Staying Safe and Healthy in COVID-College

Note: This blog space only has room for love and positivity. Any hate will be removed and is not welcome here!

Attending college brings about a ton of emotions, not to mention doing so during COVID-19. School is going to look very different this Fall which seems scary and daunting, but working now to be prepared will help you to feel more ready. Both first-time students and those returning will face new challenges and must find new ways to tackle them, proving how capable you truly are. Whether you’re excited to head back to school, or completely dreading it, you are not alone in those feelings.

"...[you] deserve a conducive environment to complete your schoolwork online"

Your home during college plays many roles in your overall well being, which means that it is important to advocate for a safe and stable living environment for yourself. Many students are making the decision (or being forced) to live and study at home this semester. If you fall within this category, know that you still deserve a conducive environment to complete your schoolwork online. Speak up for what you need and reach out to your school officials if you need extra support. Many schools are establishing programs to assist students who need access to Wi-Fi, tutors, and one-on-one help with professors. If home is not a safe place for you, your school likely also has a program that can help remove you from that environment.

Roommates can be both a source of love and support, as well as stressors in your college life--sometimes at the same time. Even our family members can get on our nerves, it’s normal! But they can make the good times even better. Go into your housing situation with an open mind, and try to make the best of it. This can be an amazing opportunity to get to know someone who is different than you, giving you perspective and understanding on their life. Create boundaries for yourself within your living environment; claim designated space for yourself in common areas, remember to take time for yourself alone to recharge, and work to communicate openly to help yourself feel comfortable and at home.

Take time to really get to know yourself and establish what you need from those in your college life. This can be hard when you are surrounded by others, doing what they want to do, but never spending time with yourself. Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is real and happens when you feel that you have to participate in social activities or you will miss something important. Address this and understand how you are feeling, but know that it is okay to say “no” to plans. Your friends will still be there if you need to take a night for yourself. Work on communicating this, and be able to tell people that it is not personal, you just need some ‘you time’. Operating with this mindset will help you be more aware of your needs and keep in touch with who you are.

"Setting enough boundaries for yourself and those around you can help"

Your sense of self will shift throughout college. I am not the same person that I was when I began college; I have grown, learned, and found the kind of woman that I want to work to be. This is a time of growth and change, but it is important to remain in touch with who you truly are in your core. Setting enough boundaries for yourself and those around you can help. Know that you can try new experiences, but move slowly and establish how you are feeling. It is okay to say “no” at any point and nothing should happen beyond your consent. Whether this be something innocent like making plans with someone new or more risky like drinking or sexual experiences, never do these things for someone else. You know who you are, and you can feel it in your gut when it is being challenged.

Speak up and reach out when you feel you need help. Communicate with your school officials, your roommates, friends, and family members. Advocating for yourself and taking care of yourself is so important during college. You are attending college to learn and get a degree, but there is also the “college experience” that affects our growth. Though it will look different this year, self-care and maintaining your well-being are still key to your success.

"Advocating for yourself and taking care of yourself is so important during college"

Welcome! My name is Claire, and I am a 23-year old from Michigan! My pronouns are: she, her, and hers. I recently graduated from college with a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development, and plan to continue with graduate school to study healthcare soon. Women's health has always been a passionate topic for me, and I seek to address the disparity and stigma surrounding these topics. My column, The Vagina Column, is working to do this by bringing awareness and open-discourse to issues that we (and society) don't "like" to talk about. The reality is that we need to--we owe it to--ourselves and our fellow Queens to advocate for ourselves and remind the world of how important we are. The Vagina Column is an educational, hopefully inspirational, and interactive source for anyone looking to learn. Everyone is welcome here and encouraged to participate, regardless of your gender identity, age, religion or sexual orientation.

Enjoy and chat with me, Queens!

xo, Claire

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