In this era of uncertainty, everything is up in the air. Unfortunately, that includes going to college, at least in person. Most people only spend 4 years in college, so losing a year, plus the time we lost last semester, can be devastating. We all go to college to get an education, but also to make memories. Having this time cut short is not easy on anyone. Here is how to cope with staying home from campus this semester.
1. You will save a ton of money
Living at a college campus is EXPENSIVE. Not only do you have to buy all of your own food, but you tend to hang out with friends on the weekends, which can also get really expensive. Whether you choose to live at home or get your own place, you are going to save a ton of money. First of all, everything is closed anyway, meaning you have far fewer opportunities to spend money anyways. Secondly, living away from campus means your cost of living will go way down. Thirdly, with classes being online, you will have time to get a job and work more hours than you would if you were living on campus. Yes, staying home from the true college experience is terrible, but at least you are able to save and earn more money as a result.
2. Now is the time to focus on your true potential
Going to classes every day, perhaps holding down a job, and maintaining a social life takes up a lot of time. So much time that you are probably not used to growing and practicing your talents while living at a college campus. During this time of staying at home, you now have time to focus on yourself and your true potential. We all have talents and interests that we don’t have time to pursue, but the current times are an exception. To cope with the social experiences of college being put on hold, try picking up that guitar again, try to finally learn how to song-write, try to learn how to code, get back into painting, the possibilities are endless. The Black Death, a deadly pandemic in the 1300s, was a far more deadly pandemic than the one we are facing now. The attitude of most was that of pessimism and despair. Yet, following the Black Death, Europe entered the Renaissance, a time considered the peak of art and culture. Pandemics, while horrible and deadly, tend to bring about times of creativity and artistry. If you use your extra time to get back into your talents and interests or discover new ones, you can contribute to a time like the Renaissance, filled with art and creativity.
3. Know that this is for the best. Your body will thank you.
COVID-19 is no joke, and just because you are young does not mean you should take the threat lightly. Staying home will allow you to still make progress towards a degree but in a safer environment. Campuses are likely to become hotspots for COVID-19. With dorm rooms, shared bathrooms, shared kitchens, and cramped classrooms/lecture halls, social distancing will be nearly impossible on campus. In fact, the long term effects of COVID-19 aren’t even known yet, and long term lung damage is possible. Prevention is the best line of defense, and there is no better prevention than staying home. At the end of the day, going to stay at a campus during a worldwide deadly pandemic is just not realistic right now. It will be impossible to follow all of the protective measures. If you contract COVID-19, you will have no place to quarantine. There are simply too many hurdles to jump to make living at campus safe. Know that staying home is the best decision to protect yourself and others. Your body will thank you for the precautions you are taking.
4. Stay in touch with friends
Even though it is no replacement for spending the semester with them in person, try and stay in touch with your friends. You can do this through Zoom, FaceTime, or social media. Remember, most people are staying home just like you. Staying in touch with these friends can ensure that you will stay close to them and pick up where you left off when it’s finally time to go back to campus. Even though it’s important to stay separate during this time, it doesn’t mean your friendships need to be ignored. Put in the effort and make sure these relationships are sustained. It’s going to be weird if the day comes where it’s finally time to go back to campus and you haven’t talked to your friends in months! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it to continue communicating with the people you care about. We are all going through tough times, and staying in touch will help ease the anguish. Try to do a virtual Netflix party, or plan to get lunch at the same time and FaceTime each other for a virtual lunch date. There are plenty of fun ways to stay in touch thanks to today’s technology, so make sure you take advantage of it.
5. Know that this is not forever
Even though it seems like life will never be the same, The COVID-19 pandemic will pass eventually. In fact, there are already promising results on a vaccine. The point is, it’s important to understand that nothing lasts forever, not even COVID-19. College years are limited, and having time taken away from on-campus learning can prevent a lot of great experiences from happening. For underclassmen, there is always next year. We are likely to face a difficult remainder of the year. But with today’s medical technology, science is making headway faster than ever before. This means that coming back to campus the year after this year is a real possibility, and something to remain cautiously optimistic about. For upperclassmen, know that you have made great memories and experiences in years past. And while you may not be able to go back to college, appreciate those memories from the past.