and practice safe social distancing.
- Step away from tech. If you’re anything like us, scrolling through your phone is a way to take a “brain break” and enjoy something mindless after a long class or study session. Now that class is online too, you may find that you’re looking at a screen more often than not. Set a timer for 10 minutes each hour and do something that doesn’t involve a screen: read, write, draw or, hey, take a power nap. You deserve it.
- Visit the University System of Georgia’s Keep Learning website for more ways to stay healthy!
One of the biggest changes you’re probably experiencing is not being able to see friends. Socializing, even virtually, can help boost our moods and keep our minds from dwelling. Here are some ways you can stay in touch with friends while keeping socially distant:
- Set up a video conference call. Download an app like Houseparty, Zoom Google Hangout, or use FaceTime if you have an iPhone. Set a weekly meeting time to have something to look forward to, or just touch base when you feel like it! Got any musician friends? Maybe you can even make music together online. Check out our Panther Band’s virtual concert for inspiration.
- Host a virtual game or movie night. Use an app like QuizUp to play trivia, or a website like Playing Cards to pick a card game everyone will enjoy. If you don’t feel like playing a game, Netflix users can download Netflix Party for a virtual movie night!
- Snail mail. Let’s bring it back! Grab a pen and paper, write a letter to a friend or your grandma and stick it in the mailbox. You’ll make their day in 2-3 business days, and may even get a letter back!
- Attend a virtual Georgia State event. There are plenty of ways to hang out with us even though we’re not on campus. Visit our virtual Welcome Center to register for a live info session or another online event. Accepted students: check your email for a virtual Accepted Student Event invite! You can also check out our Instagram for #TourTuesdays, and follow hashtags like #GSU24 to get in touch with fellow future Panthers.
- Set up a one-on-one appointment with an admissions counselor. Our counselors are available to meet with you virtually and talk through the admissions process. Register for your session now!
If you need more guidance on managing stress, anxiety or depression due to coronavirus, check out the CDC’s recommendations and these resources on MindWise. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your high school counselor for support, or any of us here at Georgia State. If you know somebody else who could use a helping hand, pass it on!