This semester has taken an unexpected turn and I hope you are all safe and healthy. These times are stressful, and a lot of things have changed very quickly, which can take a mental toll. Along with this stress comes the changes to our academic term switching to an online format. This is incredibly important to increase social distancing, a practice that encourages people to stay at home and avoid social gatherings to reduce the spread of Covid-19. If you wish to learn more about this, I suggest reading here.
This week, I was going to reflect back on my goals from the beginning of the term. This is still a valid topic for this situation to help me realize what I will need for the upcoming month. My original goals for the term were:
- Using my accommodation requests from Accessibility Services for the first time and seeing how they benefit my learning, and
- Finding a better balance between academics, extracurriculars, and personal time
I can easily say that I have greatly benefited from using my accommodations. However, as I will be staying home and am choosing to not write my final midterms and exams in the Exam Centre, I will have to adapt to new changes yet again, described here by Accessibility Services. Thankfully, I will still be getting accommodations and have had incredible support with professors who are understanding of my accessibility needs. Since most of my testing has been moved online, I will have to truly ensure that I get my home ready with the least amount of distractions, similar to the setting I would get with ATS. My goal is to:
- Set up a clock and stopwatch separate from my computer to keep me on track
- Clean out a proper space where I can have room to lay out scrap paper and connect my laptop to a charger
- Wear headphones to minimize sounds from neighbours or cars driving by
- Make my seating arrangement have the least amount of visual distractions possible, including removing posters and calendars temporarily
I am incredibly thankful that I can have a proper space to study. Even though I usually do not work from home, I hope that setting up part of a room in this sense could be beneficial for even completing the rest of my assignments.
In terms of my second goal, I admit that I have not been able to find this proper balance and time management. This term has had many events and personal situations occur, which have made it easy to ignore classes and solely focus on this that I personally enjoy, especially extracurriculars. Now that these are unfortunately cancelled, for the most part, my time will be split between classes and personal time.
Since the work is done from home, part of me feels incredibly guilty for taking any personal time during the day because it feels like there is always some work to be completed. Finding a new balance with a new schedule will be difficult, but I am hoping to take just a bit of time off every day from a computer screen and take time to relax from everything happening.
While this semester is one that is incredibly changed, I hope that every student is able to find something that makes this time a bit easier. Reaching out to professors for assistance and getting in contact with advisors can help you transition to this new curriculum and routine. Take some time for yourself to reflect on how the upcoming month will look like. Be kind during this time and take care of your mental health. For example, Skule Mental Wellness has some Instagram posts with tips for taking care of yourself during this time. We will get through this.