The Practical Guide in Adjusting to a 'Different Term'April 07, 2020

Your mate told you about the heavy downpour that signaled the beginning of the colder months. You would be excited if not for what happened in Australia - and the rest of the world - these last few weeks. You're about to enter a "different term", which would throw you off the curve. Managing the coursework might be harder, but you don't have to beat yourself up.

You disapproved of those who spent their last days of summer in Bondi, as you didn't notice the social distancing that needed to be followed immediately. The coronavirus forced everyone to live in a weirdly moralistic way, and Aussies may find it hard to make the adjustment at first. It's not that you don't like the coastline, which Australia is renowned for. You thought that this should happen long before the outbreak wasn't happening in China. Your tutor once noted that some universities have a large number of international students from China, and the pandemic could be a sign of troubling times ahead. You rather not think about it, as this "different term" could be discomforting. If you look at it in a different way, then this could be a blessing in disguise. This is part of the so-called learning revolution.

To shut down or not to shut down, that is the question hounding many schools in New South Wales. You're about to inquire about your tutor abut it when something would make you emotional (and delirious). The University of NSW, La Trobe, and Swinburne would exclude failed units from students' academic transcripts. Can your university do the same? You couldn't help but message your coursemates. All but one haven't heard the news. (They read the news about an education agent who opened his property to twenty international students, who were about to be overwhelmed by the effects of the pandemic. These students don't have to pay rent, prompting them to wonder if their landlords could do the same.) One of your coursemates closely followed the recent news, and asked you if paper writing was an issue last term. She also pointed out that it might be different with Literature students, which gutted you. The coursework would be demanding despite the change of set-up. You must accept the challenge, but don't plan about #FormalFriday. Yet. What's next?

Older people may be more vulnerable to coronavirus, but twenty percent of patients that were hospitalised in the US was between 20 and 44 years of age. There may be truth to the theory that (summer) heat could slow down the transmission of the virus. Don't panic if you haven't piled up on toilet paper, and no need to lie to other shoppers (to purchase more). You can plan about the essentials a little later, as you must come up with a new approach to the upcoming term.

4 Ways to Adapt to the New Term

Focus on literacy (and math). You don't have to study for twelve hours a day, but you sense that it can't be done. There are more distractions, which should test your self-discipline. Recall your younger self, where you studied five or six hours. You've been following a schedule, and you must not change it. You might have to add an hour or two, where you must read more books. As a matter of fact, it's possible to finish a novel in a week. And that book is not included in your reading list. You would reap the benefits in a short time. (Think about the comforts of your room, which you've been seeking last year.) Math is different, but you could ask your friends, if not the friends of your friends, for a different insight.

What to do when order is about to unravel. Introverts won't mind getting cooped for long periods of time, but many would see confinement after some time. It would make them restless, if not get out. It's not a good idea unless you have urgent business to do. There's no need to make a video of your usual routine (and post it in social media). This is not the time to grab everyone's attention, as the best thing to do is to keep yourself active. You might wonder about the options for a room with limited space. If you get tired of exercising, then think about a new hobby. Collecting postcards could be a great idea, as it would stimulate you. (Paul Theroux once said that traveling is almost always an inner experience.) It should keep you from veering off the right path.

This shall pass. Your best mate sent you a touching essay by a cancer patient, who might not live long to see the vaccine to the coronavirus. His perspective turned out to be a wake-up call, a stern reminder that you haven't seen the worst of it. And it might not be. If there would be one, then you could rely on your tutor and coursemates. You're all on the same boat, which should give you a good feeling. Remember those challenging moments during the previous term. It should prepare you for what lies ahead.

Prepare to meet new professors - and new students. Zoom may be different from what you have known, but it doesn't mean that you must not be less enthusiastic about the upcoming term. There's a chance that you would face them soon. Hold that thought of hugging them (when the vaccine is out in the market). You must have a lesson plan, which your professors would expect during the first week (or month). If you don't have one, try to have one before Easter.

Don't Forget the Essentials

You must have coffee, which you can prepare every morning (or every other morning). You must ask your mother to teach you how to prepare (hot) soup. It may be overkill to wash your hands with soap and warm water every twenty minutes, but try to include it in your daily routine. And head straight to the shower room after some time outside your home. Whether you must attend to some important errands or you need to stretch your limbs, these precautions could go a long way. You're about ready for the "different term".

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