If you are a college student living at home taking your classes online this semester, this letter is for you.
Dear College Student,
Your college experience, at least for this year, has been changed due to the pandemic. You aren’t able to get the authentic, typical “college experience” of living in the dorms, attending large lecture halls or any in-person classes, going to tailgates and sporting events, eating at the dining hall, and studying at the library.
The life you imagined for your late teens and early twenties is not the life you are living at the moment. Although this can feel devastating, there are some positive aspects of staying at home during the pandemic.
Six positives for college students at home during the pandemic
First, you get to spend more time with your family. Cherish these moments you have with your family because this is probably one of the few times in your adult life that you will be living at home.
If you have pets, you can hang out with them and enjoy their company while taking your online classes. One of the hardest things about leaving for college is being away from family and your pets, so this can certainly be a positive aspect of taking classes at home.
If you have siblings at home with you, you can do fun things with your siblings such as taking a walk or bike ride together, going to a beach or lake, or even just doing movie nights with snacks. Of course, spending too much time with your family can be tiring, but keep in mind that this is only temporary. Soon enough, you will be back on campus and living with your friends.
4. Home cooking
Another wonderful thing about taking your college classes at home this Fall is that you get to eat home-cooked meals. One of the main things I miss most about leaving for college was the food at home. Furthermore, being at home also allows you to have much more free time than you would if your classes would have been in person.
Use this extra time to improve your cooking skills or to learn new recipes for when you go back to college. You can either buy a cookbook or use the Internet to find delicious new recipes to try.
5. Save money
One of the other great benefits of being at home right now is that you will save tons of money. There are many hidden costs of living on campus, such as eating out, travel costs to the school and back home, parking fees, furniture, etc. If you are paying for college yourself, it’s a huge benefit to not have to pay for housing and these other expenses in your college town.
6. No social pressure
You don’t have to worry about the social pressure that comes with being a college student in a college town. Obviously, during a pandemic, students should not be partying unless they are appropriately social distancing, but many students in college towns still are. You don’t have to worry about any temptation, or about not fitting in if you didn’t want to go out and party and risk spreading the virus.
Also, if you have never been to college, know that college life is not always as fun as the movies make it seem. While you will have some amazing times, there are also downsides that many people don’t talk about. Even being surrounded by tons of people, I sometimes felt more alone at college than I did at home because I would feel left out if I wasn’t invited somewhere.
How college students at home can cope
Reconnect with high school friends
Being at home might feel lonely, so be sure to check in with your friends on FaceTime. If you are an older college student (sophomore, junior, or senior), being at home is a great opportunity to reconnect with your high school friends.
This is also a chance to just relax and almost be a kid again. Don’t feel pressured to always be getting things done. If you have been unproductive during the pandemic and have just been focusing on school, it is totally fine. Remember not to compare your life to anyone else’s.
Establish a routine
Establishing a routine is also very important. Being at home can strain your mental health, which is why you should try to treat life similar to how it would be if you were on campus. Even if your classes are asynchronous, try to set aside a specific time each day to do school work so that you don’t get behind.
It can also be helpful to have a set space where you do all of your schoolwork, such as a desk or table.
Maintain a normal sleep schedule
Try to maintain a good sleep schedule and get around eight hours of sleep each night, or whatever is optimal for you.
Start a hobby
If you have tons of extra time in the day, go to a craft store and start a new hobby, such as knitting, sewing, or painting. You could also spend your spare time learning to sing or play a musical instrument. There is also a multitude of online classes right now, many of them free. Try to spend at least some time being creative; trying new things is a great way to do so.
Create personal goals
Take some time to relax but spend extra time creating personal goals for yourself. Some of these goals could include exercising daily, learning a new language, or even just journaling or meditating. Spending time with yourself and becoming your own best friend is so valuable and something to take away from the experience of living at home. You can also learn a lot about yourself during this time.
This is temporary and we will get through this. Meanwhile, you got this!
A Fellow College Student
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