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Ask Aroog is an advice column for University of Kansas students to ask columnist Aroog Khaliq for advice on love, relationships and life.

Dear Aroog,

Quarantine and the shift to online classes have me really stressed out. I already have a hard time conjuring up motivation when I'm on campus. Now, it's completely up to me to keep up with my classes and be proactive. And with coronavirus looming in the distance and the whole world freaking out, it's hard to redirect my focus toward my studies.

Do you have any tips for keeping healthy and productive right now?

Sincerely,

Disturbed in Dystopia


 

Dear Disturbed in Dystopia,

Acclimating to the waves of announcements leading up to the closure of campus and pivot to online learning is difficult enough. Add to the mix the fear that the COVID-19 pandemic engenders, and it is a wonder anyone is making it through the day without a pang of panic. 

Your reaction to this overload of change and isolation is understandable, if not expected, but remind yourself these public health measures are in place for our safety and the safety of our elderly and/or immunocompromised loved ones. Accommodating the abrupt changes of the past few weeks becomes easier when we center the “why” of the matter.

As a student, it’s hard not to obsess over what social distancing means for your academics because that singular arena of your life fills up the majority of your proverbial plate. Remember to be gentler to yourself, though. At any given time, you know very well there is more to life than your studies; this is even more true now. 

You might be working from your childhood home, navigating the loving distractions that are parents, siblings and pets. Or, perhaps you are trying to stay sane after spending days on end in the quietude of your apartment. Remind yourself that your professors, GTAs and graders are going through the same trials right now. The priority at this very moment isn’t being poised for a race to start, it is centering your well-being.

Take a walk or go for a run. Teach yourself to knit, sew or bake bread. Dust off your DuoLingo app. Teach your siblings a card game or your dog a trick. Check in on your friends and relatives who are living alone, and use Netflix Party to watch an episode of Mad Men together. 

Spread the word to food-insecure people that Just Food, Ladybird Diner, the Sunrise Project and Lawrence Public Schools can help. Help someone in need of WiFi take advantage of Spectrum’s 60-day free access for students. Look for online volunteer opportunities through local organizations such as the KU Center for Community Outreach or United Way of Douglas County. 

Instead of falling down the internet rabbit hole about the pandemic, focus on what you can do to keep yourself and your community healthy and well. There are so many ways to be productive that can fill you with joy instead of anxiety, DD.

After you take care of yourself physically and mentally, you will feel more prepared and motivated to tackle online learning. Stay organized using a calendar or planner, study in the most distraction-free spot you can find, and remember to take short breaks. You are perfectly capable, DD! You just need to channel your nervous energy into recharging, whether that looks like reading, FaceTiming, or learning mixology off of TikTok. I believe in you.

Love,

Aroog

P.S. Wash your hands!!!

Edited by Elise Lindemann