Tips for transitioning back to virtual learning, managing mental health

Sofia Treviño, Life and Arts Associate Editor

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Jan. 18, 2022 flipbook.

As Travis County returns to Stage 5 of the risk-based guideline and UT students take on a delayed in-person spring 2022 semester, many may feel reluctant to once again log on to Zoom for a completely virtual course load. 

While it may seem a dismal start to a new semester, use The Daily Texan’s compiled list of tips and tricks for transitioning back to virtual learning to help manage stressors, find motivation and prepare to reengage with the Zoom University experience.

 

Plan out classes in advance

Dubbed as “syllabus week,” the first week of class serves as the perfect opportunity to organize school schedules and planners. Going through class syllabi and noting down lecture times, future assignments and exams can help students feel prepared as the semester progresses and workloads increase. Setting up time to fill up planners in brightly color coded events may even be a fun way to pass the time and de-stress.

 

Follow previous students’ advice

More than just a website for students to “spill the tea” on professors, Rate My Professors offers many reviews with information on how to manage specific classes. From insights on the best ways to study to how to take notes on lectures, implementing advice from those who’ve already taken the course can help Longhorns stay on track this semester. 

 

Take active notes

As the temptation to scroll through Twitter wins over, Zoom classes often turn into background noise. To remain engaged, leave the phone out of reach and take notes instead. By keeping busy processing information and jotting down what’s most important, students can save time for when they will inevitably need to cram for an upcoming exam.

 

Mix up locations

Remaining in a bedroom for lectures on end can take a toll on one’s mental health. Try going for a walk across campus, checking out a local coffee shop or finding a warm enough space to attend classes outside. Getting out for a little fresh air while following recommended health measures can serve as an excuse to get dressed and avoid Zoom fatigue. 

If on a break from the computer, University Health Services encourages participating in weekly Proactive Community Testing to slow the spread of the virus.

 

Get to know classmates and professors

Though reaching out to classmates may seem daunting, finding peers to talk to may lead to the creation of meme-filled class GroupMes, exam study sessions and a chance to see familiar faces in the virtual classroom. As many will likely share in feeling physically disconnected, reaching out will make the online college experience less lonely.

If going up to professors in person feels like a terrifying feat, use virtual classes to your advantage by emailing or attending virtual office hours instead. Beginning to establish relationships with professors virtually may make it easier to talk to them and ask for help when the transition to in-person instruction is made.

 

Utilize CMHC resources

Since another bout of entirely virtual classes may elicit memories of longer isolation periods in 2020, having someone to talk to about these anxieties offers a proven way to relieve stress. The Counseling and Mental Health Center offers a variety of services, such as workshops, classes and self-care activities, to help students navigate through an uncertain time.