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By: Kat Kaderabek
While the Class of 2024 is getting its first taste of Catholic University’s campus, many of the upperclassmen are instead visiting the school virtually every day. Long walks around construction have now become short walks to the refrigerator, and dinner with friends in the Pryz has become home-cooked family meals. The biggest change, however, is the fact classes have been contained in a book-sized device, filtered in through a tiny camera. Still, there are both positive and negative aspects of staying home for the semester.
In order to make this semester at home a smooth transition, make sure to have a support system at home. Building this network will be critical for the fall semester and the challenges it brings. Having a few people to physically surround yourself with will be beneficial for your mental state if online classes create feelings of isolation and loneliness.
According to the journal “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy,” written by Debra Umberson and Jennifer Karas Montez, physically interacting with others is critically important to good health both physically and mentally.
This could come in the form of roommates; several Catholic University students have taken up residence aside our campus in the Brookland area. Sophomore Angus Chase is very grateful for his roommates in this aspect.
“Since we live together, we spend time together doing class and working out. It keeps us on top of our work in terms of both athletics and academics. There’s rarely a dull moment,” Chase said.
Angus also hopes to see his sophomore season of lacrosse for Catholic University this Spring, as he loves the sport and misses his teammates and their antics.
It can be easy to get swept up in a day’s fill of classes and homework. The best way to manage the chaos is to create an activity that seemingly begins and ends your day. This can be something as small as closing your laptop at the end of the day and taking a brief walk outside to process the material. Some people start the day by working out in order to prepare both their body and mind for class.
For junior Accounting major, Ally Kirby, she finds going to the gym helps break up her long day between classes and gives her time to rest and refocus her mind.
“It’s a matter of finding a balance between getting my school work done and relaxing,” she said.
Keeping a regimented schedule will help the body adjust well to the new school routine. Just like at school, treat your home or apartment like a campus. Caroline Melia, a junior accounting major, revealed that she still gets up early like she would on campus.
“I’m starting off my days by unwinding in the mornings with a cup of coffee or tea,” she said.
Caroline would usually spend her mornings in the Pryz Starbucks, and now recreates that feeling with her own beverage and music.
“I have always relied on music as an outlet for self-reflection,” she said, giving advice to those struggling with the pandemic.
Caroline also tries to keep a positive attitude. She does this by looking up fun, outdoor things to do in her area that she can do on the weekends.
This is a great strategy, as it gives students something to look forward to at the end of a long school week, while also getting them out of the house. Check local farm websites for upcoming events. Perhaps there is still a sunflower festival going on, or an apple-picking event. Even if there are few events happening, simply following a hiking trail is a great way to both stay active and leave the homeschool zone for a while.
Whether the semester is easy or challenging, it is important to remember to always take care of yourself first. School is important, but mental and physical health are key factors in being a good student. Keeping up with your own needs and showing yourself self-compassion during these uncertain times is essential. Our Catholic University community is here for each other – in person and online.