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So your school went online because of the Coronavirus…now what?

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college student stressed to maintain grades during coronavirus

Over 150 universities have closed in the United States over the last couple of days because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Chances are, if you’re reading this, yours has too.

This has been a major hit to everyone in our communities, whether you’re losing your only form of housing or you’re a senior who doesn’t get to see their friends again.

I know I’m feeling a little bit lost and confused. I’m also really worried about my grades. I decided not to go to college online for a reason, but now I have no choice. However, I have come up with a couple of ways to help you keep your spirits and your grades high.

Coronavirus may be strong, but us college students are way stronger. 

Protecting your grades during the Coronavirus

1. Buy a planner

I genuinely put this step at number one. Even if you’ve never used a planner before or you think they aren’t helpful, right now, this will help.

With the mass chaos surrounding the COVID-19 news updates, you can make sure you don’t get pulled into the chaos and use a planner to keep track of your assignments and when you’ll get work done on specific days.

Right now school is STILL if not MORE important now that your whole life has been flipped upside down, so having a plan can make a huge difference. There’s also plenty of apps that serve the same function. My personal favorite is My Study Life, because you can input all of your assignments and it sends you notifications before they need to be completed.

As for a physical planner, my favorites are the Rae Dunn collection, which you can find on Amazon and usually at T.J. Maxx/Marshalls/Homegoods. I got mine for less than $10! Check them out below!

Buy your planner

2. Don’t stay stuck in your house

If your hometown hasn’t completely quarantined itself yet (I know mine is on its way there), make sure you don’t stay in your house all alone!

Go to the library or your local Starbucks, snag a table, and get to work.

Be safe about this, don’t go to a place that’s too crowded, your health is still the utmost importance here.

Make sure you bring headphones if ambient noises aren’t your cup of tea and hunker down for a few hours. 

3. Hang out (and do homework) with your friends from home

It’s pretty likely that if Coronavirus sent you home, it sent your best friends from home back too. Take this time to spend with those people who you don’t see a lot.

Even if you’re going to study together, or you just hang out for a few hours, it’ll be worth your while.

It doesn’t matter if you’re taking even remotely similar classes, you can still have a fun study session that beats being all alone. 

4. Ask your professors if they are still having office hours

If your school is doing Zoom/Skype/Hangouts conferencing to make your classes “in person”, ask your professor if you can call them for office hours. That way you can go over the material again if you missed something during class. Hopefully, with everyone having freer schedules, your professors might be able to fit you into their schedules a little better.

Check with your teaching assistants and learning assistants as well. They might be able to help you out as well.

Use this as a time to better connect with your professors and peers and forge better relationships. With everyone going a little out of their minds, human connection can make a huge difference during the chaos.

5. Ask your academic advisor if you can Skype with them

This is actually what my university is doing, and I think it’s going to be really helpful.

Your advisor should still be able to help you figure your life out remotely. You can even ask them if any of your university’s tutoring services are available remotely. (And if they aren’t, brownie points for planting that seed).

They know you’re stressed out, so just talk to them and talk it all out.

Next semester will come and with it second chances, not to mention a good look for you for staying on top of your academics, that effort shows. 

6. Get organized

You can finally use all of those highlighters and sticky notes that you bought freshman year!

Getting organized is what helped me get my grades up.

Color-code your notes, organize your papers, read your slides from your professor, and take the best notes of your life!

Maybe this is finally the chance you have to get into this habit for the rest of your years to come!

7. (Don’t) use notes for online exams

I don’t necessarily condone this one, but I have been told to keep a note sheet or two out for online exams.

Technically, no one knows you have it, and it might be pretty useful.

I do not condone this activity as it is a violation of academic integrity (unless stated otherwise), but I didn’t see you do it. 

8. Find your perfect study spot at home

The department of public health might be calling this a crisis, but that doesn’t mean you have to take that energy into your home.

Find a comfortable space to complete your schoolwork assignments.

For some of us, it’s our bedroom. For others, it’s the kitchen table. Find the place that works best for you, even if you have to create it. If you have to set up pillows on the floor of your living room with six blankets and your favorite stuffed animal from childhood, do it. If your parents tell you that you’re weird, just shrug it off. YOU are the priority right now, not their opinions. 

9. Keep your mental health in check

Really though, out of everything that’s unfolding, your mental health is likely going to suffer the most during this time of self-quarantine and social distancing.

It’s going to be rough being away from your friends, clubs, sororities/fraternities, and most importantly your routine.

Don’t let your mental health take the hit. Make sure you are checking in with yourself and know when to stop and take a breather. Even a quick meditation once a day could do the trick. Our meditation article has tons of tips on how to get started meditated and relieve anxiety even related to the Coronavirus.

Whether it’s starting therapy, going back to therapy, or just taking some extra time for yourself, make yourself your number one priority. 

Keeping your sanity during Coronavirus

1. Take some time to work

If you have a job at home that hasn’t shutdown for disease control purposes, ask your boss if you can pick up a few shifts.

Disclaimer: at this stage of the self-quarantine, you’ll probably only be able to do this if you have a job that doesn’t deal directly with consumers. Like some type of office job you can do remotely.

You’re probably going to have some extra free time now that you aren’t going out or participating in extracurriculars.

It’s sad, but there’s no reason not to make a little extra cash for summer vacations. 

2. Catch up on your sleep

This one is more for self-care than anything else. Not to mention increasing your immunity to ensure you are ready for the worst of the Coronavirus outbreak.

College has the tendency to wreck your sleep schedule quite often, but now that you’re home, try getting a full eight hours of sleep.

Being well-rested is good for your health and for your schoolwork, so use this time indoors to your FULL advantage!

3. Spend some time on your passions


Free time can be a wonderful thing.

If there’s something you don’t have time to do at school, you might have some time for it now.

Read that book, play on that guitar, play with that makeup, make that art. The possibilities are endless. Don’t let yourself fall into a boring routine.

Make sure you’re taking some time for yourself. 

4. Do some spring cleaning

There’s no time like the present to get your bedroom back to the way it looks when you’re not home, aka your parents’ standards of clean.

What better time to purge things you know you don’t need.

Go through your closet and drawers and try and sell some stuff to a consignment shop like Plato’s Closet, on Poshmark, or even donate it.

You’d be surprised by how much stuff you come up with.

Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary while you’re home, if you’re going to be there for a while, you might as well enjoy it. Here are some tips to keep your things extra organized.

5. Do some self-care

Did you know that stress actually makes you more susceptible to illness? It’s true, when your body is stressed your immune system naturally has a tendency to weaken.

Whether it’s facemasks, painting your nails, listening to music, or playing video games, there’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself.

We work so hard as college students, and now we have to work harder to stay on top of our assignments while not being on campus. Taking care of yourself is the best way to combat stress.  

6. Watch some new TV shows

Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus might be your new best friends. If there have been some shows you’ve been putting off watching, or there’s an old show you’ve been wanting to rewatch, get a head start now. Here are some of my top picks:

      • The Good Place
      • Grey’s Anatomy
      • How I Met Your Mother
      • Suite Life of Zack and Cody/Suite Life on Deck
      • Hannah Montana
      • Gotham
      • The Office
      • Parks and Recreation
      • Glee
      • Galavant
      • A Series of Unfortunate Events

7. Check out some new YouTubers


I personally am a YouTube Junkie. A lot of the people I watch are very popular, but some people still don’t know about them.

There are so many personalities out there that I love to watch. If you are a YouTube fan and want to watch someone new, or if you’ve never gotten into YouTube, try these people out!

I use it for entertainment and ambient noise while I’m studying.

      • Jeffree Star
      • Rosanna Pansino
      • The Try Guys
      • Cinema Sins
      • Tasty
      • The Watcher
      • Bon Appetit
      • Theme Park History

If you’re not a youtuber, podcasts can be another great form of entertainment. We have a list of our favorite podcasts for college students here!

8. Read some different books

If the world is in a complete and utter shutdown, I’m going to take advantage of it and work on some personal development. And that’s going to start with catching up on my reading for pleasure during these weeks when I’m not stuck on campus until 11 o’clock at night, that’s for sure.

I have the world’s longest reading list, so I’ll just give a few recommendations, some little known books and some popular ones included.

      • Crazy Rich Asians
      • Alex and Eliza: A Love Story
      • Gone Girl
      • The Water Dancer
      • Jurassic Park
      • The Thousandth Floor

9. Work on your fitness

Okay so yes, the gym is probably (or should probably be) closed per orders of the CDC. However, there are lots of YouTube channels and Instagram accounts that can help you take care of your body.

My personal favorite way to workout is by finding workout games on Pinterest. They’re just like drinking games, except they give you an exercise to do along with a movie or TV show to watch.

There’s one for Friends and Harry Potter and pretty much anything else you could be looking for. If it helps me feel even a little less lonely during this self-quarantined time then I call that successful.

Friends workout Harry Potter workout

10. Take a social media detox (especially to stop reminding yourself of Coronavirus every time you scroll Instagram and Facebook)


When there’s nothing going on except news about the Coronavirus every minute on the minute, now is the best time to stop using your social media.

Keep maybe one for vital updates on COVID-19 and how it relates to your university and your life, but otherwise, just delete the apps for a week or two.

This will clear your system and clear your mind of all of the negativity that social media brings into our lives.

Of course, you can eventually redownload, but you might not want to after having a cleanse. 

11. Create something

Do you want to start a podcast? Do it! Do you want to make a board game? Now’s your chance! This could be your chance to start something new. Start that makeup artist instagram. Bake those cookies. Bring something into the world that brings you joy, and maybe you’ll bring joy to others too!

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Allie Bausinger

Allie Bausinger

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