Browsing Tag

college during the pandemic

Student Life

The Biggest Problems Remote Students Are Facing

June 11, 2021

More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are certainly some things we can look back on and learn from. Although many of us have had to deal with numerous sacrifices and life changes, students have probably had to adjust to some of the biggest. Not only are many of them being forced to learn remotely and online without in-person support from an educator, but they are also limited socially during one of the most important stages of social development in life.

Remote learning in and of itself has led to some challenges that students are struggling to work through effectively. Many are looking forward to getting back to being in the classroom, but for now, addressing some of the issues is one of the best things schools and local governments can do for them. 

Getting Connected

It probably isn’t too great of a surprise, but many families with school-aged kids aren’t exactly rolling in funds. Stay-at-home orders with remote work and education has put an even greater strain on family finances. For many students, not having a computer available to complete school work from home is the first issue they run into when trying to keep up with the rest of the class.

Some students have had to resort to sharing the family’s one computer with siblings, meaning not everyone can be online for class at the same time. This can present challenges when it comes to making sure each child is getting a quality educational experience. There is also growing evidence that this was a struggle students and teachers were dealing with long before the pandemic started.

Staying Engaged

Anyone who has been working from home during any point of the pandemic can testify there are far more distractions at home than in the office or classroom. This is equally, if not more so, truer for young students. Not only are there things to do around the house that aren’t school work, but it is also easy to get distracted online. Internet safety concerns amongst parents are on the rise as their kids spend more and more time connected to a screen.

It can also be hard for students to focus for other reasons. The pandemic hasn’t been easy and many students are working through trauma and stress associated with the dramatic changes in their lives over the past year. It can be hard to accomplish any school work effectively when dealing with mental health issues. For this reason, some schools are striving to make online counseling available to students who may be struggling; unfortunately, these services are the exception and not the norm.

For college students who have had to return home after living in dorms, living with family again has presented its own problems. The distractions of college life are not the same as those at home, where parents and siblings may demand more immediate responses. One way college students can be successful at learning remotely is by taking a cue from remote workers: set specific office hours and make them public — then no one is allowed to disturb you during your office hours.

Online learning, no matter the level, has the potential to open up a lot of opportunities for the right students in the right situations. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic was not one of those situations and many students are struggling in numerous ways. Connection issues, distractions, and mental health are major factors that can limit student engagement and that need to be addressed for long-term success.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Health Student Life

5 Alternatives to Reset Your Mind, Body And Career After Pandemic Inactivity

May 10, 2021

The pandemic caused substantial changes to our lifestyles. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing generally made us more sedentary and unhealthy, from many points of view. The average person probably put on a few pounds. More so, many people’s mental happiness may have declined due to a lack of socialization. Thankfully, we’re starting to see the end of lockdowns, and we can begin rebuilding our minds, body, and career. Combine physical exercise, healthy food, and meditation, and you’ll feel better, stronger, and more capable of advancing your career.

Let’s explore five alternatives to reset our system:

1. Combating occupational disease

Deskbound jobs are dangerous if left unchecked. And if office jobs were problematic before, nowadays, the issue is greater. The combination between the static nature of desk jobs and the pandemic’s general inactivity is highly detrimental to our health. Sedentarism, or lack of activity, can cause many health problems. Too much sitting can lead to chronic pain, cardiovascular problems, and metabolic issues. That’s why it’s vital to contrast it with regular breaks. As a general rule, you should take a 5-minute break every half an hour. This might be taking a few steps around your room, or even grabbing a cup of water or coffee.

Alternatively, people that spend too much time on their feet are also at risk. Standing too much can strain leg muscles, ligaments, and veins. Just as you would take a break from sitting down all day, take a few breaks from standing to sit for a few minutes.

2.   Sport, self-massage, and stretching

Apart from small work breaks, you should work out a few times a week and stretch daily. Physical activity is one of the best ways to replenish health, according to research. Workouts don’t have to be complex or take up a big part of your day. You can use your own bodyweight or opt for weights. Search the internet for beginner home workouts and get right into it. Put on some music and make a party out of it! 

Also, don’t forget to include heart exercises. Even in tight spaces, you can still perform jumping jacks, burpees, and similar cardio drills that will do wonders for your whole body.

Don’t forget how important it is to stretch and massage your muscles after a work out! Take 5 to 15 minutes to do a few stretches. For muscle soreness, using a foam roller will help with this.

3.   Plant-based nutrition, hydration, and sleep

The general eating trend of the pandemic is delivery food. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, fast food damages our physical health and keeps us from being happy with ourselves. If you want to improve yourself beyond recognition, start integrating plant-based meals into your diet; this means little to no animal products. It may seem challenging, but the rewards are well worth it. Don’t know where to start? Here are the basics:

  • Fruits in a large variety. Incorporate a piece of fruit in meals or swap them out for an afternoon snack.
  • Vegetables should be your foundation. Eat them raw, boiled, and cooked.
  • Tubers like potatoes, beets, carrots will give your body energy for longer periods.
  • Whole grains like rice, grains, oats, barley help with digestion and balances your system.
  • Legumes such as beans, lentils, pulses are fantastic sources of protein without inflammatory components. 

Sleeping and drinking enough water are also fundamental. Generally, you want eight hours of quality rest. Furthermore, the “8 by 8 rule” is a terrific way of keeping count of your water intake: drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.    

4.   Meditation and yoga

Just about everybody knows about meditation and yoga, but very few practice it. There’s a reason why similar disciplines became so popular even in the Western world – it’s because they work. For instance, Hatha yoga and Tai chi are excellent practices for newbies. Search online for a few simple routines, try them for a little bit, and see how you feel.     

5.   Mindfulness techniques

The last point of our list regards stress management. In this mind technique, the individual tries to rationalize the negative feelings as soon as possible. Becoming aware of harmful emotions can cancel the consequences of said sentiments. It takes a little practice, but the method can save you a ton of headaches.

For example, suppose you’ve received some bad news at work regarding hour reduction. Instead of feeling dreadful, try to become aware of your emotions and control them from the get-go. Sure, fewer hours mean less pay, but nothing fatal happened in the grand scheme of things. You’re not in control of the hour management, so why go crazy over it? Breathe in deep a couple of times and go on with your day stress-free!      

            The pandemic situation is harsh on everyone’s mind, body, and career. However, by eating clean, sleeping well, and drinking enough water, you’ve made the first step to a healthier lifestyle. Add in physical activity, stretching, and self-massage, and you’ll reinforce yourself with golden armor. Lastly, adding mindfulness techniques and frequent meditation/yoga will make sure your mind is ready for any challenge.    

BIO: Charlie Svensson is an experienced writer and content creator on topics such as education, marketing, and self-growth.

Health Student Life

Returning to Campus Without Regrets

March 5, 2021

After a surge in early winter, COVID-19 cases have begun to decline. Seasonal factors, an increase in mask wearing and social distancing, partial immunity, and the vaccine rollout have combined to stem the tide — at least for now. With more variants popping up, however, nothing is certain. 

Despite ongoing uncertainty, more colleges and universities are reopening, or preparing to reopen. What does that mean for you as a college student? How can you return to campus with confidence? Here are some ideas on getting back to class without regrets. 

Don’t let up on healthy habits

Even with vaccines becoming available and new case numbers dropping, the Center for Disease Control says it’s essential to stay vigilant. Keep taking the standard precautions:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Use hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfect shared surfaces — like desks, countertops, appliance knobs, light switches, etc. — with antibacterial wipes.
  • Wear face masks. Double-masking is even more effective.
  • Maintain social distance of at least six feet between yourself and others. In classrooms, this may mean keeping an empty desk between yourself and your nearest classmate.

Be aware of the externals

As you return to the classroom, be aware of external risk factors that can affect your safety.

  • Time — How much time are you spending around people? The less, the better.
  • Space — The more space you can keep between yourself and others, the safer you’ll be.
  • People — Large numbers of people in small spaces increase the risk of transmission.
  • Place — Outdoors is best. But if your classes are indoors (as most are), classrooms should have adequate ventilation and room for social distancing.

Take precautions on the road

With more people returning to school and work, more vehicles will be on the road. Be aware of how this affects you as you return to school.

  • Stay vigilant. People who haven’t been driving might take a while to get their skills back up to speed.
  • Leave enough time for your commute. Don’t put yourself in a position of rushing to get to class.
  • Check the weather and drive cautiously. This winter has produced some of the craziest weather in memory, resulting in icy roads and lots of wrecks. 
  • Know what to do in case you’re in an accident.
  • Be sure you have the proper auto and injury insurance.

Take charge of your finances

  • Set a budget that allows you to remain free of financial worry as you focus on your classes.
  • Begin building your credit. Consider a card that’s secured by an account deposit so you don’t charge more than you can afford.
  • Cut back where you can. If you get a job just so you can afford a video game system, you’ll have less time to focus on your studies: You’ll either be at work or playing.

Don’t be afraid to request safety measures

  • Ask your instructor to be sure your classroom is properly ventilated.
  • If you’re uncomfortable in class, see whether lectures will be available online.
  • Request that personal protective equipment (PPE) be available in class. Bring your own anyway, just in case.
  • Most schools have long since pivoted to turning in assignments online. Make sure it’s an option for you.

Resuming classes is stressful enough without the added anxiety of dealing with health risks. Fortunately, if you take these precautions, you’ll be more likely to return to campus with confidence that you’ll be safe. Then you can focus on your studies, rather than worrying about things that can get in the way. 

BIO: My name is Jessica Larson. I’m a married Midwestern mom and a solopreneur. I create online courses for students, and I’ve started and run several other businesses through the years. My goals are to support my family while still actually spending time with them, to act as an entrepreneurial role model for my two daughters, and to share what I’ve learned through The Solopreneur Journal.