A MESSAGE TO OUR STUDENTS: Returning to campus to a "new normal"...Consider these questions:
What is my emotional response to returning to campus? You may notice that returning to campus could elicit different emotions. You may feel excitement, fear, worry, relief, sadness, numbness, thrill, empathy, etc. Do not ignore these emotions! It’s important to name that all of these emotions are valid and that they are a normal response to the stressors of last year. They are also a normal response to the newness of adjusting to the rhythm of the 2021-2022 academic year.
What are my needs now? You may notice that your needs may have shifted in the last 18 months. What was a need for you before, may look differently as you adjust to being on campus again. Take note of your overall well-being and your physical, emotional, mental, environmental, relational, intellectual, financial, cultural, and spiritual needs.
Do I need to communicate with others differently? With being at home and physically distancing for so long, socializing with others may feel different and new. It will be important to take things slow and communicate your needs as clearly as you can. Practice what you may say to others, and create boundaries when necessary. Remember, it’s okay to say “no”!
Have I taken a break? There may be a need to feel overly productive, social, and active as we transition back to in person events and activities, but it’s also important to remember taking a break can help with motivation and reduce procrastination. Try taking small breaks throughout the day to help build up that self-care!
Help! I have forgotten how to socialize! What should I do? This is a normal feeling to have! A lot of people may be nervous to interact with people face-to-face again. Try easing your way into social interactions, and plan for virtual and in person activities. Discuss with others possible ways to connect regularly with others to help you get used to it.
How will I attend classes again? Great question! Remember that class attendance information may change and shift as we enter into the Fall quarter. Try finding out if your classes will be online, in person, or hybrid. It may be helpful to familiarize yourself with campus, your commute, and setting up a routine. Reach out to professors, academic advisors and coaches!
How will I manage my time? Give yourself more time to get to class, and plan for in person or virtual study groups. Also, it may be helpful to chunk your work by doing work for 25 minutes with a 5 minute break, and alternate with this pattern for 2 hours.
What will I do if I am tired of virtual classes? Zoom fatigue is real! To help with this, it may be helpful to avoid multitasking, reduce other on screen stimuli, and turn off your video if you can. Use the 20/20/20 rule to help with screen fatigue: every 20 minutes, look at an object that is 20 foot away for at least 20 seconds. This will help you take breaks from the screen.
What are some coping strategies that would be helpful in managing this transition? Coping strategies can look different for every person. Here are some coping skills that could be helpful for you or your community: meditation, deep breathing, exercise, staying connected with family and friends, getting outside, journaling, creating art, making a mental health playlist, and taking social media breaks.
How do I navigate post-lockdown anxiety? It’s important to remember that we are navigating this new time together. Boundaries will be on a continuum for you and others, and it’s okay for things to look differently from one individual to the next. For example, it’s okay to wear your mask and engage in social distancing, whereas others may. We encourage you to follow current UCI guidelines and requirements regarding physical distancing, masks, and vaccines.
What if I have difficulty sleeping? We know transitioning back to school may mean that your sleep schedule may need some adjusting. We encourage you to be patient with this adjustment, and build a new sleep hygiene routine. To get more tips about sleep hygiene, check out our sleep awareness videos on YouTube: What is Sleep Hygiene? Learn how to build a Sleep Routine
Where can I get additional support?
There are several offices on campus that can support you! The Wellness Center Counseling Center here to support you with your mental health needs. Please feel free to visit our website to learn more about counseling services, TAO:Therapy Assistance Online and LionsHealth: Wellness Center Counseling Services. Call us at 513-244-4949 or email Wellness.Center@msj.edu to make an appointment. more information.
*Information adapted from Iowa State University and Virginia Tech Counseling Center You’ve made it this far, and we can get