Social Distancing Strategies: How to Make the Most of Your Senior Year During COVID-19

COVID-19 has been devastating to many students, especially college seniors. From missed good-byes to cancelled graduation ceremonies, senior year ended in a way many of us could not have anticipated.

But, I still believe we have the opportunity to make the most of our final days and weeks of this year. Here are 5 ways to make the most of your senior year when you are no longer on campus

1) Schedule themed Zoom calls with friends
Lots of people are using Zoom or other platforms to connect right now, so why not mix it up with a fun theme? For example, my friends and I are getting ready to play a virtual murder-mystery game. They’re super easy to set up with online templates, and it gives us something new and different to do.

I make sure to schedule these calls, themed or not, with my friends at least once per week. Friday and Saturday nights are great times, since no one has big weekend plans anymore. I’ve also made an effort to connect with people I don’t normally talk to – checking in during a period of social isolation is the perfect excuse. Although these circumstances are by no means ideal, you can make the most of them by changing up your routine with close friends, and strengthening relationships with people you’re not especially close to.

2) Organize a senior panel online
One of the things I’ll miss most about my last semester of senior year is talking with younger students, especially the women in my NeW chapter. NeW was such an important source of support for me throughout college, especially my freshman year. Our chapter’s president at the time, Mia, mentored me and helped me become confident in my conservatism on campus. You can read more about my story here.

Since I won’t be able to have that interaction now that we’re off-campus, I asked the president of our chapter to organize a senior panel through Zoom. This is a great way to give back, celebrate your chapters’ seniors, and give them a chance to say thank you and good-bye.

3) Dress up and take graduation pictures
If you can get your hands on a cap and gown it’s the perfect pastime activity! Although my backyard isn’t nearly as cool as the National Mall (where I should have graduated as a GW student), I can still take great graduation pictures that I can treasure for years to come.

If you’re involved in organizations on campus, ask to get their graduation cords. I was thrilled to get mine in the mail from NeW just the other day. It’s a great way to make your pictures as “real” as possible, and who doesn’t love an excuse to get dressed up in quarantine?

4) Reconnect with your high school friends
One of my main sources of support during this time has been my high school friends. They know exactly what I’m going through right now, because they’re living it too.

If you’re feeling isolated at home without your college friends around, ask your high school friends to go on a socially-distant walk! I’m lucky that my friends are home and live 5 minutes away. It’s a great way to get outside and catch up with someone important in your life who understands what it’s like to be a senior right now.

5) Continue working hard
You’ve come so far over the past three and a half years! I know online learning is difficult, but now is not the time to give up on your studies. (And believe me, I’ve thought about it.) As conservatives, we believe in personal responsibility and this pandemic doesn’t change that. Despite professors who may be assigning more work, the difficulty of focusing in online classes, and the craziness around us, we can still control how hard we work.

Of course, these are exceptional circumstances, and everyone needs to focus on achieving a healthy school-life balance right now. Even though I’m continuing to work hard, I’m considering and evaluating my school’s Pass/Fail option to see if it’s right for me. Check out your school’s specific policies so you can help yourself as much as possible. And don’t give up! The end is finally in sight.

This blog was written by Bri Mirabile, NeW intern and senior at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

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