As a college student, remote learning certainly has its perks, as does living at home or with family instead of on campus. However, COVID-19 concerns and precautions this year have left many university students with no choice in either matter. Schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have already opted to proceed with full remote learning for undergraduate classes, while more universities prepare to send college students home for the rest of the semester after Thanksgiving.
No matter your relationship with your parents, grandparents, siblings, or other family members back home, residing with them unexpectedly can create plenty of friction and frustration. The Compass Self Storage team is here to offer ways you can make your extended stay at home from college as stress-free as possible while managing your time, energy, and space.
Establishing a Healthy At-Home Routine While Remote Learning
Your weekly class schedule might stay the same, but any other trace of a normal college experience has gone out the window this year. Feeling angry, disappointed, and disoriented is completely understandable if you have to move back in with Mom and Dad when all you crave is the freedom of college life. It’s also tempting to let the lack of routine have the power over your workflow, chores, hobbies, and social life—but don’t forget you’re still in control of your daily habits. Here are tips that can help you establish a healthy, balanced routine at home.
Talk about Expectations
Now that you’re officially an adult, you want your parents to treat you like one. But as they would expect of any “guest,” they’ll likely have expectations of you when it comes to house rules. From bills to chores, ensuring everyone is on the same page and knows where things stand is key to a stress-free living arrangement.
Also, try to schedule your weekdays in a way that allows you to stick to a routine as if you’re actually residing in a dorm or on-campus housing. Setting an alarm for the same time each morning and following a regular morning routine can help you maintain a smooth and steady schedule while you’re not attending classes physically.
Claim a Quiet Study Space
Of course, the arrangement of space in every home is different. If possible, avoid doing homework or studying in your bedroom (or any room that contains distractions and comfy places to sleep). Turn a corner of the rec room, spare bedroom, or dining area into an office space where you can get focused and be productive—then abandon it when it’s time to call it a day. You could also designate this space for journaling, hobbies, or other solo projects, and proactively set boundaries with your family about when you need uninterrupted alone time.
Stay Savvy with Your Money
Whenever in-person shopping is limited, it might be alluring to online-shop until you drop. One huge benefit of living at home during college is the ability to save some money, so take advantage of the opportunity to cook or eat at home when you can, and limit unnecessary spending. In addition, you may qualify for federal student financial aid or your college’s work-study program that makes you eligible for various campus jobs. If you’re seeking remote or in-person work while living at home, check your school’s online career resources.
Stay Social and Connected as Much as Possible
Without living on campus—and with many activities and events canceled altogether this year—it’s particularly difficult to stay involved and connected to your peer group. Be sure to check if there are any virtual meet-ups happening with college clubs or organizations that align with your interests so you can still socialize with like-minded people.
Compromising with Family
Stay in Consistent Communication
Speaking of socializing, if you do decide to invite visitors over to your family’s home, it’s important to discuss expectations first (especially amid the coronavirus pandemic). If you ever want to have a classmate, friend, or significant other over to study or hang out, keep the lines of communication open out of consideration to everyone’s schedule and comfort level. Although you may no longer have a curfew, it’s best to let your family or housemates know if you’re going to be out for a while or coming home late.
Don’t Assume Room and Board is Free
Just because your family cares for you doesn’t necessarily mean they’re content with you staying there without payment. Whether it’s reimbursement in the form of regular housework, running errands, or an actual check, make sure everyone understands what’s expected so there are no surprises.
Reconcile or Build Family Relationships
At the end of the day, you’re an adult who may not agree with everything your parents do, say, or think—and vice versa. However, taking some time and effort to work on your relationships with one another can be valuable in both an emotional and a functional sense.
Encourage open dialogues, and know when to walk away from heated conversations that are getting nowhere. Find common ground in conversations or activities, too. Never learned how to cook your mom’s signature dish or how to change a car tire before starting college? Ask if one of your family members could show you. Now is a great time to learn life skills you can take with you into the future. Even if you don’t get along so well with certain loved ones, they’ll still always have knowledge and wisdom you can learn from (and them from you)!
The Art of De-stressing
If you had to move back home from college, remember you’re far from alone in this transition. It’s perfectly valid to feel isolated or irritable while adjusting to online school, grieving the typical college experience, and spending a lot more time with family. With that said, it’s crucial to adapt your de-stressing methods and coping mechanisms to your new at-home educational setting.
Stay Open and in Touch
Be open with your parents, guardians, or other family members regarding concerns about you coming back home; the process might be a big adjustment for them as well. Stay in touch with your friends and other family via call, text, social media, or video chat on a regular basis. Consider planning virtual study sessions with classmates or movie nights with friends to look forward to.
Reserve Quality Alone Time to Recharge
Don’t let yourself get too “busy” for a solid brain break with time to relax and recharge each day. Try to reserve at least 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted, quality time for doing something enjoyable and fulfilling. Commit time to cooking, taking a walk, working out, listening to your favorite playlist, playing video games, reading an inspiring book, or something else to avert your mind from family- or school-related stress.
Also, explore a new hobby, such as crafting, baking, hiking, or picking up a musical instrument. Whatever you’re doing, set aside time each day or week to watch tutorials and practice; your skills can improve quicker than you think!
Reach Out for Support
Many young people are craving much-needed connection right now. Don’t shy away from engaging with professors and fellow students online for further support with academics and career pathing. For more personal, professional attention, see what support services are offered through your college’s or university’s counseling and wellness centers. There are also various emergency mental health hotlines you can contact anonymously or to which you can refer friends or peers who might need immediate help.
The Art of Decluttering
Moving back home with your family during college can quickly get cramped and cluttered—with half-unpacked bags, boxes, and bins of your belongings strewn about as you attempt to clear the way for a place to do schoolwork. Decluttering regularly along with setting everything up in a way that serves your routine are key to a stress-free, mess-free living space. Plus, an organized atmosphere helps keep your mind clear and focused.
To prevent clutter, consider keeping non-essential college items stored offsite or in self storage. Sharing a storage unit with a college friend or roommate could help you both save money while storing your stuff out of the way.
Dorm Room Storage Ideas to Save Space
No matter if you’ll be moving back to the college residence halls eventually or you need to treat one half of your bedroom like a dorm room to save space at home, here are some dorm room storage ideas to keep you organized and focused on schoolwork:
- Hang over-the-door hooks or racks
- Use stacking bins and under-the-bed storage containers
- Add clothes racks to supplement closet space
- Roll (instead of folding) clothing to save dresser space
- Maximize vertical space with adhesive wall hooks and hangers
Compass can Point You to Flexible Student Storage Solutions
Seeking reliable college student storage solutions near you? At Compass Self Storage, our storage units for college students offer the convenience, features, and flexibility you need to store your belongings efficiently during distance learning at home. Find your nearest self storage facility to get started today, or contact us with any questions you might have!