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With most colleges and universities closed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, administrators have asked millions of students to pack up and leave campuses across the country. Unfortunately, many people can’t head home because of travel restrictions, off-campus housing leases and other unavoidable obstacles — even as we approach the summer.
What should you do? If you’re a student that needs to remain in their off-campus living situation, take a look at this guide for suggestions and resources.
Online Classes, Quizzes and Exams From Off-Campus Housing
Today, online courses aren’t uncommon. However, a large number of students haven’t experienced virtual work – and recently, most colleges had to make the switch. Now that you’re outside of the classroom, it’s up to you to stay updated and diligent. It’s essential to think about your online courses as you would normally. In other words, you have to show up and pay attention.
As a first step, take a look at your email. Have your professors contacted your class about schoolwork? Screenshot or save any messages so you can use them as a reference. You should also consult Blackboard, Top Hat or any other sites you use to access assignments. Once you’ve narrowed down each class, take note of key information. Then, do your best to create a schedule.
Your professors likely want to hold virtual webinars within their standard time slots. So, if you take a math class from 1:30 to 2:50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that’s when you’ll attend your online course. Use a planner to detail quizzes and tests, too. Set specific reminders so you never miss an assignment. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors and advisers, either.
Part-Time Jobs and Meal Plans
If you have a part-time job to earn extra money, you may not be able to return to it for a while. As campuses continue to close, many students find themselves out of work. Thankfully, there’s a list of resources you can look into while you practice isolation during quarantine and afterwards:
- If you’re part of federal work-study, reach out to your university’s financial aid department. It can provide information that’s specific to your situation.
- Contact professors and advisors to see if there are any potential remote roles. If you’re a teaching assistant, try to work out an arrangement with your designated professor.
- Ask your landlord about a temporary rent adjustment. Look online for updates from utility companies. In any case, keep track of your bills so you can reference them down the line.
- If you’re an intern, offer to complete projects from home.
- Consider becoming a delivery driver or searching for virtual work opportunities.
Some schools have created work-from-home opportunities for their students, so don’t forget to inquire about those possibilities. If you’re a graduate student, you may make student loan payments. In light of our current situation, a recent act was passed to provide relief to various borrowers from March through September.
You may also need to find an alternative to your standard meal plan since you’re living off-campus. You’ll want to get in touch with your college’s student affairs office to talk about potential support. If you can’t get anywhere, don’t be afraid to reach out to a local church or pantry. That said, use those opportunities as a last resort. Several cities and towns don’t have the resources to manage a pandemic for their current populations.
Mental Health and Self-Care in Your Off-Campus Home
If you feel stressed or anxious as a result of your current situation, you’re not alone. It’s more important than ever to manage your mental health, especially when you can’t visit your friends and family. Here are a few different ideas to help you stay positive:
- Use FaceTime, Zoom or Google Hangouts to talk with your loved ones.
- Go for a walk or do a quick exercise at least every other day.
- Learn how to meditate so you can be mindful and
generate meaningful thoughts.
- Try to ingest information through podcasts, books and videos.
- Disconnect from news outlets and social media.
As always, do your best to support yourself by eating healthily and drinking water. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact your university’s counseling center. You’ll be able to get in touch with a professional. No one should ever be alone despite social distancing – especially through an event like COVID-19.
What to Do Next
You may want to focus on what comes next for your college career. Unfortunately, many schools don’t know themselves. You could inquire about commencement ceremonies, tuition reimbursement, summer classes or another situation, but be conscious that there may not be an answer yet.
For now, it’s essential to focus on your coursework and mental health. If you want to check out the news, remember to stick to the facts – and don’t forget to continue to practice social distancing. This way, you can concentrate on what matters right now.
Use These Tips to Manage COVID-19 While Living in Off-Campus Housing
This time is hard, but try to remember that in time, this pandemic will pass — isolation during quarantine won’t last forever. Do all you can to find healthy, positive ways to cope and make the most of staying off campus. There are many different resources for students in similar situations — and although you may feel lonely, you’re not alone.