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The COVID - 19 pandemic has brought so much uncertainty to everyone’s lives. But especially those in university and those graduating high school. It can be really hard to make long term commitments because our current circumstances can change so rapidly. However, I hope that today I can help give you some insights that will help you make an informed decision about university and your living situation. 

I can’t lie. Online class is hard. Or it’s certainly not a walk instudents sit in grebel room with masks the park for me. Some people might actually be thriving in the online school environment. I have high hopes that sometime in the next year we’ll be back to in person classes. But until enough people get a vaccine, it’s safest to assume that we’ll be continuing studies online. 

So how can you make online school manageable? I’ve got all kinds of tips and tricks up my sleeve to share with you! You may not feel the need to use all of them but I encourage you to do what’s best for you and to not compare yourself to other people who don’t need to do as much to take care of themselves.

#1 – Consider a reduced course Load

Yes, this will increase the length of your degree, but really, I’ve enjoyed my undergrad so much already that I wouldn’t mind spending the extra time at Grebel. University courses are usually pretty heavy and you might find that you need to put a lot of work into understanding the course material in some classes more than others. Eventually, this leads to a lot of time spent with your computer. A reduced course load can help alleviate extra stress on yourself and give you more time to take care of yourself. I’m serious, when I was taking a full course load, I did school from waking up to going to sleep. You are important. You need to take care of yourself so that you can actually learn properly.

ping pong#2 - Exercise

I know, I know, I hate it too sometimes. But seriously, I didn’t know how much the simple act of walking to class made a difference in my ability to learn. Depending on your personal energy level, you might need more or less exercise with varying intensities to keep yourself focused on your school work. When you spend the majority of your time sitting, you don’t use the energy that is kept in your body and it’s got to go somewhere. 

#3 - Take time to do things that you enjoy!

Whether it’s reading a book, watching a movie, playing an instrument or playing online games with your friends, make time for it. It’s important to do the things that you enjoy because it can help you get through doing the things you’re less interested in. It’ll also make the pandemic seem a little more bearable. Grebel has a TON of extra-curricular opportunities both virtually and in-person. 

students have dinner#4 - Live with other students at Grebel!

I think this is the biggest tip for online learning and I’m not just saying that because I’m writing this blog. This past fall I had planned to live at Grebel but I decided it was best for me to do online school from home. As much as I love my family, I wish I had gone to live at Grebel because I was the only full time student at home which made it really hard to stay motivated. This term I moved into an apartment with some friends that I met at Grebel and it has made such a difference in my motivation levels. Living with people who are in the same boat as you provides more solidarity and support for you as an individual. Grebel has done so much to make sure that they can still create community in a time where making community is hard. You can read more about it in a past blog post on building community during a pandemic.

I really hope that we can get back to a semi normal world soon. But until that happens, we will continue to do what we can to make life as normal as possible for the time being. Hope to see you living at Grebel next year!