This recommendation sounds obvious as by now, a mask should be an essential part of your everyday outfit. Whether you’re the sort of person who carries several books, a pencil case and a laptop to university or you just have one singular black pen in your back pocket, carrying a mask everywhere should be second nature to us all by now. As well as a mask, you should regularly be using hand sanitizer to reduce the number of potentially viral droplets being spread. Both a reusable mask and a refillable hand sanitizer bottle will be provided to students on the induction weeks by the university, so don’t lose them!
If you have a day of lectures on zoom and the lecturers don’t require you to show your face, shower, get dressed and set up your workspace away from your bed (if possible). It can be easy to slip back into the lockdown routine of comforting pyjama days, but this will reduce your productivity and desire to do anything else throughout the day. Personally, I find multiple pyjama days in a week bad for my mental health and it becomes easy to slip into lazy habits.
Because your bedroom has to double up as an office too, you should decorate your bedroom with photos, posters, colourful bedding, cushions and other things that make you happy. The time you will spend in your room will increase significantly so you don’t want it to be a miserable unwelcoming space. A few fairy lights over your bed makes a dull room Instagram ready. I bought a half cork board for £4 and decorated it with photos of family and friends, in the hope that their smiling faces motivate me as I work. Obviously, the expense of decorations shouldn’t be too great but just a few items in your room can really make the difference.
Relying on the university app alone for your timetable can be rather tricky when you add doctors’ appointments, meetings with your personal tutor and society activities to your day. This year comes with the added complication of those activities are occurring on campus and those activities that are not. I like to use a thick hardback diary and jot down random notes and reminders as well as my timetable hour by hour. Some people prefer to make their diaries appear Instagram ready with calligraphy and added doodles and others prefer to keep their diary on their phones. Find out what works best for you and stick with it, because a diary is an essential if you are to make the most of this year.
Remember to take time away from university work
Free time is incredibly important and socialising from a distance will be key to keeping a healthy work life balance this year. Working from home often gets me swept up in hours of typing and reading without so much as a five-minute break. This is incredibly unhealthy and one of my worst habits so I really encourage you not to follow suit. Whether it’s a zoom call to family and friends, a socially distanced drink at the pub or just an hour of Netflix alone time, you must take time to relax because the changes that this year brings may be quite stressful.