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Hopeful Lessons Learned from a Tumultuous Academic Year

By: Nicolas Rontanini

With the new year and semester now well underway, it is easy to hope for a clean start. After the tumultuous year that we all experienced, it is easy to understand why people would want to move on. While last year was certainly frustrating, it’s also worthwhile to remember the lessons that can be learned from this.

First of all, while none want to go through a pandemic again, going through it once gives you the skills needed should a similar scenario arise. My professor told me this at the end of the spring semester last year, and it really helped me throughout the rest of the year.

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The idea that being able to do this a second time, despite not wanting to at all, allowed me to perceive the situation from a different viewpoint. I was able to focus on what I needed to get done, rather than worry about something that is out of my control. More than that, I was able to realize the importance of keeping in touch with someone.

Having someone who you can talk to about what you’re dealing with helped me to appreciate the people in my life and not take them for granted.

Another lesson I learned was the importance of keeping a task list. Last year was more stressful than I had anticipated it being and keeping track of what assignments I had to complete and when they were due became key. When something as stressful as a nationwide quarantine happens, it’s easy to lose track of time and productivity.

I had some difficulty with finding the energy to keep going. By keeping track of what was happening with my work, I found it easier to find the energy I needed, because I had to channel that energy into something. I found my reason to get up in the morning and kept going.

But most important of all, my experiences during remote learning taught me the necessity of self-care. While self-care is always essential, Covid increases the need. If you try to do everything at once, you will just burn yourself out.

It’s still a while until the pandemic is behind us, so pacing myself each day was something I learned I had to do. More than just taking care of myself, I had to be patient. The pandemic was not going to end in a month, and I needed to set a clear time frame so I could manage my time and expectations for the future.

Remote learning was difficult for everyone and presented no shortage of problems. Everyone was forced into an unprecedented situation and had to develop a whole new schedule and routine on short notice. But even though it was difficult, and many would rather not go through it again, it’s important to keep in mind the lessons we learned during the pandemic.

Not only can they serve us for the remainder of the pandemic, but they can also serve us throughout our everyday lives long after Covid is behind us. We should remember these lessons because they offer us more awareness on how to better our lives, during or after the pandemic.

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