How to handle COVID-19 academically

Mikayla Wyatt | @minimalistmikk, Opinions Editor

Although the start of your academic journey won’t be planned as you imagined, it is still essential to begin with the mindset to strive for nothing short of success. I too have to make academic adjustments as I begin my senior year studying political science here at The Capstone. I am confident that we will all find productivity despite COVID-19 and perform exceedingly well on our academic endeavors. 

COVID-19 has become a sore thumb for us all. Similar to Atlanta traffic or even early August move-in heat, it’s an issue we must all learn to cope with. The rapid transition from meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for classes in Russell or Lloyd Hall to setting alarms to wake-up in time for a Zoom class meeting can leave us all feeling unbalanced. But as we begin yet another academic year with a rather different approach to class instruction, I thought it would be instrumental to list some pointers on how to be academically successful. 

Schedule “you time.”

Your mental state will make or break your semester. It is vital that you set time aside to recharge. Whether it is through working out, reading or something else, the protection of your mind is mandatory. When creating you time, you may miss some events or have to reschedule hangout sessions, but never feel bad for taking care of yourself. A good mental space is what makes you….you. 

Change study environments.

The workload can be overwhelming at times, such as finals week, and it can be challenging to complete those assignments successfully in the same study environment. The spread of COVID-19 has made changing environments more challenging than usual, but here’s a list of study spots you can switch up every two or three days: 

First, you could spend some time at a coffee shop on or off campus (see page 21 for some recommendations from our culture desk, and remember to wear your mask!). Second, take a trip to one of the libraries on campus. There are a plethora of socially distant spaces to study within the libraries. And, if you get tired of those, move to your apartment’s living room, bedroom or in your dorm’s common areas. 

Pace yourself.

COVID-19 has provided a decent amount of leisure time for most college students, but it is still important to keep a routine schedule. This means not only for staying on top of academic needs, but for other tasks throughout your day or week. This schedule will keep you motivated as you complete routine tasks. My personal schedule includes working out, self-care, socializing  and even washing my hair. This will help mitigate the feeling of being overwhelmed with everything life is throwing your way right now. 

Stay organized.

It is important to keep all your academic assignments and general documents stored on your laptop, whether that is on a separate hard drive or through a computer based drive such as Google Drive. It is also important to maintain a physical planner and a digital planner. We are the generation that lives by our phones. In order to avoid missing meetings or assignments, it is important to utilize digital reminders or third party apps to stay on task. 

Have an accountability partner.

You are not alone with feeling overwhelmed in life. That is why it is important to have someone to keep you on track and remind you of your worth. Keeping someone in the loop of your life helps you stay motivated to complete the goals you have set for yourself.

These simple steps can keep your mind sharp during a chaotic time in the world. The transition to mostly virtual learning can be intimidating, but never forget why you are here at the University of Alabama. 

To see this column in print, check it out on Horizons, the CW’s digital magazine for incoming students.