When navigating a lifestyle change midway through the quarter, the Editorial Board reminds students to prioritize their health and wellbeing
Being a student for the past two years has required more patience, flexibility and empathy than anyone could have anticipated. And while many may have adjusted to the constant uncertainty of the education system during a pandemic, students were thrown a curve ball that impacted learning and wellbeing with the return to campus midway through this quarter.
The beginning of a new term can be tough, especially with the quarter system, which tends to move at a faster pace. Adjusting to a new schedule, from class times to club meetings to course workload, is a necessary part of students’ reset, and we usually get to organize our schedules in Weeks 1 and 2 before the work really picks up. This time around, students established a routine while attending “Zoom University,” and then had to figure out an entirely new one when campus reopened and classes resumed in person. Not to mention, it was Week 5, when many instructors typically schedule midterms.
During the first four weeks of the quarter, getting lunch was merely a short walk to the kitchen, and a 7 p.m. meeting could be taken from bed, if it was that type of day. Some lectures were recorded and not required, so if something came up during class time, you could always rewatch it later. Now, a trip home to the kitchen is considerably longer, those dinner time meetings are in person and many professors track attendance or aren’t posting lectures online.
It’s not that these are impossible tasks to manage — on the contrary, most students are probably used to doing so after an in-person fall quarter. But they are new to us this quarter, so figuring out when to eat with back-to-back lectures all day and physically attending every commitment, where before a virtual presence was sufficient, are pretty draining.
Members of the Editorial Board, at least, have been feeling drained in the past two weeks, and we can imagine many students feel the same. While we’re glad to be reconnecting in person again, we realize the strain this puts on all of us and want to remind everyone to take extra care as we tackle this transition in the midst of midterm season.
It may sound frivolous to say, but don’t forget to eat lunch and drink water — you won’t have much luck running around campus or paying attention in class if your body isn’t properly nourished and hydrated (especially with the climate anxiety-inducing warm weather we’ve been having). Similarly, try to prioritize your sleep, since getting to and from campus takes more energy than you might realize (has anyone else been feeling way more tired than usual?).
There is also an added mental strain in taking on all of these activities, so taking the time for a mental and physical recharge during the day can make a world of a difference. Some of the Editorial Board’s favorite places to take a break on campus are the Student Community Center (where both you and your laptop can recharge), the hammocks on the Quad and the Kemper Courtyard.
Being in person also presents opportunities for social interaction that, for some, can ease the anxieties associated with our new lifestyle. From speaking to peers face-to-face in discussion sections to running into friends at the Memorial Union, these conversations bring some excitement that may have been missing when only communicating over Zoom. We want to recognize that for some, the fear of contracting COVID-19 surpasses the benefit of socializing in an in-person setting, but we hope everyone can find an opportunity to gather safely.
At the end of the day, living our lives beyond our bedrooms is finally a normal part of life again, and we are slowly but surely figuring out how to balance being in person. But as we all adjust, it’s important to bear in mind that it can take some longer than others, so be sure to give some slack to those who are finding difficulty in this return to campus — including yourself.
Written by: The Editorial Board