Staying mindful while transitioning from online to in-person learning
How to effectively focus in class while changing environments
The online start to American University’s spring semester seemed to give many students déjà vu, but now transitioning into February, classes have returned to their in-person format. This quick adjustment can be jarring for students to go through, especially moving from the comfort of home to being present in a classroom. Here is a list of tips to help cope with the change while having a successful semester.
Create a morning and night routine
Routines can help you center yourself and establish central acts to start and end your day. Routines can be fun and also are said to improve stress, poor sleep, poor health — specifically eating and exercise habits — and procrastination. From going to the gym and blasting your favorite song at full volume on the treadmill to getting ready for bed slightly earlier than usual, these habits can make you feel confident in your skin and ready to accomplish the day ahead.
Find your study space
While there is satisfaction in doing work in your room or dorm, trying out a new space every so often can clear your mind and recharge your productive flow if you have been in the same spot for hours. The University offers many places to do work, from the more traditional route of going to the library or the bustling culture of The Bridge Cafe or even the quiet ambience of the Don Myers building. Explore your options, and see what places work for you based on your studying preferences.
Pick up a new hobby
Since the start of the pandemic, many have discovered new ways to interact with others and themselves in a world where physical contact is more detrimental than ever. Arts and crafts take the top spot of the leading hobbies and leisure activities according to Microsoft Advertising, with gaming, birding and spending time with pets following behind. Fortunately, there are many spots on campus to let loose on your creative assets. You might want to venture to the Makerspace in Bender Library to get hands-on with 3-D printing, knitting or sewing. The Makerspace is available to all AU students, but you should sign up for a slot ahead of time. You could also take a trip to the Katzen Art Center, where there are many rooms available for painting, dancing and playing instruments.
Make time for friends and family
Adjusting back to campus from winter break can be a challenge socially, especially coming back from spending time with family and friends from home. We all go through waves of homesickness at least once, so try to reach out to your loved ones at least once a week. School work can also be overwhelming at times, so try to do something fun with your AU friends to balance the stress. Monumenting with friends is a popular activity among most students that attend school in the DMV, or you could keep it simple by doing a self-care night with your roommates.
Know when to prioritize your mental health
Most important out of all of these tips, know that it is okay to not be okay some days. On rougher days, make sure to prioritize your mental health as much as your school work. The University also provides outlets to engage in discussion about mental health, with the Counseling Center being a resource for therapy with a professional. For students who are spiritual, the Kay Spiritual Life Center can also be a means of getting mental health support as well as spiritual support.
The change into being in-person can definitely be difficult to adjust to, but knowing that there are many ways to transition smoothly can alleviate any stressors you might have.