- Atikah from ELEVEN
Tips for University Life During COVID-19
Upon receiving my university acceptance letter, I was initially keen but later on, felt both exhilaration and apprehension about entering a new phase of life. I’m definite that this feeling resonates with those who were matriculating in August for the first time as well; the feeling of anxiety, uncertainty, hope as well as aspiration. This time, however, there was a catch to kick-start this “university life” experience — I was entering university online!
There is always a tint of nervousness and unease whenever we think about transitioning into a new phase of life, particularly when it involves meeting new people, making new friends, finding a suitable balance between your studies and co-curricular activities or, even hall commitments.
It can be arduous to fully accept a new phase of life. For me, that was further complicated by the ‘new normal’ brought by COVID-19. There were a plethora of concerns regarding how universities would function, with confusing phrases such as “blended classroom” being tossed around.
Adapting to university life during this new normal would be different from what I’d anticipated it to be – it was clearly evident.
Firstly, the orientation was held online. Nevertheless, it was a very crucial step in moving forward. Orientation is pretty significant in terms of exposure and adapting. I can't emphasise this enough. Orientation is such an important step to adjusting to university life. You make new friends with your fellow course mates as well as seniors. Although we met virtually, the seniors were nice, friendly and approachable. They were also very thoughtful. They shared some academic information such as advice about STARS (Student Automated Registration System), recommended food places on campus as well as some study places.
Academics wise, most of the lectures were held online and recorded. However, some modules took on a flipped-classroom approach, which is a similar method used in polytechnics, where we learn the contents ourselves and practise them on campus. The tutorials were mostly physical. However, some modules’ tutorials were hybrid — physical and virtually on alternate weeks. Labs were held on campus.
Something you probably want to take note of, it is quite important to keep track of your work. You might not want to complete your tutorial after your tutorial lessons. It is recommended for you to do so beforehand so that you can have your queries answered in class. This also helps reduce the probability of you falling behind in your studies.
All in all, embrace yourselves and be mentally prepared. University can be quite overwhelming. The following are some tips that might be beneficial:
1. Plan a schedule and set goals
It is crucial to plan your time well, especially during the COVID-19 period, as you may lose track of time since almost all of your studies are online. By factoring in time to study as well as socialise in your schedule, you ought to be able to manage your time effectively, rather than letting precious time fly away from you. Apart from socialising, you may want to pick up new hobbies or skills. If implemented properly,, your schedule should allow you to spend time with your friends, have the occasional slothful day at home and adequate time to keep up with your degree programme.
2. Live a balanced, healthy life
Due to the intensity as well as the bustling schedule of college life, one thing that numerous students often neglect is their health. In the long run, maintaining good physical and mental well-being is just as important as having good academic accomplishments. Your health plays a very significant role in your future success and the sustainability of your career. You’ll need to keep your energy level up. The best method is by eating healthy and getting regular exercise. Good sleeping habits can also boost your energy level and make it easier to achieve a healthy life-study balance. Additionally, remember to drink enough water and sleep well!
3. Make friends and have fun
Life will be exceptionally stressful if you were to spend 7 days a week just studying. It is essential to balance your college days by also having some fun with your friends. Having some downtime can really alleviate a significant portion of your stress, rejuvenate your mind and spirit as well as allow you to be geared up to embark on a new week!