In one way or another we have all experienced changes this year and have had to adapt to a new way of life. For students, these changes are affecting not only their current day-to-day learning, but in some cases, their long-term future goals and plans. 

College students attending classes virtually from home instead of on campus have had to put a major life experience on hold. This can be difficult and frustrating. If your student is anything like my son who is a freshman this year, the setback of not moving into a dorm, meeting new people, and getting his first taste of independence has been stressful and disappointing to say the least. As we’ve navigated this non-traditional college experience together, we’ve discovered 6 strategies that have helped my college kid adjust and make the most of his semester. 


Although it may be tempting to wake up, stay in bed, and log in late (or not at all), it’s important to treat the day as if you were attending classes in person. Develop a routine that keeps you focused, designate a space that is conducive to your schoolwork, and get out of your pajamas and into “big people” clothing. Remember online learning is not a vacation or a ticket to get out of classes. Maintaining a schedule with structure will help you stay motivated. 


You have your scheduled classes, but they’re probably structured differently for the online environment. You may be able to do your schoolwork anytime, however, it’s important to find a time that is right for you. Whether you find yourself more inspired early in the morning, or you do your best thinking late at night, use that time to study or get assignments completed. By setting aside a time when you are at your best you will be less distracted and more productive. 


It may be more difficult to meet other students and develop real connections while at home and separated. But you have more tools than ever before available to establish social groups and gatherings. Many colleges have taken clubs and extracurricular activities online to keep students engaged. Find a few that interest you and participate in them. You’ll begin to connect with new people and think of how nice it will be to finally meet those new contacts in person. 


Make sure you reach out to your student advisor during the semester. They are there to answer questions and guide you. They will help keep you on track to achieve your goals and although you are not meeting regularly in person you should get to know them and, more importantly, they should get to know you so you can continue on your journey to success. 


One positive thing that has come out of the virtual setting is the savings on room & board. If you were scheduled to live on campus, your school may have issued a refund and you can take that money and save if for future semesters. You may also have the ability to get a job that will help you save additional money while living at home. And don’t forget about scholarships. Use some of your time to research and fill out applications.  Free money can definitely come in handy. By the way, GOLD Credit Union offers $1,500 to five of our Members each year and information on the 2021 scholarship application period will be announced on the website soon. 


As always, work-life balance is important for your mental health and state of mind. With online learning it is easy to get caught up in the work, but let’s face it, if you were on campus you wouldn’t have your nose in a book 24/7, so why do it at home? Step away, go to the gym, take a walk, facetime a friend, binge watch Schitt’s Creek. Do something to get your mind off schoolwork. You are practicing time management and that should include a little R&R. 

Eventually you will be on (or back to) campus and experiencing college life as it is meant to be. In the meantime, try to make the best of it and use the time wisely. Remember your future still awaits and the world is relying on you to do great things … no pressure. 

Closing words of inspiration from Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” … eventually. 


Jenn Gora

Jenn Gora

Jenn is the VP of Communications at GOLD. In her role, she directs the marketing and communication activities that assist in GOLD’s Membership growth. Jenn believes wholeheartedly in GOLD’s mission and is extremely proud to be part of a team that exists to help the community and change people’s lives. 

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