5 Tips for Student Survival & SUCCESS During COVID Quarantine

Online classes have begun, and the learning curve is steep for students, teachers and families as we ALL adjust to our re-nested COVID lifestyle.

PARENTS: Being a student should STILL be your kid’s number one priority. Yes, this is a pandemic, and each family has different needs, but globally we need to adapt to living a bit in tandem with our young adult children, respecting their typically shifted, later sleep/wake cycles and understanding that our family meal times may conflict with their classes, study groups or virtual hangouts. Time zone changes from out-of-state schools double this challenge.

 STUDENTS: Be extra kind to your family*. Doing the dishes, feeding the dog, taking out trash, or even a simple smile shows us you care. We know you’re super frustrated to be missing out on so many milestone events, not to mention angry about being booted back home when you were finally adjusted to living independently. We’re sad for you, and we’re stressing about your feelings on top of our own concerns (plus worrying that our stressing is upsetting you!)



  1. Stick to a Schedule! In a perfect world, follow the rhythm of your pre-COVID life, including getting up and dressed as though you were walking out your front door for class. Making your bed, showering, and saving your bed and PJs for sleeping will help you be more mentally alert and ready to focus on your studies. Even if your class is recorded and simply an on-demand lecture, consider keeping it at a set time and ideally connect with at least one classmate before, during or after the lecture to discuss, reflect or otherwise comment (be kind!) on the content.


  1. Create Your Study Space. Find a DESK or TABLE rather than using your bed as your “office”. Laptops are never ergonomically great, but they are at their best if you are seated at a desk (bonus points if raised and using a separate keyboard) rather than scrawling across your bed. Besides, you KNOW you will not stay attentive lying down on your bed, tempted by other electronics or simply your comfy pillows.  If you must stay in your bedroom, make your bed and consider throwing a dramatically different color blanket/comforter/sheet over it during the day (ideally bright or white colors for daytime and darker colors for evening.) This is a dorm room insomnia trick; the change in color helps cue your brain whether it is time to be up and alert or time to go to sleep. Finally, During your online classes, consider putting your gaming devices, iPad and phone out of reach (basically any electronic devices you aren’t actively using for class) to minimize distractions.


  1. Zoom with Your Friends Since most students are ZOOMing for class, it’s incredibly convenient to set up ZOOM with your classmates, study groups and friends, too. Use this new online app to set up virtual hangouts, club meetings and even happy hours! One silver lining to our social distancing is that everyone seems to have a heightened desire to connect with other people, even if it is in a simple classroom setting (teachers please take note- students truly benefit from seeing you and their classmates live, even with minimal interaction!)


  1. EXERCISE! EVERY SINGLE DAY. For years we’ve known that daily aerobic exercise (getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes- walking, biking, jogging, swimming, elliptical machines, dancing, whatever!) is not only good for your body, it’s great for your BRAIN. Raise those serotonin (happy neurotransmitter) levels by getting MOVING! Look around- if you have an old treadmill or exercise bike serving as a clothes hanger, it’s time to unveil and USE it. Or consider a personal training exercise app – look in the app store for free Health & Fitness apps like Nike Training Club or SWEAT: Kayla Itsines Fitness. Or turn on your fav music and DANCE like no one is watching…because guess what? That’s a perk of social distancing!


  1. Optimize your HEALTH.
    • Avoid the “COVID-19” Jokes are flying around about gaining the “COVID-19” a la the famed “Freshman 15” pounds. And yes, routines are disrupted and many of us are stress eating. Let’s be PROACTIVE and have perspective. If you struggle with weight or body issues (like the majority of the population) please do not beat yourself up over a number on a scale- we are dealing with life or death in this pandemic. But please, everyone, stop acting like you’re on an extended Spring Break! Liquid calories count. This is true for lattes as well as sodas or alcohol. Let’s work on maximizing our veggie and fruit intake (goal 10 servings per day total- a serving is what you fit in your hand) and try out new healthy recipes. Remember, frozen and canned fruits and veggies work, too! We are all digging deep in our pantries these days.
    • Quality SLEEP: Inadequate sleep can adversely affect our immune system – NOT what we want during COVID19. This goes back to having a SCHEDULE. Try to get up and go to bed at roughly the same time each day, and then follow good sleep hygiene.
    • Stress Relief: See the EXERCISE recommendation above, and add in your favorite stress reliever: music, art, meditation, comedy, prayer? If you’ve never tried meditation before, please consider adding a 5-10 minute guided meditation to your daily routine. I find it easiest to do this in bed as I’m ready to go to sleep, but toss it in your routine wherever works best. Once again, check out the app store for something that fits with your personal style.


BOTTOM LINE: An ounce of PREVENTION is still worth a pound of cure, so let’s be as proactive about our health and learning habits as possible while we adapt to our new normal. Wishing extra focus, creativity and attention to and for all our students, their teachers & their families.

*Quarantine conditions are adding stress across the board, which may make already bad or challenging situations much worse. If returning home has placed you or a loved one in an abusive situation, please call or chat online with counselors at the National Domestic Violence Hotline

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