Voices of Simmons

From the Woman on Campus: How to Adjust to Remote Learning

Simmons looks different this semester

It’s my first week back at college. As I make my two-minute commute from my bed to desk, I can’t help but feel this is all just a fever dream. As my life becomes more and more dominated by screens, it’s hard for the connections I make to feel “real.”

I imagine telling the Saloni of last year what her second year of college would be like: “Hey, so, just so you know, there’s a global pandemic, and you won’t see anyone in person for six months, maybe longer. You’ll still have to do well in your online classes and figure out your major. K, bye!”

None of this feels real. Our classroom is on a screen. Our campus is our living space. Our dining hall is the kitchen. And instead of Bartol Late Night, there’s just me staring into my fridge at 2 am before deciding I should probably just go to bed. Late-night snacks just aren’t as fun without your over-caffeinated friends rejoicing over the end of the week.

We each have our own fears about the future, especially now. I’m terrified that I’ll transform into an overstimulated zombie that can’t go through a day without the aid of a screen. I worry about the impacts this transition will have on my mental and physical health and my ability to form new relationships in the Simmons community.

Whatever concerns we have, they are valid and come from a place of genuine uncertainty. I’m not here to give you the five-step program to get over them. (But, if anyone has one of those, please hit me up).

Listen to your needs

Here’s what I know:

I know that the answers to what I need for my well-being lie in what naturally comes to my mind without reluctance. I know that daily routines will become the heartbeat of my life (thanks, Co-star). I know that I can only expect myself to do what I can. I also know that should I need support, I am still connected to a network of professors, peers, advisors, and more to get what I need.

I know that I am my most valuable source of knowledge — and the same goes for all of us. We must become tethered to our truth and surrender to our needs gently. What’s one thing we can do each day to claim our experience and individual needs? What would it look like to save an hour a day just for ourselves? A half-hour? Fifteen minutes? My answer changes every day. But the point is just to ask the question.

Put yourself first

The college experience was founded on the principle that young people must leave their homes to become their own self-sufficient and functioning adults. Even though our bodies aren’t on campus, our minds are. And though the ways we claim our independence might look and feel drastically different than before, we still have that option. Truthfully, what is the goal of an education if not to get closer to your own truth?

So, I’m making myself a list of what I can do when I feel overwhelmed, drained, or just done:

  • Make a cup of tea
  • Stare at the wall
  • Journal
  • Take a nap
  • Listen to music
  • Breathe
  • Wonder what it would be like to be a (insert animal of choice here)
  • Call a friend
  • Exist as I am

What does your list look like?

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Voices of Simmons