The struggles of COVID-19 have hit us all. For me, as a freshman, COVID has definitely changed how I thought I would be starting my college career. Masks, dining restrictions and housing agreements all take away from the typical “freshman experience.” Classes have moved online for many. So how do you have success in a virtual classroom? 

The first piece of advice is to simply go to class. Attend as many meetings of your classes as you can. Going to class allows you to make connections with your professors and classmates. If you have any asynchronous classes, reach out to your instructors via email or over Zoom. They don’t want to be in a virtual setting either and will be happy to meet and get to know you. 

My second piece of advice is to find a place that is not your room to study and get work done. I stayed in my room for my first week here and I felt cluttered, unmotivated and disorganized. I have since found that places like the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering or the library are great places to get work done. Another great thing to do is to schedule time for yourself to work. A few hours throughout the week can really make a difference in your education. 

Third: get involved! There are over 100 clubs and organizations here at URI (including the Good Five-Cent Cigar!). Many of these student organizations have made accommodations to comply with the University’s COVID restrictions, so there’s no reason not to join! Joining a club can be a great way to meet new people and make connections for the future. Adding some variety to your week can really help your mental health overall. Also, taking a break from constant studying can be really beneficial for your overall health and success.

Finally: don’t forget to eat! It sounds silly but eating good food can really help your academic performance. Your brain needs food too! Getting exercise is equally important. It may look a bit different this year with the fitness centers available by appointment only, but there are other great ways to get exercise around campus. My favorite activity is running through our beautiful campus and finding new areas that I’ve never seen before. The bike path just recently opened and that is a great way to get around.

Remember, wear your mask, stay in small groups and practice social distancing so we can all stay safe!