A guide on how to have a great college experience in a world recovering from a pandemic.
5 steps to make the most out of college during a pandemic:
Throughout my academic journey studying in a foreign country during 2020, I have experienced firsthand how it was to be a student before, during, and now after a pandemic. Yet, after all the social isolation we have all experienced, not only did I manage to be a successful student, but I also had a healthy and stable state of mind in the process. In this post, I will tell you how I managed to have a great time despite this colossal challenge.
The 5 steps
1 - Take a deep breath.
For starters, understand that you are not the only person having a difficult time. Your peers and professors are also struggling a lot so do not be afraid to talk to them about the challenges you are facing! Not to mention that counseling and financial aid services are also readily available should you need more specialized assistance.
We are all adjusting to classes back in person, managing new schedules, and potential family and friends that may still become sick or are immunocompromised. Even though it was quite an annoyance for some of my classes, we are all in this together, giving consolation to each other in times of need.
2 - Get involved.
Perhaps the most difficult part about dealing with a pandemic in college is the lack of social interactions. In my experience, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Dale Mabry campus was exceptionally empty at the start of COVID. However, when I participated in student activities and events provided by the clubs and student government association (SGA), I would have a lot of fun and actually get to know new people on my campus. That is why after all the social isolation we all experienced, I strongly recommend that students take advantage of the student clubs and organizations for a healthier lifestyle.
3 - Manage your time for online courses!
Stay on top of your tasks! Losing track of time is extremely easy. Especially when taking your classes online, you might think you have all the time in the world to take a test and complete assignments. But, the reality is you do not.
In fact, from my experience I would argue that online classes are considerably harder than classes on campus. That is because in an online environment you might not even meet your instructor or have an actual lesson at all. So in order to balance this out, the amount of assignments and deadlines you have will most likely double. Do not sleep on your responsibilities!
4 - Taking classes on campus.
You are an international student. You came to this country wanting a new experience, to make new connections, and get to know a new culture. I will tell you right now that you are not going to get any of that if you plan on taking your classes online. So I urge you to register for classes on campus as they will provide you with many more possibilities to build long-lasting friendships and to get to know your professors on a more personal level. The interactions you will have as an international student taking classes on campus will be not only abundant but also fun because of the healthy learning environment at the classroom.
5 - As a reminder, we are still in a pandemic.
On a final note, remember that not only your health but also the health of your peers, faculty, and professors are still all at risk. The pandemic is still not over! So my request to you is: keep wearing a mask, keep practicing social distancing, and wash your hands regularly.
Joao Magalhães from Brazil is studying mass communications at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. His favorite things about Tampa are the weather, tourist attractions, and the friends he has made.
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