Going off to College during COVID 19 - The Top 5 Ways to Get Ready

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

Going off to College during COVID 19 - The Top 5 Ways to Get Ready

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Taking the leap and going off to college is hard to prepare for at the best of times. And any way you look at it, these are not the best of times.

The US is firmly in the grip of the corona pandemic, and lockdown measures prevent the most social contact. And nobody knows how long this situation will last, especially with the looming threat of another wave of the pandemic in autumn - just when college is starting. 

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So what can you do to prepare for college in the shadow of the coronavirus? Here are five strategies to help you ace the big transition.

1 - Establish a Pandemic-Proof College Routine

Lockdown might be lifted by the time the start of the semester rolls around. It might not. Or it may be imposed again after a summer of freedom once the case numbers shoot up again. In any case, you should establish a college routine adapted to a possible lockdown before term starts. 

After a few well-deserved, glorious weeks of slacking off post-high school graduation, you should start to get your sleep schedule back on track.

Learning to plan out your weeks and months, and getting to grips with your class schedule and syllabus goes a long way already. Starting daily routines that involve (indoor) exercise and meditation will help keep you sane once freshman year rolls around.

The most important thing is that you have a stable routine before you go off to school - one that provides a healthy backdrop no matter whether you head to physical classes or work from home.

2 - Get a Head Start on the Skills You Need

Between graduation and the start of freshmen year, it can feel like you're drifting. Especially with the lockdown measures in place. You can't hang out with friends, or take on a summer job. And even binging on Netflix gets to be a bit of a drag after a while.

The solution? Learn new skills that can serve you well once college does kick off.

The first step is to actually figure out what skills you'll probably need that you don't have yet. Take a look at the curriculum for classes you're interested in. Is there anything you can get a headstart on?

Whether it's coding, web design, ancient Greek, or satellite analyses, with the help of online courses and instructional videos you'll manage to get at least the basics down. Which is going to be a huge advantage, what with freshmen year being a challenge even in pandemic-free times.

But you can also take the time to get to grips with some serious adulting skills that will serve you well. Whether it's doing laundry, or whipping up a catastrophe-free dinner - taking the time to learn these things now is going to save you many a headache once you've moved into your dorm or flatshare.

3 - Find Your Future Friends Online

The first couple of weeks of college are the best time to meet people and establish a lasting group of friends. With the pandemic in full swing, it's not certain what the start of freshman year is going to look like.

Can't meet new people during mixers? Or in class? Find them online instead.

It's super likely that your college has multiple student Facebook groups - for different year groups, different departments, different majors. Or that there is a dedicated hashtag on Twitter. Reaching out to other freshmen over these channels will help you to establish connections before you even get to college.

And depending on how things play out with the coronavirus, you'll either have study buddies for online classes - or people to hang out with on the college green.

4 - Keep Updated on Your College's Corona Info and Online Events

Chances are your school has a dedicated COVID-19 section on their website. It's hugely important that you check this site out frequently as the situation evolves over the next few months.

Usually, schools have summer events for freshmen to get to know each other - like meet-ups and picnics in different cities. Some of them might have been canceled already, others not. If there are online substitutes for these events, they will be announced on the college website - and you should totally tune in. It may not be the same thing as meeting in person - but even watching a college rep struggle with Zoom can be a great bonding experience with your future college mates.

5  - Join an Online Study Community

If you're stuck in isolation, study motivation can flag. A lot.

One solution to this problem is becoming part of an online study community, for example on Instagram or Tumblr. Especially the latter has an active community of 'studyblrs', from undergrad to PhD level, which share motivation, learning resources, and tips and tricks for surviving college. After all - there is no better way to prepare for a new experience than to talk to people who've been through it all.

And if nothing else, the hilarious academic memes, student success stories, motivational quotes, and study aesthetics that circulate on these platforms can get you out of a serious isolation funk.

Final Thoughts

Nobody knows what the future may bring. That's the only thing that's for sure right now.

In times such as these, it's easy to feel lost and adrift - especially if a totally new experience like college is on the horizon.

But with the right strategies, and the right attitude, you will manage to get through this. And meet people who are just as excited - and scared - as you are. Together, you can make your freshman year a blast - pandemic or not.

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