For most, it’s the first time they feel truly independent while building up experience that is crucial for continuing into adulthood. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the continued persistence of it, the fall 2020 post-secondary semester is looking much more different then it ever has in the past. So, how can you still make the most out of your post-secondary education experience while having to deal with the social distancing of COVID-19?
Building Up Basic Remote Classroom Skills
To ensure you are ready for those classes you have to attend remotely, and get the most out of them, you need to build up some knowledge of basic remote classroom skills. Zoom or other video conferencing software will be at the forefront in remote learning; hopefully during your first week your professors will go over basic etiquette. Always keep yourself muted unless you need to speak directly to the professor as extra noises can be very distracting for students. If you are using a webcam, wear appropriate clothing for the setting; dress like you are going to class. If possible, isolate yourself in your home or dorm during calls. Keeping yourself undistracted will greatly increase your odds of paying attention and understanding the subject matter.
Creating a Positive Personal Space, At Home or in the Dorm
While remote learning, the space around you can become a distraction, either with extraneous noises, people and objects, or just from looking barren and depressing. To give yourself the best experience when remote learning, create a positive personal space for you to work on classwork, or remote into class video calls. It sounds like a cliché, but having positive messages, photos, and stress relieving objects around your working personal space can help reduce stress, and thus increase focus on your schoolwork and gaining knowledge.
Properly Preparing for College Events or Travel
Social distancing is the key aspect of most COVID-19 preparedness plans. Most post-secondary institutions now have their main campus open, and in-person classes will have social distancing in place, as well as quarantine practices for those showing symptoms. If you plan to attend a sanctioned school event, be prepared with a proper mask and hand sanitizer. Always be aware of your social distancing, but don’t be afraid to socialize, even at a distance. If you plan on travelling, follow government guidelines for your destination, as well as mandatory the 14-day quarantine when returning. Inform your professors if you are under a mandatory travel quarantine.
Socializing and Building a Safe Study Group
Socializing is a key aspect of post-secondary education, building up personal and professional relationships that will impact the rest of your adult life. Meeting in public places with proper distancing can mean you are able to still socialize in person with minimal risks (keep below maximum gathering size limits, follow AHS guidelines, etc.). As well, you can coordinate with your fellow classmates through programs like Zoom, Facebook, or Discord to build safe study groups for assisting each other in classwork.
Keeping in Touch with Family and Friends to Share Experiences
For most, post-secondary education means leaving home and traveling to another city, or even province. This can be very stressful, especially on top of the COVID-19 restrictions for socializing, so it’s important to keep in touch. Video calling and conferencing apps can help you easily keep in touch with your family and friends, and it’s more important than ever for your mental health.
School work, and social life balancing are more important than ever in the COVID-19 era of post-secondary education. Following the above recommendations can help you get the most out of your post-secondary experience, while keeping your mental health a priority.