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10 Things You CAN Do: Living Your Best College Life Despite COVID

Priscilla Childress

I’ve probably said, “We used to have this event but we can’t now because of COVID” a thousand times since March 2020. So many things canceled, postponed and changed.

It’s been hard for us. College life usually means being always on the go, having lots of events in a single day, lots of choices — but now, it’s different. We are having to think outside the box in order to find a new normal.

What if we try looking at things in a positive light? Despite the pandemic, there is so much college students CAN do!

Every activity doesn't have to be over-the-top spectacular. Here are 10 things you CAN do this semester (parents, share this list with your student!).

1. Check out events being planned by your office of student engagement.

That’s right, there are still lots and lots of events going on. What does it matter if they are virtual or there is physical distancing and masks? Students just like you have planned these events for you! Take advantage of these!

2. Apply for a leadership position.

Every campus is filled with lots and lots of leadership opportunities — you just need to take a moment to look for them. Look up the student clubs and organizations you're interested in on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and reach out to see when they meet and what positions are available. Virtual meetings make it easy to drop in and start meeting some new people, even if you're on the shy side. Pop into groups until you find the one that fits!

3. Get ready for the 2021–2022 school year!

Apply for scholarships, complete the FAFSA, start researching the classes you need to take for your major. Look up internship opportunities at businesses that you're interested in. You might not need to wait until next year for those — short-term micro-internships make it easy to gain meaningful experiences.

4. Volunteer!

Just because we are in a pandemic doesn’t mean there aren’t chances to participate in community service. Contact the local animal shelter to see if they need dog walkers. Collect supplies for a homeless shelter. Look on the local government’s website to see if there are opportunities listed.

5. Enjoy the great outdoors.

Cheesy, right? But why not? We all spend so much time in front of our computer and TV screens that we don’t get out to enjoy nature nearly as often as we should. Check out the parks and greenways in your area. Enjoy time in a hammock just listening to the world around you. Soak up some sunshine along with a little vitamin D!

6. Attend spring semester athletic events.

Never been to a basketball game, track meet, or intercollegiate tennis match? Now's the time. Go to the Athletic calendar on your school's website, check the dates and the limits on attendees. Support your teams!

7. Watch “how-to” videos and take up a new hobby.

There are “how-to” videos for all sorts of things. Learn how to make a beautiful cake, edit videos or paint. Think about what you’ve wanted to learn and utilize this time to cultivate a new interest and skill.

8. Take part in a campus faith community.

Take a look at the student faith communities that are active on your campus and see if there's one you like. Take advantage of the events they have planned.

9. Explore your family history.

We’ve all been thinking a lot about our family members over the past year. We miss being able to spend time with them. Why not take this time to work on a history of your family? Zoom with your grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and parents and collect their stories — you could ask for photos and even recipes. It could become a blog — or a book. What a great gift for 2021!

And finally, speaking of books...

10. Read those books you’ve been talking about.

Even college students have books they’ve been meaning to read. You might not admit it, but you know it’s true. Carve out some time to read for pleasure. (It's a good stress reliever, and may even make you a better student.) Start a virtual book club with your friends.

Priscilla Childress has worked with Parent and Family Programs for more than a decade and currently serves as Director of New Student Orientation, Family Programs and Student Affairs Special Events at Missouri State University. Priscilla is the mother of two college graduates.
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