Hey Queen’s!

I hope exams went well and that you have enjoyed your holidays :)

Fellow first years, last semester might have been a rough one, but we made it and had at least some time to relax and recharge. Now we do it all over again—but this time a little different!

Zoom lectures, and their beloved breakout rooms, are making a comeback. I know this might be a hard time for many of us, especially since we’ve had such little time at Queen’s so far, but it’s important we stay positive and try our hardest to make the best of it. Provisionally, online learning is only place until the end of February. Although there is always the possibility that the rest of the semester will be online, there is still a chance we will be back in person. I’m using that to motivate me—I can’t wait to get back to the people and places I got used to last semester!

Yes, the stress about rent, residence fees, and countless other issues is real. However, a little stress is making me think deeply, and that's helping me to accept that this is our reality. I have to find ways to adjust. Keeping my head up for the winter and staying optimistic is the best way to get through these hard times. I’m going to have to adapt to learning online all over again, but at least this time I have learned what works and doesn’t work (no more lying in bed during my classes!). This semester I am not going to let online learning distract me from getting an education. The following are some things I am going to make sure I adhere to in order to make this second transition to online learning a smooth one:

  1. Stay in contact with friends

These isolated times can take a major toll on our mental health so I really think it’s important to keep ourselves connected to those we spent a lot of our time with at Queen’s. Me and my friends are going to be having virtual movie nights together and Facetiming each other throughout the day, even if we’re just doing work because having each others’ presence is going to help us feel like we’re still together.

  1. Stay active

Now that we are going to be going back to sitting at our desks all day for lectures, completing assignments, and studying, it’s even more important that we make sure we stay physically healthy. I am going to make sure I get in daily walks between my classes. Although walking in the city where I live does not compare to walking by the lake at Queen’s, getting in this movement will not only keep my muscles moving, but also help my productivity.

  1. Stay on track

When we’re online and at home, it can be really easy to skip lectures and get distracted. I suggest making a schedule for yourself. Set out regular times when you’ll “attend” asynchronous lectures, so you make sure you consistently watch videos and keep up with other tasks. Then, use a planner to organize all your to-do tasks, which can help free your mind from the stress of juggling all the due dates for the tasks you need to accomplish. Hopefully, taking this approach will motivate you to get things done. In this way, you can also carve out time for yourself to either spend by yourself or with family or friends—and that time can be spent guilt-free without thinking about work!

I hope you try some of these things out and find out if they work for you! Good luck with your studies and I hope we all learn a lot this semester!

- Noor

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