Cartoon portrait of therapy session

3 Things the Pandemic has Taught Me as a Student

As the pandemic rides on, I thought it's important for me to reflect on the changes I've had to make with my life as a student. With the first full year of online learning and limited social interaction, I've had some more time to myself and have had to consider things that I had never considered before. Although the pandemic has been terrible, I've learned a few new things this past year.

Spending all day sitting at my desk results in the need for a drastic change in my diet

Back when we had live, in-person classes, I would have to spend at least 3 hours of my day walking around campus trying to get from one room to the other and those hours add up to a decent amount of exercise for the week. Since the pandemic started I spend most of my time at my desk, on my bed or on the couch because classes, work and extracurriculars are online. I have basically been living a very sedentary lifestyle and I had to wake up and realize I just can't eat the same way that I used to. Before the pandemic I would eat at least one unhealthy meal day, binge on late night study snacks and go out to eat with my friends very often but all of that has had to change. I've had to reduce my calories and incorporate more greens and protein into my diet because I don't move around as much anymore. The change in my diet has been great and has really helped with coping with the stress of school. I never knew I would enjoy salads this much and will definitely keep aspects of this routine going even when things finally open back up!

Salad and a snickers bar
Feta Greek Salad with a snicker bar-My lunch for Monday!

Exercise and Good Mental Health Practices are NOT Optional

"I don't have time to go to the gym or engage in non-academic activities" was always spewing out of my mouth whenever I was encouraged to exercise or do something for my mental health but I've come to learn that these activities should not be treated as an optional part of our lives. Exercise and mental health practices are mandatory just like school and work, and I've had to incorporate these into my student life. Attending some of the wellness workshops offered at U of T has been helpful, and going on short walks whenever I can has helped with my health and also in performing better academically.

flowers and water color set
Painting for self expression and mental health care!

It's up to you to feed your social needs

It's up to me to address my social needs! I needed to engage with other people more often and I needed to build up my school spirit despite how unconventional things have been so far. I've had to make the decision to go schedule online socials and professional networking into my calendar and actually attend them. I've had to be more purposeful with calling and texting my friends even though I wasn't used to it before. I've quickly learned that some connections are lost simply because I did not remember to pick up the phone and reach out.

Zoom call snapshot
Networking and Building Connections at a Conference

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