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College students around the country are trying to figure out the best way to finish their school year through Zoom lectures and Respondus LockDown exams during stay-at-home orders and extended social distancing. While some students at DU have chosen to stay in Denver, others have made the move home. No matter our situations, we are all dealing with the stress of COVID-19 while navigating spring quarter. I have outlined some things that I have done to help ensure success this spring.

Student smiling in front of a computer

Source: Getty Images

(1) Designate spaces
While at DU, I was never the person to be doing schoolwork from my apartment. I spent large chunks of time in the library and had my favorite spots all mapped out. Obviously, Anderson Academic Commons and local public libraries are all closed for the time being, so the perfect quiet nooks with no distractions are also gone. To me it’s important to say, “this is the spot where I take my Zoom classes,” “this is where I eat meals” and “this is where I can relax” so I have designated spaces in my house for school activities and home activities.

(2) Have conversations with your family and/or roommates
I figured out pretty quickly that there needed to be some ground rules set with my family. Not interrupting when someone is in a class, dividing up house responsibilities and being respectful of each other’s space will help keep everyone getting along while isolating inside together. 

(3) Meditate!
We’re in the middle of a pandemic and not knowing what next week, or even tomorrow, will look like is scary. It’s easy to let negativity override your thoughts, but keeping an optimistic and clear mind will help you focus on the things you need to get done. 

(4) Have plans for internet problems 
I’ve already had to talk to Google Fiber via online chat once when my internet was running slow and it was worth the 30 minutes of my time. If you’ve already run into internet connection issues, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again—or that you have a backup plan in case it does—especially during an exam or important meeting. If you need additional help, the DU IT department is available.

(5) Form relationships with your professors and classmates
It’s important to still have relationships during this lockdown with the people you’re interacting with. During lectures, keep your video on (if possible); professors like to see that you’re engaged. Participate in live class discussions and Canvas discussion boards. Take advantage of office hours, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help from your professors, TAs and classmates.

(6) Have realistic expectations
You won’t be able to study for eight hours uninterrupted at home, so practice self-compassion! You’re doing the best you can during a stressful and difficult time, which may be different from your best during a normal quarter, and that is okay. Along with this, have an understanding for others.

(7) Have a study plan
Make calendars, lists and schedules, even if you didn’t before! Time seems to be going a lot faster for me while in quarantine and I can scroll through my phone for longer than I realize. I’ve found it helpful to be more regimented with my time, but understanding that schedules may change is important.

(8) Familiarize yourself with the resources DU is providing
While most of us are not on campus anymore, DU resources are still here to help us. A few to consider:

Abby Walker is a second-year student majoring in biology and psychology at the University of Denver and a student employee in the Daniels Office of Communications and Marketing. She is finishing her spring quarter from home in Kansas City, Kansas.