Six Tips to Feel Better Prepared for In-Person Classes

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Photo by Sie Douglas-Fish.

After a long year of Zoom courses, UVic students can finally return to campus. For many students, this upcoming school year will be their first in-person college experience.

It’s a recipe for stress. Between forgetting how to navigate campus and the new COVID-19 restrictions, this fall return to campus has heightened my anxiety. To help alleviate some of the back-to-school stress, here are six tips that can help your return to campus life go a little easier.

1. Prepare an emergency kit

Imagine, it’s five minutes before the start of your first class and you suddenly remember that you are not wearing any deodorant. Or on your way to your auditorium, you drop your iced oat milk latte on your white jeans. These strange accidents are, unfortunately, inevitable. We no longer have the luxury of taking home lessons, sometimes all you have is the contents of your bag.

Consider bringing an emergency kit with essentials like stain remover sticks, masks, phone charger, deodorant, and ibuprofen in one place that can save lives. Organizing all your essentials in a small pocket makes it easy to keep what you need with you at all times.

2. Set your class schedule as your wallpaper

If you haven’t had the chance to explore your campus and determine ahead of time where your classes are, the first few weeks can be intimidating. If you set your lock screen to a screenshot of your class schedule, you can quickly take a look at it and know where to go next.

This trick can alleviate that panic between classes, when suddenly you can’t remember which room or building your Philosophy 100 class is in. Having your schedule on your lock screen makes it easy to get to all the information you need without the embarrassment of walking around with your nose buried in a paper.

3. Find a place to nap (or cry) (or both)

Sometimes we need a little break. Especially, during mid-term and exam week, when emotions are high and sleep hours are low, having some space of your own on campus is crucial. Whether it’s a little corner of the library, a tree in the quad, or the back of the theater; find a quiet place where you can recharge your batteries before conquering those three-hour exams and ten-page plus assignments. The third floor of the library is a quiet floor and has a few comfortable chairs for you to relax and rejuvenate in peace.

4. Try to make a friendly acquaintance in each class.

You don’t have to be best friends with everyone who sits in your auditorium, but having someone you are friendly enough to call when you have a last minute homework question can be very helpful. It can also ensure you have a reliable partner for projects or a note-taker when you are sick. Who knows, maybe you will find common interests with them and you will make a new friend.

5. Make sure you know your deadlines (and don’t be afraid to ask for extensions)

At the end of the semester, the motivation to jot everything down in your diary starts to fade. During the program week, record each important due date. This way, you can visualize the time you have to complete your essays, study for tests, and prepare for exams.

If you happen to forget a deadline or find that you are running out of time to complete a project, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension! A study by the National College Assesment found that 70 percent of Uvic students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety and 90 percent of students felt overwhelmed by the amount of tasks they had to complete. Your teachers want to see you succeed, and if you are feeling overwhelmed, they can help. Even if the reason you’re asking for extra time is “I just need more time,” “the worst thing your instructor can say is no. Give it a shot!

6. Take time for yourself

Stepping into a new school year after a year of social isolation can make life even more overwhelming. A Statistics Canada report found that people between the ages of 15 and 34 are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health problems during the pandemic compared to other age groups. Having a counselor to talk to when the going gets tough, taking a meditation class, or just planning a night out for yourself every two weeks can be beneficial for your mental health. Counseling services are available to all UVic students currently enrolled in a diploma program. UVic offers self-care resources like counseling, meditation and spiritual care right here on campus! Never be afraid to ask for help and put yourself first.

This upcoming school year will be like no other, so I hope these tips help make the transition to campus a little smoother.


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