The school year is right around the corner and while many will learn from home, others will have to resume their studies on what will presumably be a strikingly different and diminished campus. I feel sorry for the incoming freshmen. It’s the first year of their adult learning experience – something that’s supposed to be life-changing, eye-opening, and at times unforgettably enjoyable. But here we are in this new normal and all we can do is make the best of it. For those of you returning to campus or stepping onto the quad for the first time, I’ve compiled a modest list of things that may prove handy as you navigate this new semester. And for those who will experience the year from home, here are a few basics that might help get you through those Zoom/Google Meet classes and independent lessons.
If you’re heading to campus for classes, you’ll need a reliable bag – preferably one that doubles for usage outside of school. One of these: Everlane, Herschel, or Ecosusi should do the trick! Each bag comes in a variety of colors and will fit wonderfully into a fall wardrobe with their neutral tones and accents making them perfect accessories for any socially distanced walks, day trips, or leaf peeping you may enjoy this season. They’re sizable enough to fit all your collegiate and daily necessities: wallet, laptop, notebook with pens, filtered water-bottle and a few pandemic necessities such as: hand sanitizer, an extra mask, toilet seat covers, and maybe a chain for your reading glasses; it keeps them off public surfaces (if you’re like me, I constantly remove and replace mine for reading).
Remote education is a reality many will have to accept. While learning from home may provide a more relaxed educational environment, it can also contribute to a lack of focus and poor time management. To combat these risks, you may find an academic planner or apps for planning and focusing on tasks useful.
I’ve blogged about Erin Condren planners before but I’ve also heard wonderful things about the My Study Life academic planner app. You can color-coordinate your schedule on a weekly/monthly orientation and list your upcoming exams and tasks on a single page for viewing. It also has a “Reminders” tab so that you’ll never forget an assignment or study session.
Now the Flora Focus app is also a gem. It allows you to grow virtual trees and essentially is set up as a timer for you to focus on any task or chore for an allotted period of time. So, if you use your phone before that period of time is complete, your activity “kills that tree”. It sounds a little bizarre but it encourages you to focus on the task at hand and leave your messages, emails, and social media alone.
Other practical items to aid in home education would include this wooden lap desk, a stylus for your iPad or touch screen laptop, and even an air printer – because not everyone fares well with reading long texts on a screen. Also, it’s always healthy to give your eyes a break.
Before I go, I want encourage all incoming freshmen to really look into their community colleges and see what general education courses are offered this year. If your college/university of choice is going virtual and your local community college is also offering online classes, there’s a good chance you can take your gen-eds there at a much lower cost. Just always check to make sure your credits are transferable.
Praying for y’all to have a safe and healthy fall semester. ❤