Letter from a student: A Time of Transition

Freshman Betsy Pollard, a Chesapeake, VA, native, wrote “A Time of Transition” for students facing changes during this time of uncertainty. Read her advice and encouragement to her peers below.

Dear fellow students,

I know right now is a trying time for all of us. There is much uncertainty throughout our nation right now, and even in our personal lives. Despite all of this, it is important for us to stick to our lifestyle habits prior to all of the changes. Whether you are a senior in high school whose graduation was just cancelled, or a freshman in college that did not get to say goodbye to all of your new friends, it is important to keep on with your way of life as a student.

A quote that I find fitting for the situation at hand is, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” For several years now, I have utilized this quote during very significant times of my life. The first part of the quote states to “start where you are.” Most of us are currently in our homes, beginning to take on our online classes. This is a huge transition for students all across the nation who are used to being face to face with a professor. Learning online and learning in a classroom are two completely different atmospheres, therefore we must do what the second part of the quote says, “use what you have.” This is a vital part of the process. Will you utilize the resources your college or high school is providing to you? Are you going to keep up with emails and messages from your professors? The outcome to the situation at hand all depends on what you do, leading to the third part of the quote, “do what you can.” It can be very easy to slack off while attending class at home. I have seen many of my peers lay in bed all day, staring at their computer screen, getting distracted by social media and eating all the food that is available to them. If a lifestyle like this is developed, it can take a toll of your mental and physical health. This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to create this blog, to provide advice and outlook on the changes I have made during this time of transition.

My first word of advice to fellow students is to wake up at a decent time every morning. Sleeping in until 12 p.m. is not going to do you any favors. Personally, I wake up between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., eat a high protein breakfast, and then start my classes. Being fueled with proper nutrition will enable you to be motivated to complete your assignments, instead of just crawling back into bed. Yes, being at home provides more opportunity for you to sleep in, yet it is important to not sleep all day so you do not lose motivation to complete assignments.

Secondly, it is vital to create a schedule of the work you need to get done, as well as due dates. During face to face classes, I never really kept an agenda. I mainly just kept what my professors said fresh in my head or wrote what was due on a sticky note. For online classes however, I keep track of everything that is due to ensure that I do not miss important work and due dates. It is essential to realize that face to face classes and completing work online require different efforts, as well as different means of getting things done. Even if you just write the days of the week with all you have do it under it on a blank sheet of paper, you are still using what you have and doing what you can, just like the quote says.

While this next piece of advice might be hard to do due to gym closures, it is important to stay active. Not being able to go out with friends, eat at restaurants, or working is difficult for us students. Our daily activities have changed immensely. This does not mean you cannot still get some exercise and fresh air. I have found that going on daily walks really aids in maintaining my health. Creating new habits is important during this time, due to the fact that old habits may not be able to be carried out due to restrictions that are implemented. Going on a bike ride, doing body weight exercises, or even trying yoga are all exercises that are feasible during this time.

Lastly, it is important to maintain faith during this time of transition. All across social media, I have seen people post phrases such as “Why is God punishing us? Why isn’t God helping us?” God has a plan for us yet we do not have the answer to what it is, but we trust God due to our faith. In a time such as now, we need to maintain our Christian ideals by praying for those who are ill, aiding healthcare workers in any way that we can, and thanking grocers for working so hard. There is so much that us students can do to maintain positivity during this time. Share your favorite Bible verse with others. Tell teachers how thankful you are for providing resources for our success. Do what you can.

Students, I know this is a time of uncertainty, yet our outlook on what happens is the most important thing. I believe that each and every one of you will be successful during the remainder of the semester. Don’t give up now, you already made it so far. Keep focused on your short- and long-term goals, for they are still attainable despite our circumstances. And remember, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

You got this,

A student who cares