At the end of last quarter, I wrote an article about what awaited us in the uncertain future of spring quarter. The entirety of March was quite the rollercoaster ride, as the COVID-19 virus has continued to have more and more of an impact on people’s day to day lives, and with spring quarter now being underway, we’re going to have to see how things play out.
One thing that I would like to commend Drexel on is the amount of effort that is being put into keeping students up to date with what is going on. The university has no doubt had to adjust much of their normal operations in a fairly short frame of time and that is not an easy feat by any means. On top of that, keeping the people that are going to be most impacted by those changes in the loop is arguably more difficult. But they have managed to convey much of the changes in well-written and concise emails that I’ve found very easily digestible.
Congratulations aside, the more pressing matter that I want to focus on in this article is how we can approach this very odd situation that we are now faced with as Drexel students. I think it’s easy to get so caught up in the trials and tribulations of our predicament that we forget to actually come up with ways to make the most out of the situation.
I will admit that I too am fairly weirded out by the fact that I’m currently at home in the comfort of my own room writing this article and not at Stiles Hall. It’s been very strange and sad to not be able to go to the Drexel Writing Center each day and see all of my friends. And it has been hard to swallow the fact that I will very likely never set foot in a Drexel classroom as an undergraduate ever again. I think that freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors all have vastly different perspectives on the current state of things, as we are all obviously at different points in our college careers. However, a universal thing we all share is that we are all students, and now is a time where we can have our education affected in a very unique way, which is the home environment.
You may not notice it initially, but there are probably many things that were made considerably easier by being on Drexel’s campus, and these things can be both small and large. For example, I never set my alarm when I am at home because I rarely have to get up at a time that requires me to set an alarm. But on Monday, I was scheduled to be available for online writing tutoring sessions around noon, so I set my alarm to go off around 11 in the morning and ended up sleeping through it. Thankfully, I did wake up at around 11:30, but the point remains that my body and mind were so unaccustomed to waking up to an alarm while in my home environment that they completely disregarded it. I am so used to waking up naturally that it is extremely difficult for me to wake up to an alarm, and that could be a problem when I start sleeping through my alarms and missing my class.
Obviously not everyone will have this problem, but it is one small example that other people most definitely have similar versions of. During these first few weeks of classes, you should be paying attention to certain areas related to school that you find yourself struggling with.
A more major problem for me is my inability to do homework. Yes, something as simple as doing the work that is assigned by a professor for a class is incredibly difficult for me to do at home. I’m still not entirely certain why this is the case, but it most definitely has to do with the mindset that I have when I’m at home as opposed to at college. Whenever I would make a trip home for a weekend, I would make it a point to get all of my immediate homework completed so that I could enjoy my time at home with my family, as the whole point of going home was to get a break from the college atmosphere. College equals work and home equals relaxation. That has been my mindset ever since freshman year and having to now change it on the spot is a task that I, and no doubt many other people are finding varying degrees of difficulty with.
At the moment, I’m still trying to find different ways to deal with this problem, but I think that when you’re doing homework, the best thing you can do is make yourself feel as though you are still at college. There’s no way to fully replicate the college atmosphere while you’re at home, but there are small things you can still do that can have the same effect. Is there a certain type of food that you like to snack on while you work? Have that snack. Is there a type of genre of music, or even a specific artist, album or song that you always listen to whenever you do your homework? Put it on. You might be surprised by how much of a difference it can make for you. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it certainly lessens the issue in my opinion.
With all the media out there talking about COVID-19, I think it’s still too early to truly predict when this thing will blow over, so the best thing we can do is just live in the present moment and make whatever changes we can to our approach to education as students. I wish that I could offer more concrete advice on how to navigate the effects of this pandemic, but because everyone’s situation is different, I can only really speak in a general sense. The most any of us can do is take each day for what it is and practice social distancing so that this virus will pass us by in what will hopefully be a reasonable amount of time.