Six tips to feel better prepared for in-person classes

Lifestyle Sports | Lifestyle
Photo by Sie Douglas-Fish.

After a long year of Zoom classes, UVic students are finally able to head back to campus. For many students, this upcoming school year will be their first in-person collegiate experience. 

It is a recipe for stress. Between forgetting how to navigate campus and the new COVID-19 restrictions, this fall return to campus has heightened my anxiety. To help alleviate some of the back-to-school stress, here are six tips that may help your transition back to campus life go a little bit smoother. 

1. Pack an emergency kit

Imagine, it’s five minutes before the start of your first class and you suddenly remember that you aren’t wearing any deodorant. Or on the way to your lecture hall, you drop your iced oat milk latte all over your white jeans. These freak accidents are, unfortunately, inevitable. We no longer have the luxury of taking classes from home — sometimes all you have is the contents of your bag. 

Consider packing an emergency kit with essentials like stain remover sticks, masks, a phone charger, deodorant, and ibuprofen in one place can be lifesaving. Storing all of your essentials away in a small pouch makes it easy to keep what you need with you at all times. 

2. Set your class schedule as your wallpaper

If you haven’t had the chance to explore your campus and figure out where your classes are located ahead of time, the first couple of weeks can be daunting. If you set your lock screen to a screenshot of your class schedule, you can quickly glance at it and know where to head next. 

This trick can ease that in-between-class panic, when all of a sudden, you can’t remember which room or building your Philosophy 100 class is in. Having your schedule on your lock screen makes it easy to get all the info you need without the awkwardness of walking around with your nose buried in a paper one.  

3. Find a spot to nap (or cry) (or both)

Sometimes, we need a little break. Especially, during midterms and exam week, when emotions are running high and hours of sleep are low —, having a little space of your own on campus is crucial. Be it a little corner of the library, a tree in the quad, or the back of the theatre; find a quiet spot where you can recharge before conquering those three-hour exams and ten-plus-page papers.  The third floor of the library is a silent floor and has a couple of comfy chairs available so you can relax and recharge in peace. 

4. Try to make a friendly acquaintance in every class

You don’t need to become best friends with everyone sitting in your lecture hall, but having someone you are friendly enough with to call when you have a last-minute question about homework can be super helpful. This can also assure you a reliable partner for projects or a note-taker for when you are sick. Who knows, maybe you’ll find some common interests with them and make a new friend. 

5. Make sure you know your deadlines (and don’t be afraid to ask for extensions)

By the end of the semester, the motivation to write down everything in your planner begins to wane. During syllabus week, record every important due date. This way, you can visualize how much time you have to complete essays, study for tests, and prep for exams. 

If you happen to blank on a due date or realize that you are running out of time to complete a project, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension! A study done by the National College Assesment found that 70 per cent of Uvic students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety and that 90 per cent of students felt overwhelmed by the amount of tasks they needed to complete. Your professors want to see you succeed, and if you are feeling overwhelmed they can help you out. Even if the reason foring asking for an extension is, ‘“I just need more time,’” the worst thing your instructor can say is no. Give it a shot!

6. Take time for yourself 

Coming into a new school year after a year of social isolation can make life seem even more overwhelming. A report done by Statistics Canada found that people aged 15 to 34 are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems during the pandemic compared to other age groups. Having a counsellor to talk to when things get tough, taking a meditation class or just scheduling a night for yourself every couple of weeks can be beneficial to your mental health. Counselling services are available to all UVic students currently enrolled in a degree program. UVic offers some self-care resources like counselling, meditation, and spiritual care right here on campus! Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help and prioritize yourself. 

This upcoming school year will be like no other, so hopefully, these tips will help make the transition back to campus a little smoother.