Our View | Scrap your to-do list. Follow these tips instead.

Still recovering from 2020? Us too. Here’s how we got through it.

So, five students to another, surely we can all agree that last semester was, well, bad. Students were denied their pass/fail option hopes, football tickets ended up sold for ungodly amounts of money and we all spent what felt like a millennia on Zoom calls with professors who still aren’t sure if we can see their PowerPoint presentations. 

But 2021 is a new year. A new beginning in every sense of the word, with a new national title, a new president and a few new vaccines. (And a new crowds-on-The-Strip scandal, but hey, you can’t win ‘em all.) And while we thought we knew what we were getting into last semester, now we really, really know. These are nine tips to help you survive the coming months, even when times are tough and the air is cold and Raising Cane’s hasn’t quite opened back up yet. They helped us survive the fall, and now we are sharing them with you. Please use them responsibly.

Treat yourself to a good pair of headphones or earbuds.

If you’re stuck on Zoom for half the day, it might as well sound good. A functional set of noise-cancelling ear gear can help you focus up during lectures, make your between-classes playlists pop and drown out your neighbor’s sex life. Honestly, name a more versatile purchase.

Make the drive to the good Publix.

Look, not all grocery stores are created equal. The University Town Center Publix is a great place to pick up the necessities, but any time you need actual produce—or an excuse to thoughtlessly wander around the aisles—take the extra 20 minutes to drive to the Bristol Park Publix, the Xanadu of supermarkets.

Take the time to plan ahead.

Although Zoom eliminates the anxiety of finding a seat in class or the bummer of a dead computer with no available outlets, it’s still as overwhelming as in-person classes. The secret ingredient to maintaining a peace of mind throughout the semester is preparing ahead of time. Whether you are more tech savvy and prefer a digital calendar or you’re more old-fashioned and stick to good-ole pen and paper, it’s vital to review your syllabi in full and coordinate your personal schedule ahead of time. 

Five is better than one. 

Join a GroupMe or create your own study group to tackle classes. Limited human contact can feel isolating, but the beauty of technology is that it always offers an alternative. See it as having 15 or even 300 accountability partners or resources. We can all think of a few peers that we are beyond grateful for. 

Stick to a consistent schedule.

Zoom classes can make it temptingly easy to put off the video lectures to later that night or the weekend. Don’t do it. It has been said a million times, but hold yourself to a consistent schedule or Zoom University will feel like it’s taking up your whole life. By assigning a few hours a week to each class’s video lectures and homework, you will have that much more time for leisure and personal activities without putting your grades and mental health at risk. 

Write stuff down more.

Computers are great! You can do basically anything important on a computer. But if there’s anything 2020 has shown us, it’s that there is such a thing as too much screen time. Handwriting notes for class, letters to your family, journal entries for your mental health – any of these are a great way to take a second away from the computer and reflect on your day-to-day life. 

Dedicate yourself to a hobby.

We know, who has time for hobbies in college? In all seriousness, having something you do for yourself and no one else is really important, especially during a time of increased isolation and stress. If you already have a hobby, now is a great time to take it to the next level. If you don’t, carve out an hour of your weekly Netflix time for a new passion. Maybe you’re the creative type, or a collector. Maybe you need something to shake out the jitters, or maybe you want to learn something new. There is a hobby out there for you – you only have to want to find it. 

Invest in a good cocktail kit.

If you’ve been sheltering at home, chances are you’re missing your favorite downtown dive. But quarantine is no excuse for the status of your fridge right now. Missing Tide Teas at Alcove? Or are Central Mesa mojitos more your vibe? Trash that sad little six-pack and treat yourself to an original concoction over a Zoom happy hour. It’ll lift your spirits, we promise.

Seek out professional mentors.

If you’re not quite ready to apply to jobs or internships, spend time this semester building your reference list. Have a professor you look up to? Pop in to their office hours. Want to learn a skill your program doesn’t offer? Sign up for an independent study. Chances are, you’ll get some valuable one-on-one instruction that will pay off in the future.  

The CW Editorial board is composed of Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Griesbach, Managing Editor Leah Goggins, Engagement Editor Adaya Jackson, Chief Copy Editor Bhavana Ravala and Opinions Editor Mikayla Wyatt.