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Key Tips for Thriving as a Student During COVID-19


We live in abnormal times, which means the strategies we employed before the pandemic may not necessarily work today. The new normal demands new ways of coping and living, and if you're a student as COVID-19 rages the world, there are plenty of steps you can take and things you can do to make the best out of the challenging circumstance. Here are some key tips for surviving and thriving as a student during the pandemic.

Acknowledge the trauma.

It may be hard to believe, but the world is going through a collective trauma right now. Trauma is simply an emotional, and oftentimes mental and physical, response to any event that alters your world for good—and going through a pandemic as a child or in your teens constitutes an emotional response.

If you've been having a hard time with school, whether you're in grade school, high school, or college, maybe what can help you is to acknowledge the trauma you're experiencing. It feels hard because it is hard, and being honest with yourself about that is the first step to doing something about it.

For example, numerous schools across the country report that students are struggling with all-remote learning. This is one of the main symptoms of collective trauma—students and teachers have a hard time learning and school through video calls because education was not designed for this medium. It's OK to acknowledge that you weren't ready for distance learning, and that is why you're struggling with school now.

Partner with your parents.

The second step is being honest with your parents or guardians about what you're going through. Not only will letting out your negative emotions be good for you, but your parents might be able to provide you with practical help and resources to help you navigate distance learning better. They can help you establish a healthy routine, provide you with resources for your homework and projects, and they can also consult and check in with your advisor and teachers. And quite simply, your parents or guardians can take care of you while you do your best as a student during the pandemic. It's not about being dependent on them; it's partnering with them to help you achieve your goals and your dreams even during these hard times.

Be honest with your teachers.

While not everyone is privileged to have good and supportive parents, you can always go to your teachers for help. Teachers are called to ensure their students' cognitive, physical, emotional, and interpersonal safety, which means they must recognize that not all students thrive under these new learning conditions. Being honest with your teachers might cause them to help facilitate peer support by connecting you with your classmates who also need help.

A good teacher does not desire for their students to fail; rather, they strive to see their students thriving because it reflects their effectiveness as educators. So don't be afraid to be honest about the challenges you're going through as a student and believe that there will be teachers who will come through for you.

Know your options.

If you have tried everything and still find that your mental health is still suffering and you still lack the energy and motivation to simply survive, let alone thrive in your education during the pandemic, then arm yourself with information on your options. And there are plenty. Here are some of them:

  • There are plenty of charter schools that offer more flexible and personalized school experiences. You can explore those schools since they can provide you with a schedule tailored to your individual needs and interests. If you also decide to work while you study, this personalized education style can give you the time to do so.
  • You can also consider taking a gap year. If your home situation is not conducive for learning, a gap year might be just what you need to re-calibrate and start all over again. You can do plenty of safe things during your gap year: you can volunteer or work in other parts of the world, like Australia and Europe. But if you're thinking of deferring for one year, make sure that you have your long-term goals in mind for college and beyond. Your long-term goals will help influence and shape how you spend your gap year, and it will ensure that it was a gap year worth taking.

The past year has been tough, and it might continue to be as long as the pandemic rages on. So take whatever support you can and believe in your ability to triumph despite the overwhelming circumstances. You can do it!

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