A student’s tips for students during the pandemic
- Sophia Lagimodiere | September 21, 2020
For many university students, back-to-school is very overwhelming. These feelings are often alleviated when students reconnect with peers and professors and attend start-of-the-year social events. Interactions such as this remind everyone that they are not alone. This year, however, as many universities move primarily online and social distance measures stay in place, students are left facing even more hurdles.
I never imagined that I would be taking my first year of law school online during a global pandemic. If it was not for my support system, I do not know how I would be able to navigate these unstable times as a student. Students have to balance various pressures, from financial, housing, childcare duties, and food security, while still trying to maintain their grades and mental sanity. I imagine many students share the same fears about starting school online as I do; some much more than others.
This shift to online learning has highlighted the many challenges that disproportionately impact Indigenous students during the pandemic. Those returning to their communities for online school may face additional barriers, such as unreliable internet and cell service if they are located in a remote area, or difficulty concentrating on their course material if they share a household with multiple family members. For those who cannot return home, isolation may be a difficult and lonely time.
Indigenous students need to remember the resilience they carry within themselves and the resources available to them. I decided to create a guide in hopes to help students navigate these trying times.
Establish a Routine
When nothing else around you is stable, it is important to establish a routine. Something as simple as waking up at the same time every day, making your bed in the morning, or going for a walk every afternoon, can help you feel more in control of your surroundings.
If this year has had a silver lining, it would be that it has forced us all to be more innovative. In the blink of an eye, many special occasions, traditions, and social gatherings had to be cancelled. This has not stopped people from celebrating. From online weddings, drive-through grad ceremonies, balcony music performances, and backyard convocations, people have found ways to adapt.
Stay Virtually Connected
As students, it is important to have a support system. Staying virtually connected this school year will help keep you motivated and less lonely. If you can create a group chat with some peers, or email your professors for help once in a while, it will remind you that you are not alone. Additionally, Indigenous youth are using online platforms, such as TikTok, to create a strong virtual community, by sharing cultural practices, stories, and personal challenges.
It can be easy to lose yourself in the stress of school and other commitments, but nothing matters more than your well-being. People have different ways to cope with stress, such as playing an instrument, dancing, connecting with nature, or cooking. Find an outlet and remind yourself throughout the year to prioritize your mental health.