When you received your letter of acceptance to college, you probably never imagined that your college experience would coincide with a global pandemic. As a student, you are facing challenges that, at the very least, complicate your engagement in the classroom: the threat of COVID-19 to you and your loved ones, sudden homelessness or unemployment, returning to unsupportive or abusive families, dealing with lack of access to internet, technology, resources, and space. You are trying to learn while your sense of safety and wellness may be in shambles. You may also be grieving right now: for the loss of loved ones, a global loss of hundreds of thousands of people, loss of your daily life as you once knew it, loss of the “normal” college experience you worked hard for. Against the backdrop of the killings of George Floyd and Brionna Taylor and the explosion of Black Lives Matter protests, you may feel vulnerable, afraid, angry, or helpless. The challenges of COVID are hitting Black and Brown communities hardest, and the overlaps between this country’s racism and the reality of the pandemic may be overwhelming for you or for people you care for.
We created this page with the understanding that, above all else, students need compassion, support, and patience right now. These suggestions, techniques, and resources can’t provide solutions for the collective or individual trauma and pain that you may be experiencing, but we hope that this can be a starter kit if you need help navigating being in school during a challenging time. We would appreciate hearing from students about this page. What else can we include that would be helpful? What do you need to see here? Email your ideas to us and will we continue to improve this resource.
Be kind to yourself. Things are hard. Forgive yourself for emotional responses you might be experiencing or difficulties you might be having with academics.
As much as you are comfortable, keep your professors and advisors informed of the challenges you might be facing. Having this knowledge can help the instructor shape the delivery of their content or adjust things to better suit their students’ individual situations.
Inform your professor of your needs. Your instructor will be able to plan their instruction accordingly if they know about your situation. Think about things like:
For many students, online learning is completely new territory. With any new experience comes difficulties and frustration. Rework the strategies that work for your face-to-face classes; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel!