Back to School Tips During a Pandemic

With only two and a half weeks until the fall semester starts, students, parents and faculty are scrambling to get everything in order. 

Whether you’re a first-year student or finishing your last semester at Southern Utah University, there are sure to be extra challenges ahead with the changes COVID-19 has brought. 

This year, SUU is offering four different class types for students. These include face-to-face classes where students will attend normally with social distancing and face-coverings in place and synchronous remote classes where students will attend remotely at the same time each week by utilizing technology. The other two options include online classes where students will complete class on their own time remotely and the hybrid method which could contain a mix of the previous three classes. 

For first-year students, the extra stress from the pandemic could be challenging. Fortunately, SUU has been doing its part to show support and alleviate some of the worry. 

Recently, SUU cut students fees by 40 percent, taking away an average of $152.70 that each student has to pay for the fall semester. For more information on this fee reduction, click here.

Although the university is doing what it can to help, there is still a lot of change that students will have to adjust to themselves. Here are some tips to make the transition a little easier. 

Dealing with Homesickness

For first-year students, missing home is inevitable and will be felt at some time or another. Although fall sports have been postponed until the spring, the best way to deal with being homesick is to meet new people and have fun. 

Keep an eye out for the activities (socially distance appropriate, of course) that SUUSA and other organizations will be planning this year. 

Follow @suusatbirds on Instagram for more information.

Studying from Home 

Studying from home can be both challenging and distracting. Without the study vibe campus provides, completing assignments remotely brings added distractions and frustration from not having peers and professors around to help. Fortunately, technology may also be the solution. 

FaceTime a class member or schedule a Zoom meeting with your professor to discuss what you’re struggling with. To combat distraction, designate a spot in your living space that will strictly be used for school, such as a corner in your room with a desk or the kitchen table. Sitting on your bed with your laptop will not only make you more tired, but blur the lines in your brain between work and sleep mode.

Combatting Stress

Because students will be cooped up with roommates a little more than usual this coming semester, this may result in added stress or contention. To get rid of that stir-crazy feeling and to take a break from being stuck inside all day, take advantage of what southern Utah has to offer. 

Go on a walk and get some fresh air, or plan a camping trip to get away. A change of scenery, literally, is always a good way to switch things up.  For a list of some of the best hikes in the area, visit the outdoors section of suunews.  

The most important thing to note is that we are all going through this pandemic together, and the new semester is something that none of us has yet experienced. If you feel especially lonely or sad, utilize the Counseling and Psychological Services that SUU offers and don’t be afraid to reach out. 


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong