Yes, College during Quarantine is Harder. No, You Don’t Have to Pretend to Be Okay.
COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions to many lives, and college students are no exception. Thanks to stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and mandatory remote learning, the 2020 college experience is anything but normal. Many students are feeling pressured to put on a brave face, not complain and act like everything is just fine.
But you don’t have to.
Even if you’re healthy and relatively safe, it’s okay to admit that this is hard. Overnight, your world has been turned upside down — it’s okay to be unsettled, scared, resentful, or sad. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you have to give up. We’ve compiled some of the most common challenges facing college students and tips on how to make them less overwhelming.
Being Quarantined in Small Living Spaces
Most college apartments are relatively small and are usually shared between multiple roommates. When you spend most of your day in classes, socializing outside, or hanging out on campus, this may seem fine. But when you’re suddenly stuck there 24/7, it’s a whole different story. You may find yourself feeling stir-crazy, isolated, or trapped. And if you’re quarantining with your parents, you may feel completely disconnected from your college experience entirely.
If it’s allowed, try to get outside (safely) when you can. A short walk, or even sitting outside your apartment and reading, can help you feel less trapped. Even if you can’t go shopping, simply moving around your futurite or decor can help you feel more stimulated and refreshed. And be sure to try to keep your place tidy; a dirty apartment can feel even smaller. Also, try to find and space for yourself, even if it’s only ten minutes to do a facemask in the bathroom. If you’re with your parents, try to call or text with your classmates frequently to feel more connected.
Your Classes May Not Translate Well to Online Learning
While any classes suddenly becoming online-only are challenging, many courses can be particularly difficult to do remotely. Lab courses, art classes, or theater studies all may feel significantly limited. Not only is this hard for students, but professors also have to come up with new solutions almost spontaneously.
Be open with your professor; don’t be afraid to reach out to them with questions or concerns. (And if your professor isn’t helpful, reach out to your school.) And take advantage of your classmates! Study together long-distance, share remote-learning tips, and vent away (seriously, venting can do wonders.)
It’s Hard to Focus Right Now
Even if your online classes are going smoothly, you may be having a hard time focusing on school right now. Or on, well, anything else. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t you being weak. In fact, it’s your brain trying to protect you by saving your energy for processing potential dangers. (And a global pandemic absolutely qualifies.) While everyone is at risk for this, if you have mental health troubles already, this may hit you even harder.
Try to be as gentle with yourself as possible. Don’t overburden yourself, and be sure to give yourself lots of breaks. After you’ve done your work, let your mind recover by practicing self-care and letting your mind feel safe. (And remember, there’s no shame in reaching out to a therapist.)
You’re Just Not Having Fun
Yes, college is mainly about learning. But let’s be real, it’s also supposed to be fun. This is meant to be a time to explore, make friends, have adventures, and figure out who you are. That’s been suddenly taken away for most people, and replaced instead with isolation, anxiety, and uncertainty.
It’s okay to be sad, angry, or resentful about this. And if you’re healthy and financially secure, you may not feel like you’re allowed to be upset. But your losses are still valid, and you need to accept them to process through them. Reach out to your friends, your school, or a therapist, and share what you’re feeling. If you want to be anonymous, you can find online forums to post to. You can even journal privately, just to get the thoughts out of your head and work through them.
College During Quarantine is a Struggle – But You’ll Make It Through
These times are anything but fun, safe, or normal. If college has become more challenging for you than ever, know you aren’t alone and that your feelings matter. Acknowledge your emotions, be gentle with yourself, and try to get the most out of the experience you can. And have faith — we’ll all be more “together” again soon.