How to thrive at school during COVID-19

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Starting university, or any post-secondary institution for that matter, is always a big step in someone’s life. During this pandemic, that step is an even more nerve-racking and unimaginable one, because there are all sorts of new rules to contend with. Students must wear a face mask when going to class in-person, and they must also practice social distancing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay! This is new for all of us. To help cope, prepare, and be informed about what the school year is going to look like, here are some tips:

Getting used to wearing a mask

Some people say that they have some difficulties with breathing while wearing a mask—if this is something you feel applies to you, here are some tips to help:

  • Make sure that when you’re wearing a mask, you breathe in through your nose, instead of through your mouth because that will prevent it from getting sucked in, which makes it much more difficult to breathe.
  • Before any of your classes start, wear your mask for about an hour at a time in your home. Then, when that feels normal, work your way up to multiple hours a day, and then when possible, wear it for as long as you’ll be in the school building, as practice for classes.
  • Make sure that your mask is clean. Hand wash if possible, and do not put in the dryer as it will shrink.
  • Make sure your mask fits well so that it’s relatively comfortable and works properly.
  • Last of all, tie the bands of your mask in a ribbon or bow-shaped pattern to allow air to flow easier, and also make it so that your mask won’t be pulled into your mouth/nose while you’re breathing. 

Coping with social distancing

Online video services, such as Zoom, are a great way to stay connected.

Making friends this school year may be more difficult due to social distancing regulations. If possible, try using the following tips to help in easing the feeling of loneliness:

  • Add people on social media or via text message, rather than communicating in-person.
  • Call people every so often instead of messaging them to feel less alone.
  • Use video chatting so you can see each other’s faces and feel like you’re actually together.
  • Join school clubs and activities, as they are still going on during the pandemic, even if the delivery is different. This is a great way to meet new people.

In-person classes

Most classes this term have converted to an online platform.

If you happen to be taking in-person classes this year, things will look much different than they did back in the fall and winter semester. Some of the things that will be different are:

  • Lecture halls will have certain seats closed off to ensure social distancing.
  • The cafeteria is set up so that there is plexiglass between two seats, and there are no more booths available.
  • There are directional arrows to follow when walking around campus and some of the benches and chairs that are situated around campus are closed off (such as in the Ward Chipman Library – there are no more booths available to sit at outside Tim Hortons.)
  • The Hans W. Klohn Commons can only be entered via appointment, which you can book online. You must check in when you arrive.
  • There are many hand sanitizer stations available around campus. 
  • The Tim Hortons located near the Ward Chipman Library will be closed for the semester.

Seek out help when you need it

All of this may be very overwhelming, so please don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need to. Whether that’s here at the school or via RealCampus, if you’re struggling with adapting to these changes, there are people there to help you. However, these steps are important and in place to protect us all, and if we can comply with these changes, the school year should be a safe and positive learning experience for us all.