Tips for Success As a Student in the Midst of a Pandemic

Tips for Success As a Student in the Midst of a Pandemic

By Alycia Howard

(Editor’s Note: Alycia Howard currently serves as secretary of the Minnesota Association of Blind Students. She is attending Minneapolis College.)

As a college student, I have consistently put effort into finding the right balance of staying physically and psychologically sound, while maintaining a good grade point average. No matter what life has had in store for me, I have tried my best to be as adaptable as possible, taking great care to make sure that whatever lifestyle changes I made would have little to no impact on my course work. as COVID-19 quickly made its presence known, life as we all knew it was forever altered.

As everything in life made the abrupt transition to the virtual realm, it became clear to me that a healthy balance between academia and well-being was going to be an integral part of my success going forward. As a new semester begins and the tempo of life starts to pick up again, I have come up with a few reminders and pieces of advice for students of all ages to aid in academic and personal success.

The first thing is to be kind to yourself. In my personal experience, it can be difficult to make time for this. For other students, it could feel more like a waste of precious study time, or like it’s not needed. Let me be the first one to tell you that once you make the effort to set aside even just five minutes of your day to breathe, journal, or whatever helps you relax, you will find that you are more motivated and energized to take on whatever academic work is ahead of you. It doesn’t have to be anything big or elaborate, it could just be something as simple as turning off your technology for a short time, or going for a walk. Whatever works for you, take time away from the business of life to enjoy every moment of that activity.

The second piece of advice is to eat snacks. Many say that eating snacks throughout the day is unhealthy and definitely would not lead to success. However, studies have shown that when done with care and moderation in mind, eating small snacks every few hours can be beneficial to maintaining focus and staying awake throughout those long study sessions. The next time you find yourself struggling to stay on task while working on school assignments, it could just be that you need to have a small healthy snack such as some fruit slices or a granola bar to take that hunger pang away.

Third of all, something that has definitely proven to be very useful for me is to plan out my study sessions. Throughout my college career, there have been times where even though I knew what I needed to be studying, I still felt this sense of overwhelming disorganization when I looked at the list of assignments that needed to be completed. To help mitigate this, I have started to take a few minutes at the beginning of every study session to prioritize what needs immediate attention and what can wait until later, maybe after that small snack. This way, I am able to ensure that deadlines are met and for those bigger projects, that I can work on them little by little to eventually finish on time.

Lastly, and most important of all is to remember there is no such thing as a perfect student. Try as we might to stay on top of our grades and other academic commitments we may have, life will always have some unexpected surprises hidden away, only to be revealed at some inconvenient time. Allow yourself to focus on what’s important in all aspects of life, school or otherwise. As important as it is to keep moving forward on your academic journey, it’s even more imperative that you give yourself the grace and wiggle room to have a life outside of school. Prioritize your time and energy wisely, get a full eight hours of sleep, and make sure you have a good support system to keep you motivated when life seems to be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at you.

In closing, always make sure to be kind to yourself, however that plays out in your life. Grant yourself the ability to stop the seemingly never slowing metronome of time and permit your body and mind to rest, even if just for a moment. As Buddha once said, “Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” In order for us to think about being successful in any sense, we must prepare our whole being for the journey.