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student health

Health Safety Student Life

How to Stay Healthy When Heading Back to Campus

June 9, 2021

The thought of returning to campus after spending the last year learning from home is exciting, but might also seem a little overwhelming. It’s easy for flu and cold viruses to spread in school environments. How can you stay healthy when making your return?

Go Back Prepared

Travel-sized hand sanitizer can be beneficial. Hand sanitizer is great to have around if you use a bathroom that is out of soap or touch something in a heavily trafficked space and there’s no sink nearby. Also stay vigilant about washing your hands. Staying in this practice will keep you from spreading germs and keep you healthier overall.

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins and supplements can do a lot to help you maintain good health year round.  USANA Health Sciences offers supplements that include important antioxidants and immune-boosting vitamin D and core minerals that your body needs for cell health. Antioxidants give your body the ability to protect against free radicals, which build up when your body breaks down food or takes in tobacco smoke. 

Develop an Exercise Routine

Exercise plays a huge role in keeping you healthy and your immune system strong. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells that affects the immune system in a positive way. Exercising regularly also helps keep you at a healthy weight which can fight disease. 

Plus, being active keeps you outside in fresh air, where viruses don’t spread as easily. To reap the benefits of exercise, you should workout three to five times a week for 30 minutes a day. This might seem tough when you’re busy with classes and extracurriculars, but it’s important to make exercise a priority. 

Make an Effort to Eat Healthy

It’s no surprise that in addition to adding exercise to your regime, a healthy and balanced diet will help keep you well as you head back to campus. You should eat a variety of foods and avoid processed foods. Processed foods are more likely to be high in saturated fats. Research shows that diets high in saturated fats may contribute to a less healthy immune system. 

Also eat plenty of veggies and fruits of all different colors. Eating greens like spinach have huge benefits to your health and wellness. Spinach is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, so you get double the effect in giving your body the nutrients you need. Foods like bell peppers, garlic and broccoli also have positive effects on health. 

Sometimes you’ll have to eat fast food or eat out. Try and look for healthy options on menus and make a point to add in greens. Green smoothies are a great way to incorporate a quick, healthy meal on the go.

As you head back to campus, there are many habits you can incorporate into your daily life to support your health. Being mindful of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. It’s smart to protect yourself from an unexpected medical withdrawal with tuition insurance. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for the fall!

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

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

Tips for Staying Active in the Winter

March 19, 2021

With gym closures and concerns for health during the pandemic, many students have been unable to exercise at their student fitness center or local gym. This has caused a lot of students to take up running and other outdoor activities. Cold weather can make it difficult to run outside and can decrease motivation for staying active.

Here are a few tips for staying active in the winter:

Turn to YouTube

There are many free exercise resources available on YouTube, from yoga to HIIT, you have many options to explore. Channels such as ​Yoga with Adriene​ and N​atacha Océane​ provide quality exercise videos. You can also check out apps like Peloton, Nike Training Club, and ClassPass that offer free training programs, or at least a free trial for one.

Invest in some equipment

It can be worthwhile to invest in some equipment such as resistance bands, a jump rope, and dumbbells. It can be expensive to buy certain items new, but you can always find second-hand equipment on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay. If you don’t want to buy online, check out discount stores or look for sales at major retailers.

Bundle up and embrace the outdoors

If conditions are safe, you can still run outside. Make sure to bundle up and be aware of ice. Here are some​ tips ​for running in the cold such as keeping yourself well lit with limited sunlight. Layers are crucial!

Be mindful of your movement

If you are busy with school work and feel that you don’t have enough time to dedicate to workouts, try to incorporate more movement into your daily routine. This can mean a few jumping jacks between virtual classes or a bit of stretching before going to bed. Try to remain aware of how long you have been sedentary and stand frequently. If you’re running errands, park farther away or opt for the stairs over the elevator or escalator as much as possible.

Repurpose household items

If you don’t have access to workout equipment be creative and repurpose items around your house. This can mean using some textbooks, water jugs, wine bottles or cans of food as weights. Try running up and down your stairs, or using a chair to do some step-ups or tricep dips.

Don’t let gym closures and a loss of your former routine keep you from sticking to your fitness goals. There’s a lot of creative ways to stay active. For more tips on college life make sure to follow us on social media @gradguard.

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.

Student Life

10 Essential Skin Care Tips for Students

February 24, 2021

How much time do you spend caring for your largest organ? When you are balancing a busy schedule and pulling all-nighters, your skincare routine can easily become the first thing to go.

Here are some tips to help you retain radiant skin throughout the school year.

Drink Water

Water is a great method for ​decreasing toxins and improving your skin​. Not only does it help your skin, but water is also essential for your overall health.

Sleep

Getting 7-9 hours of ​sleep​ is vital for your skin health. Make sure to make time for sleep to maintain energy throughout your day and avoid puffy eyes and dull skin. And if you didn’t know it by now, “catching up” on sleep on the weekends is a myth!

Moisturize

Keep your skin hydrated! There are many​ benefits​ to moisturizing your skin regularly. Look for one with SPF to wear during the day, and an extra hydrating one for nighttime.

Exfoliate

It can be beneficial to ​exfoliate​ a few times a week. There are numerous ways to exfoliate, with chemical exfoliation being easier on your skin than physical exfoliate. Be careful when deciding to use a face scrub as it may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin. Talk to a dermatologist or esthetician if you have concerns about sensitivity.

Read the ingredients

It’s really important to read the ingredients on your skincare products! You always want to be mindful of what you are putting on your skin. Here are some ​ingredients​ that you should look out for when purchasing product.

Do your research

It’s important to learn what products are best for your skin type. Do some deep diving on products that will provide the most benefit to you.

Eat your veggies!

A healthy diet has been linked to healthier skin. Here are some examples of the impact that your diet can have on your ​skin​.

Don’t forget sunscreen

Sunscreen is so important! Decrease your chances of ​skin cancer​ and developing wrinkles by applying sunscreen regularly.

Don’t pick on your skin

It can be tempting to pop your pimples and touch your face. Don’t do that! Help prevent scaring by leaving those blemishes alone. Instead, opt for some of these pimple banishing ​solutions​.

Be consistent

It’s important to stay consistent with your skincare routine. One day of leaving your makeup on or not applying sunscreen can have negative results. Start small and aim to wash your face every night before bed, and applying SPF every morning.

Check out more of our ​articles​ for tips and tricks on your self-care practice.

Adulting Health Student Life

How to Learn to Cook When Moving Off Campus

February 12, 2021

Moving off-campus is an exciting time for a college student. It is a step closer to adulthood that can be very liberating but also challenging at times. For many off-campus students, this change means they are saying goodbye to eating at their school’s dining hall. It can be tempting to start a diet of fast food, ramen, and PB&Js but there is a much healthier option that will leave you much more satisfied. Learning to cook!

Here are 5 tips on how to teach yourself to cook when moving off-campus!

Stock Your kitchen

It is important to stock your kitchen full of essentials such as rice, pasta, beans, and spices that you can have on hand when putting together a meal. It can also be helpful to invest in some basic kitchen equipment such as quality pans, pots, spatulas, and a blender. Here is a list of some kitchen supplies that can be purchased on a budget.

Conquer the Basics

When first approaching learning to cook, it can be helpful to focus on some basic meals that you can have in your arsenal on busy school nights. Learning to master some basic recipes can provide a good foundation for when you want to get a bit more sophisticated with your cooking.

Getting Started:

  • Eggs: Scrambled, fried, over easy, omelet
  • Meat: Chicken or turkey breast/thighs/drumsticks, ground beef or patties
  • Whole Grains: Pasta, rice, potatoes

Try New Recipes to Keep it Interesting

It can be easy to fall into a routine of making the same types of meals every week. It is important not only for your health but also for your well-being to diversify the foods you eat. Food blogs are a great resource to find new and exciting recipes. Blogs such as Minimalist Baker, ScheckEats, and Budget Bytes provide fun recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

Meal Prep to Save Time and Money

As a college student, life can become very hectic and it can be hard to find time to cook. Meal prepping is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals throughout the week without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. If you take a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare your food, you can have days of healthy meals to enjoy!

Meal Prep Necessities:

  • Food storage containers – Opt for glass, it’ll last longer than plastic.
  • Baking sheets – Great for roasting large amounts of vegetables.
  • Crockpot, Instant Pot or Air Fryer – These appliances cut down on meal prep and clean up time.

Remember Balance is Key

Nutrition is all about balance. Falling into patterns of restricting your food too heavily or not eating any nutrient-dense foods can be harmful to your mental and physical health. It is important to prioritize foods that leave you feeling nourished while also enjoying the foods that bring you joy. You can enjoy just about anything (yes, even chocolate) when it’s in moderation.

Hopefully these tips will help you kickstart your cooking journey! Check out more of our posts for more information on how to manage your wellbeing in college.

Health

Protecting Against Mental and Physical Fatigue in College

December 11, 2020

Pursuing an education was already a draining proposition before COVID-19 temporarily rewrote the playbook. Now, learning online, in a socially distanced classroom, or via a hybrid of these two options, has become downright exhausting.

As a student, it’s important to take extra precautions to protect yourself from the additional fatigue this can create. Here are a few recommendations for various ways to protect both your mind and your body from the added stress that comes with schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Identify Your Social Support Network

Research regarding lockdown fatigue amongst college students has shown that one of the most important factors to success had to do with social support. Those who perceived a higher social support experience tended to fair better in confinement and lockdowns.

With that in mind, it’s critical that you maintain a solid social support network throughout your time in college. This is particularly challenging during a pandemic. Fortunately, we live in the 21st-century, and there is a plethora of alternative forms of communication that can be used to remain connected to your social network (i.e. your close friends and family), including:

  • Phone calls.
  • Text messages.
  • Social media.
  • Video chats.
  • Email.
  • Handwritten letters.

As you go through school, remain in close contact with your social support network at all times. This can help you identify, process, and address fatigue when it arises.

Consider Your Home Study Setup

One of the most obvious physical barriers to overcome is maintaining your physical health when you’re endlessly studying in lockdown. The need to do homework and attend virtual classes can keep you strapped to your desk and staring at a screen for countless hours every day. You can mitigate the undesirable physical effects that this causes by:

Maintaining your physical condition and endurance can help you remain at the top of your game while you learn from the homefront.

Fight the Mental Battle Daily

Finally, it’s important to make a proactive effort to fight for your mental health. This isn’t a one time deal, but a consistent task that must be tended to on a daily basis.

Letting things like stress go unattended can lead to a variety of different symptoms that can impact your ability to study and learn. This includes things like listening and communication problems, speech issues, developing depression and anxiety, and even poor motor skills. Fight back by:

  • Silencing your inner critic and staying positive.
  • Eating, sleeping, and exercising regularly and in healthy quantities.
  • Maintaining communication with your school’s counseling center.
  • Leaning on your social support network.
  • Meditating daily.
  • Unplugging from your devices when you’re not studying or attending classes.

By taking steps to preserve your mental health, you can ensure that you’re in the best state of mind as you tend to your studies.

Guarding Your Mind and Body

Your educational journey was always meant to be busy. Classes, homework, and exams were going to leave you feeling drained, regardless of the circumstances.

Nevertheless, the unique situation that the coronavirus has created has made it more important than ever to take steps to proactively protect your mind and body from fatigue. So build that social network, perfect your home-study situation, and keep fighting the battle for your mental health every day. Above all, regularly remind yourself that this too shall pass.

Keep your chin up! We’ll all get through this together.

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.

Student Life

Testimonial: Tuition Insurance Can Give You a Do Over for College

December 8, 2020

Most colleges and universities don’t provide full refunds for tuition and academic fees. It’s something many students and families don’t find out about until after it’s too late, and their investment in college is lost. That’s how GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can help in the event of an unexpected medical withdrawal.

Kara first learned about GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance when her son, Andrew, was an incoming freshman at Marist College. She said she wanted to make sure that if anything were to happen that was one of the covered reasons, their big investment in his education wouldn’t be lost. Marist is one of the nearly 400 colleges and universities that rely on GradGuard to protect students from preventable financial losses.

College students and families are smart to have GradGuard

Looking ahead, Kara and Andrew’s decision to purchase tuition insurance was smart. She said her son struggled a little bit the first semester.

“When he went back in the beginning of the spring semester, it became clear that he was not going to be successful, for a variety of mental health issues,” Kara said. “Our first priority was to bring him home, which we did.”

Andrew completed a medical withdraw from school. It was early in the semester, so the family was able to get a partial refund from the school. Then they contacted GradGuard and filed a claim for the balance.

GradGuard provides a refund when schools may not

“The amount that we paid at the beginning of the semester, minus what the school refunded — we got every other cent back from GradGuard,” Kara said. “We were thrilled. That money is for him to pursue his education when he’s ready.”

GradGuard was able to give this family the opportunity for a do over. That’s not something that happens a lot, let alone in college. But when the unexpected happens, GradGuard can help you get back on track. Learn more about how to buy Tuition Insurance for your school using GradGuard’s college search tool.

Questions to ask your college or university:

What will happen to my tuition payment if my college student is forced to withdraw from school due to an illness or even COVID-19?

What is the school’s refund policy?

Do you offer tuition insurance?

Safety

Safety for College Students Over the Holidays

December 3, 2020

With the holidays and subsequent winter break quickly approaching, it’s time to start making plans. As stressful as this time of year can be, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, it’s imperative you’re taking the right precautions to keep your physical, emotional, and mental health safe.

Whether you’re traveling back home or staying in place this year, here are some tips worth keeping in mind over the upcoming winter break:

Brush Up on Road Safety Tips

Many students are most likely finding their travel plans up in the air this year. For some, flying back home is no longer a possibility as airplanes can be major hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. With that in mind, there’ll likely be more cars than usual on the road as people try to travel more safely back home. Beyond being a more attentive and cautious driver to better navigate the increase in traffic, it’s also important to remember basic safety tips if your car breaks down:

  • Be Prepared: Before you hit the road, pack your car with an emergency kit that includes essentials such as water, blankets, personal safety accessories, and first aid necessities. It may take a while for help to reach you if you get stuck in a snowbank in a remote area or the like, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared in case you have to wait a bit.
  • Stay With Your Vehicle: If you’re in a hurry and break down, it might be tempting to start walking towards the nearest gas station or town, but that can be dangerous. You could be injured by other drivers while walking or get lost in dangerously cold temperatures. If you have to walk, make sure you are as visible as possible to others.
  • Get Your Car Off of the Road (If Possible): The best-case scenario if you’re having car issues is to get on the shoulder of the road; however, that’s not always possible. If you break down in the middle of the road, most cars can still be steered to a safe waiting area with the help of another passenger. If you’re traveling alone though, the risks that come with trying to steer and push your car to the shoulder are sometimes more dangerous than breaking down on the road itself. If you can’t move, make yourself as visible as possible with your hazards, flares, flags, or reflectors to avoid accidents.

Of course, the ideal situation is that you’ll arrive at your destination without any hiccups — but on the off chance that something does go awry, knowing what to do can keep you safe and get you back on the road faster. 

Practice Self-Regulation to Combat Stress

This year has been an extremely difficult time for several reasons: sudden campus closures, remote learning difficulties, canceled social events, and more. And now, many students are feeling the mental and emotional health strain of not being able to go back home to see loved ones during major holidays. 

Learning more about self-regulation skills and utilizing them is a great and healthier way for students, beyond the pandemic and holidays, to handle stressors. Additionally, self-regulation skills make things such as completing assignments, regulating our emotions, and preparing for upcoming semesters more manageable. Of course, this can be helpful for anyone, regardless of age or station in life, but with higher rates of depression and anxiety among young adults, developing self-regulation skills and anticipating setbacks can be critical to being safer and more successful.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Professional Help

If there was only one word to sum up this year, a strong contender would likely be disappointment. With most major social events such as Rush Week, homecoming, and school games being canceled, along with internships, performances, and other extracurricular activities, this year is disappointing for a lot of students. Of course, these are necessary precautions to ensure the safety of campuses and communities, but it can still be hard to come to terms with.

Luckily, there are resources to help you if you find yourself struggling to cope with everything this year. Moreover, with the increased use of telemedicine thanks to COVID-19, setting up virtual sessions with a therapist or campus counselor is easier than ever. Check your campus-provided counseling resources to see if they’re a fit for you and your needs or, if you’re under 26 years old and still on your parent’s insurance, set up an appointment with your healthcare provider to get a referral. It’s okay to need a little extra help sorting through your emotions during this crisis, especially while also juggling your academic life. 

AUTHOR BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Health

Adapting to the New Normal: What College Will Look Like in 2021

November 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and forced colleges to change their approach to education. In-person classes would put both teachers and students at risk of catching the virus, so a lot of colleges had to switch to remote teaching. It seems that we will have to stick to remote learning for the coming year as pharmaceuticals still race to create a vaccine for the virus. You can expect colleges to adapt to different ways of holding classes, add new tasks for educators, and introduce new rules as they navigate growing challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Hybrid Learning

Many colleges have announced that they will continue to conduct classes virtually, especially as the number of cases continues to grow. However, once the vaccine for COVID-19 hits the market, you can expect them to adopt a hybrid model of learning. This model is a mix of in-person and virtual classes.

It will be a challenge at first for colleges to return back to only in-person classes. They will most likely have to ensure that all students on campus have been vaccinated – a reason why many institutions might not go back to the usual ways of teaching immediately. Some of the colleges and universities have already started using the hybrid model of learning in the fall of 2020, and the number of them will only grow next year, since experts predict the COVID-19 vaccine should be available mid-2021.

More one-on-one time with educators

Lecturers will likely be expected to put in extra time with virtual office hours to make up for the lack of in-person classes. Switching to remote learning has not been easy for students. There are many distractions online that can get in the way of learning during a virtual class, which means lecturers will have to put in more effort to keep students engaged and, at times, even dedicate more of their own time to one-on-one sessions with students, to gauge how much they have learned and if they need any additional help.

This of course will not be easy for lecturers to do, so it will be interesting to see the role of the college administration to hold them accountable and motivate them to invest even more time in their students.

Precautions like never before

In the scenario that a vaccine is made public and colleges go back to in-person classes only, there will probably have to be extreme precautions, some of which we have seen being applied throughout 2020. You can expect the number of students per class to stay trimmed down, so they can be socially distanced inside the classrooms. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask and limit physical contact. Colleges will also need to improve their medical centers to ensure they can respond to any major outbreaks that may arise.

Precautions will not only be limited to the classrooms. Libraries, dorms, and other spaces on campus will adopt precautions to ensure students, faculty, and other employees on campus are safe.

Like most industries, colleges continue to adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic. Until COVID-19 is controlled, you can expect colleges to stick to remote learning with limited, if at all, face to face interaction between faculty and students. 2021 hopes to bring some light with many hopeful that a vaccine will be introduced soon. But only time will tell.

BIO: With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita Sambol has a ‘super-power’ of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she’s also including her own experience from student and business life.