By Rishi Ghorad, 2020-2021 SCS Advising Leader:
This semester is unlike any other that has been held before at the University of Illinois history. The first onset of COVID-19 in the United States led to the emergency shift of classes to an online format in the Spring of 2020, but this included situations where some classes were either canceled or largely changed to accommodate the event. The severity of our national situation has changed the priorities and daily lives of all students.
It lies with all students to push themselves to keep structure to their day-to-day and weekly schedules. That is easier said than done in my opinion. Having life seemingly so closed off and repetitive in the manner of a daily schedule makes it difficult to establish anything concrete. It’s too easy to fall into the traps of asynchronous classes, lack of secure study habits, and lack of purpose. However, the worst part is that as easy as it is to fall into such bad habits, the repercussions will cause so much more stress. Attempting to catch up when behind is increasingly difficult with the hard deadlines and mostly self-directed learning that goes on. Trust me, everyone is human, it’s bound to happen at one point or another. The biggest difference is in how severe you let it become.
First off, the best approach to continue or start establishing success this semester is to plan the week. Sure the class times are important but also understand what is regularly due and/or activities that will require substantial time. After understanding that, go day by day to find out when you’re busy with class, times to do work, and eating and relaxation. Certainly, every student is busy, but setting aside some time in the day to take a breather is possible. Considering the time spent walking around classes and outside a dorm/apartment is minimized, this shouldn’t be an issue. Once each day in the week is accounted for, set up important future dates. Whether this is for exams or other events, it is best to keep aware and avoid losing track of time with how rinse-and-repeat life can feel.
Of course, the hardest part of establishing a schedule is keeping up with it. I won’t lie, it isn’t easy to make myself wake up early on Tuesday and Thursday for my recorded lectures, but eventually, I am forced to put my foot down and work through the weekly videos. I prefer to review the videos during early mornings where I have free time than late at night when I am drained from the day. The more you can push yourself toward taking plans seriously, the better you may be able to stick to what is important. It will be an ongoing battle for all individuals (students and staff) to hold themselves accountable and prevent stagnation during this semester.
It is normal to experience frustration through class setup, technology problems, and other challenges. The best any person can do is to hold themselves to a high standard and keep challenging their work ethic--so keep your wits about you.