Colleges offer advice for those new, returning to campus amid pandemic

Tips for easing transition to college campus this fall

College life has been put on pause for many students over the past year due to the pandemic. For those who new or returning to campus, some local colleges are offering tips to help ease the transition.
College life has been put on pause for many students over the past year due to the pandemic. For those who new or returning to campus, some local colleges are offering tips to help ease the transition.

All across the country, college students are getting ready to head back to school in just a few weeks.

College life has been put on pause for many students over the past year due to the pandemic. Whether students are new or returning to campus, the experience will be unfamiliar to most as COVID protocols affect day-to-day life.

Luckily, some Michigan colleges are offering advice to students to help ease the transition to campus during a strange time.

Related: ‘It’s difficult and it’s different.’ University of Michigan students talk about campus life during pandemic

First and foremost, Kat Cooper from Michigan State University says that students should take some time to learn the campus before classes actually start.

“If you’ve got your class schedule, take a walk of all your classes and get to know the physical space,” Cooper said. “Driving campus and walking campus are two very different things.”

Especially for those who are heading to college for the first time, Cooper says that it’s important not to take life skills for granted.

“Make sure (you) know how to do laundry, make sure (you) know how to boil water,” Cooper said. “But also make sure (you) know some skills to make friends, because that’s one of the hardest things that students face when they come here.”

Cooper also says that when professors hand out a syllabus, students should treat it like a contract. She says that exam dates and due dates will be written into the syllabus, so students should be sure to mark those dates in their planners and make sure they’re meeting those deadlines.

Acknowledging that going off to college can be a stressful experience, Janet Jansen from the University of Michigan says that added stress can cause sleepless nights. She says to keep an eye on your sleep and ask yourself if you’re not sleeping well because of the activities you’ve taken up, or because you’re homesick. Either way, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Dawn Aubry, the vice president of enrollment at Oakland University, says that the most important tip is to make sure you are prepared to be self-sufficient and self-regulating.

“A teacher, a professor doesn’t always remind (students) that something is due,” Aubry said. “They give (students_ a syllabus, but they really need to monitor their own deadlines.”

Related: Pause on student loan payments extended through January

Officials say students and parents should prioritize understanding what resources and help are available to students, and not to be too prideful or ashamed to ask for help.

“All of us, at one time, are new to an environment, especially a college environment” Aubry said. “That’s what we’re here to do: To help show them the resources, help them know it’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help, or to say ‘I don’t know.’”

And while the students’ transition may be the focus, it’s important to note that parents will be experiencing a transition, too. During this time, officials say parents should be supportive of their children, but not intrusive.

Watch the full report in the video above.


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About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.