Why Weeks from University Could Benefit StudentsMay 15, 2020

Whether the university staff declare that it's OK to go back to the university or not, you must relish your time away from the campus. There's a likely chance that you could be attending recorded lectures when your university allows a minimum number of students to attend a (real) lecture. It doesn't matter if it's twenty five percent (of the maximum number of students) or less, as the remainder of your quarantine would benefit you sooner or later.

A 1966 edition of The Australian described the fate of six lads who were marooned in a rocky islet off Tonga for fifteen months. It was a real-life version of "Lord of the Flies", but William Golding would be shocked to learn that the Cast Away-type of setting didn't bring out their selfishness. They learned to work along each other, as they opted for a time out whenever a quarrel was about to arise. And the situation didn't turn out for the worse when one of them broke a foot. He was treated like King Taufa'ahau Tupou himself! In other words, isolation forced them to look for the good side. It could be a lesson for university students especially those who couldn't stand the halls that smelled of stale smoke, dump, and it was narrow and dingy and dirty and nearly overcrowded. You wondered if Phil Collins's fans were the only ones who wanted it clean and wholesome, but you have been thinking of that record shop that you visited before the lockdown. Where were you?

Some would compare the plight of (Australian) university students to the (Kiwi) school children who survived the earthquake of 2011. They were forced to take a break, and the outcome astounds their teachers. The interruption eased the pressure due to the system. Pressure didn't guarantee the best results, as the same (school) children didn't feel exhausted during the final exams. It could be a case of deja vu, as there's a probability of a second wave of coronavirus outbreak (due to winter). 

As events unfolds, university staff are doing more than what expect from them. It would ensure that you (and other students) would be safe and continue their degree. Here's what we know so far.

7 Ways to Change the World for the Better

Understand your job in slowing the spreading of coronavirus. Your role is simply keeping a distance of two meters from another person (or other people). You may missed going to your club or check the local theatre, but think how you might impact to older people. (If you don't care about older people, think of your parents.) It would be too much to keep a safe distance from family and friends, but this wouldn't last for years. If you exhibit symptoms (like high temperature and continuous cough), isolate yourself in your room. Finding out what makes you nerd out would be a good distraction.

Do regular telephone check-in. The head of your department will keep on sending coronavirus update. (If you"re studying literature, don't ask about the plague genre.) There are telephone check-in, which would help you find out if you have symptom(s) or not. It should keep you from getting more worried about the Covid-19. Don't plan on making phone check-in every thirty minutes or less. You may be tempted to learn all the funny words for groups of animals. Do you know a group of lions is a pride?

Should you stay home? Your answer to this question would based on academic and personal factors. If you can relate to the Kiwi school children, then you can email your tutor (and discuss your options). You might not have to make that decision, as uncertainty is still in the air. (You're mistaken to assume that the travel bubble wouldn't expand beyond Australian shore.) If you happen to live within the university, then find out if university staff has a list of accommodations. One student per flat would be ideal. Student services can give you some good advice on other options. 

Explore resources. Aside from prepared lectures, you must think of what to do if your program would be suspended. It should make you catch up on those titles that you should have read a long time ago. If you want more distraction, you can think of a silly story about your not-so-recent holiday in Myanmar. (You channeled your inner Rudyard Kipling, opting to explore a mountain not far from Mandalay. You felt like you won a lottery when you stumbled into a cave filled with statues of sitting Buddhas of varying sizes.) You may fancy studying abroad, but it would be better to look for another accommodation. Ask student services. It should hone your soft skills.

Reach out to your tutor and mental health advisor(s). This is THE time for students to look out for each other. If you don't have a best friend, if not your coursemates you could holler, then reach out to your tutor. Don't be shy to connect to mental health advisor(s). Exercising may lessen your anxiety, but there's no substitute to human connection. An interesting feature might help you as well. Do you know that dolphins are acrobats of the sea? 

Come on, get happy. If the previous items wouldn't be good enough, then you must do more activities that are not related to the coursework. Perhaps you're tired of fun movie quizzes. As long as you wear your pajamas all day, anything could be lots of fun. For instance, you don't need a garden to garden. You can grow a garlic in a can, but think about the health benefits later. Don't be mad at your professors if they don't reply to your emails immediately. (They might be making face shields.) You can do one yourself, but make sure that you can still beat the deadlines. But avoid Pandemic TV. Cabin fever may make you critical of room decor of certain celebrities. Check your room first.

Uni will look different. The structure that you once knew would be changed when you go back to the university next term. It would be better to move forward, slowly and carefully. You don't want to make any mistake, which could disrupt your focus. You would reach that bridge, so focus on the moment. Make a mental note of the positives that you would gain from the lockdown. You're too late to get off the bed. Often. 

It's Time to Kondo the Universities

Marie Kondo, famed domestic organisation guru, recommended discarding clothers that won't bring us joy. It should apply to this uncertain period, as you must let go of habits that you get used to. A new routine for a new term, which may be too soon. It's better to be the early bird, though. Read again.

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