Opinion | Freshmen, it’s going to be okay

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

To the class of 2024, your Illinois college experience didn’t start the way you expected. There was no real Quad Day, few welcome events and a late start to the football season.

More than likely, many thoughts and questions continue to run through your head. Should I quit college? Transfer schools? Or just keep going? It’s an unprecedented semester likely followed by an even worse spring and summer.

If you’re struggling with school, trying to make friends, or fit in altogether, you’re not alone. There are plenty of upperclassmen who feel the same way. Freshmen, no matter what the rest of this semester brings, it’s going to be okay.

University students were placed on a two-week limited interaction schedule from Sept 2. to Sept. 16, unable to participate in regular college activities. While cases on campus and in the Champaign-Urbana area have surged these last few weeks, other students are encouraged to only go out for necessities like class, groceries, religious celebrations and to seek medical attention.

Everything about this semester is hard for everyone involved: Students, professors, parents and staff alike. So freshmen, when you feel alone and think you’re the only one battling this pandemic, think about all the others on the boat with you. While doing so, here are some tips to keep you grounded and sane.

Above anything, focus on schoolwork first. Treat it like a job. Your academic performance should be your top priority. Even though you may take the bulk of your classes online, you can still find ways to succeed with your studies.

Grow to enjoy at least one course this semester. That way, you always have something to look forward to. While doing so, plan out everything you need to do for any given day and week for that matter. The quicker you take action on your schoolwork, the sooner you’ll find yourself occupied and achieving objectives you never thought possible.

Besides school, take up a new hobby or continue an old one. No, you can’t do anything with a group, unfortunately, but you can still find other activities to do alone. Read that book you always wanted to get to but never did. Learn a new instrument or even a second language. Heck, you could start an online business if you’re feeling extra ambitious. The world is your oyster, and this semester might be the best time to do any of those activities.

When you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or both, take a break. Find some time for just yourself. Use it to call your parents, take a walk or catch up on some Netflix. Relaxation will help you recharge your batteries and help you realize there can be some good moments out of this semester.

Freshmen and fellow University students, everything will work out. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we will all once again find ourselves back to normalcy, however that may look.

Noah is a junior in the College of Media.

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