University of Alberta: Going Back To The Same School In A Very Different Way Fall 2021

And just like that… we’re back! We are heading into yet another “unique” year. This year won’t be anything like Fall 2020 as most of us will be able to resume in-person activities on campus, but it certainly won’t be like Fall 2019 because we are still in a global pandemic. With a new year comes new challenges and opportunities, so here’s how I will be looking at going back to the same school but in a very different way.

Managing Expectations
Like many of my peers, I have been putting a lot of thought into what my year will look like academically, personally, and professionally. In reflecting on how I really feel, I’m excited to be back in the classroom, but I am also worried that it may not last long. I’m excited for classroom discussions, but am worried about lots of people talking at the same time in the same room, even with masks. I am excited to see my peers again, but I’m not really sure how safe they have been. I know this year won’t be like any other, but I know there will be some constants like the amount of work required for each class, what classes I’m taking, campus activities (student groups, governance, events), and the familiar faces that I’ve missed so much this past year.

For more ideas, check out Laura’s intriguing and relevant story on Emotionally Preparing for the Transition to Campus

In addition to thinking about the changes that going back to school with Covid-19 brings, we also have to think about preparing for a “regular” school year using the habits built during this past year. I will try my best to embody these good habits during the fall semester:

Consistency + Effort + Delayed Gratification = Success: Regardless of what your routine looks like, you must be consistent, and you have to put in consistent effort. You may have to sacrifice some anti-productive things in your routine, which delays your gratification, but will help you find success.
Establishing a routine: Committing to the grind requires consistency and the only way to be consistent is establishing a routine.
Being successful all by yourself is difficult: Make it easier on yourself by establishing a support group to keep yourself and others accountable and motivated.
Staying mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy: It’s hard to do anything when you’re not at 100% so focus on what you can do to feel great and everything else will fall into place later.
For some more ideas, check out Gurbani’s great story on the 5 Habits to Take from Online to in-Person Classes. For other habits and tips, read my story Going Back To The Same School But In A Very Different Way (Fall 2020).

Be Prepared to Adapt
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can adapt in extreme and extraordinary circumstances. For most of us, we’ve spent 18 months completely away from campus and each other so going back will be something exciting or uncomfortable. Do your best to find humor in the uncomfortable situations, accept the situation(s), find a way to make the most of it, talk about your feelings with your support system and remember the big picture (why you’re in school in the first place). Keeping that in mind, if things don’t go as planned whether they are your control or not, think about solutions. Albert Einstein said “Insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result” so don’t be afraid to try a new strategy if things aren’t going the way you have intended. I believe that there’s beauty in the struggle and it may not be apparent right away but the process of overcoming and reflecting always makes you proud of what you accomplished given the circumstances.