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Take charge: Ensure a productive and engaging school year during COVID-19

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Take charge: Ensure a productive and engaging school year during COVID-19

With the coronavirus changing the experience of post-secondary education, you could be concerned about not having enough opportunities to meet people, missing out on interesting discussions with faculty and students, and participating in regular and informal activities. Whether you are attending a scaled-down, in-person post-secondary program or studying entirely online,  try to find ways to make up for what you may be missing.

While some opportunities may be on hold, there are some things you can do to ensure having an interesting, productive year that engages you socially, intellectually and emotionally. Having eye opening and fulfilling experiences will fall more on your own shoulders.

Seek out your experiences

This year, more than others, it will be up to you to engage yourself.  You just may have to work harder at searching out possible experiences. Consider joining an association as a student in the field you would like to work in. This allows you to stay up-to-date on current trends in the field and to start building contacts.

See what is still functioning at your school from writing for the school paper to joining the student government or participating in established volunteer programs. Find or form a study group and make friends with your group work partners.  Heroes and interesting people may be in short supply this year so try looking for them in other places: in literature, prize-worthy lectures on the internet, in your community, or even among your relatives.

Add some new skills and educate yourself

You may have more time to do things since commuting, meeting friends, work experiences and extracurricular activities may all be curtailed. This may be the year to teach yourself to cook or try out new recipes. Are you up to date on what is happening in the world? Are you reading newspapers and other sources for balanced news? When was the last time you made something out of fabric, wood, electronics? What have you always wanted to know about? Have you explored every neighborhood in your city, every trail or historical site? This may be the year to fill in some gaps in your skills and knowledge.

Invest some time in self-care

Boredom and anxiety may be part of the human condition and with so many unknowns, those feelings could be frequent in your life now. Learning to cope with them is a skill that can last you a lifetime and are a worthwhile use of your efforts. Can you use exercise to deal with stress? Can you talk back to your unreasonable anxiety? Have you tried keeping a diary of all the things you want to learn about to distract you away from boredom? Your school will have counsellors to help you confront and manage uncomfortable feelings, and invest in your life and personal development.

Make the best of this unusual year. Despite the coronavirus, when next year comes, you may have made a few friends, gotten to know your city better, figured out what else interests you, found some new heroes, become a better-informed citizen and learned some strategies for coping with life’s anxieties and disappointments.

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