By Michal Spanjer
As we begin a new school year in the midst of a pandemic, we’re all trying to savor our college experience while still keeping those around us safe. Whether you are starting your freshman year or getting ready to graduate, these are some tips we can all keep in mind for having a safe and enjoyable semester.
1) Establish a realistic routine
With mostly virtual classes, creating a daily routine is essential for success. Make sure to schedule enough time to complete homework, but don’t expect yourself to be able to concentrate for eight hours in a row. Give yourself breaks and time to breathe. In a similar way, understand that you may need time to adjust to the new semester and new routines, especially if you haven’t had much structure over the summer.
2) Find creative and safe ways of having fun
Although going out and partying may not be safe right now, there are other options for bonding with friends and meeting new people. IU Late Nite is still hosting free activity nights (now outdoors), at which students can enjoy games, food and special events each Friday night. Students can also spend time outdoors with close friends, canoeing on Griffey Lake or stopping by the Bloomington Farmers Market.
3) Set your boundaries
Although everyone should be taking precautions to stay safe, individuals have their own definitions of what is comfortable for them. Setting boundaries may mean declining a few invites. If you have a roommate, discuss with them what precautions are necessary for both of you to feel safe and comfortable. This could mean limiting guests, wearing masks when seeing friends and doing your best to socially distance.
4) Prioritize everyone’s health, including your own
Student behavior will determine whether campus can stay open this semester. Protect your classmates and friends by wearing a mask indoors and socially distancing whenever possible. When thinking about keeping our community healthy, don’t forget about your own needs. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself. Going for a walk with a close friend is a great way to boost your physical and mental health. You’re surviving college during a global pandemic, which is not an easy feat. Check in with yourself every so often to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.