These couple of weeks adjusting to the world of online classes has allowed me to take some time and reflect on the past, present, and future. In college, time seems to fly and changes that occur over time sometimes just seem to pop up. Yet in these weeks of change, time hasn’t been flying by, and things aren’t happening as smoothly, but that’s okay – it’s perfectly fine if adjusting to this new normal takes longer than it may have at college. In my reflecting, a few thoughts stuck with me as particularly helpful in this unexpected journey:
- Recognize it’s okay to feel upset, but find a balance: In the midst of this crazy uncertainty, I am sure many college students, like myself, initially thought about the immediately important things: getting their things from their dorm room, how they were getting home, and what online classes would be like. It was in this time that a friend challenged me to take a few minutes and be present to my actual feelings. Understanding this balance of my feelings was essential to maintaining my self-care while still recognizing the larger perspective.
- Have Consistency to a Prayer Routine: At college, it is easier to have routines of when certain faith-based activities are or when there’s a break between classes to find a chapel to pray. Even with so much changing, I have found that finding a new planned prayer routine is an important first step. First, I recommend finding a place at home that can be conducive for prayer – make it your sacred space. Then, try to find a consistent time that works for you. For me, this is requiring some trial and error; I used to try everyday after lunch, but now it’s during a gap in my online classes.. Having this non-negotiable time for prayer can help build a sense of normalcy in your new schedules.
- Utilize Online Resources: Classes have opened my eyes to the world of online meeting platforms with many great features and purposes. Use these resources outside of just class! I have seen these online meetings used in many great, spiritually empowering ways: Bible studies, rosaries, night prayer, and really any form of prayer group. I also know I miss going to Mass with my friends; these online platforms can also be used to sstream online Mass together.
- Journal: I have found that journaling can really serve a two-fold purpose. First, as a form of processing, journaling can be a great way of reflecting and can be an avenue for navigating through these uncertain and chaotic times. Secondly, it can be a way to come up with creative new ideas. This is a time when creativity can blossom into exciting ideas for the upcoming year and journaling can help creativity flourish.
From the time this COVID-19 pandemic first began to alter life in February, one particular prayer has been an unending source of peace for me. It is called the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”