Studying at home and feeling left out? You may be physically distanced from campus, but there are still ways to feel a part of it.

For one reason or another, you decided not to go for housing at Barnumbia. Or maybe you weren’t even offered the chance. Maybe you desperately wanted an apartment in New York, but it never panned out. Whatever your situation may be, I feel you. Thanks to social media, it feels like everyone and their pet plants are off in New York, gallivanting around Morningside Heights, engaging in all the fun activities you wanted to do when you were first accepted. And, sure, there are ways to recreate the experience at home, but it’s easy to feel so alone and isolated from the rest of your classmates. Living remotely makes it seem as if you’re behind and missing out on something. I understand and I know those feelings. But I am here to tell you that every night does not have to be its own pity party. There are ways to cope with being at home. I’ve broken it down into general ways to cope with feeling alone, ways to become more involved in the community, and ways to take care of yourself. 

  • Escapism. This, if anything, is more of a short-term fix: eventually you will come down from the high that escapism offers, but, in the moment, you’ll feel just fine. Sometimes, all we need is temporary release: 
    • Read old YA novels you have at home. The advantage of being at home: an abundance of semi-decent books you once obsessed over. 
    • Watch TV, but don’t use it to procrastinate. Spend free time watching any show on any streaming service because there are so many services, we’ll eventually all return to cable network. 
    • Scroll endlessly through coffee Instagram accounts. This is how I spend my time. I don’t care that I will never make Lucky Charms infused iced coffee with pea flower whipped tea, but a girl can dream. 
    • Exercise. To be blunt, it sucks to exercise. But getting lost in the music and not having to think about anything except maybe the immense amount of pain your abs are in while holding a plank, can be nice. 
  • Reaching out. You might think that it wouldn’t make sense to reach out to those on campus right now when you’re not there. That’s not true! It never hurts to have options, and you could be the missing piece in someone’s life: 
    • Reach out via DM on Instagram. This may seem obvious and reaching out can sometimes feel stupid, but there is NO shame in trying. For example, if you follow some sort of niche or peculiar account or celebrity, and you see someone else from Barnumbia also follows them, why not DM them?! The worst that will happen is they do not respond and then forget about you. And, in time, you’ll forget about them. However, there are so many positive scenarios that can come from such an exchange, so there is no point in not reaching out. 
    • If you see someone with a pet in the background, comment on it privately in the chat. Might turn into a friendship, might not. At the very least, you can make someone’s day.  
    • Social media is the worst. You’re more likely to see posts about being in New York rather than at home. But you, too, can use social media to your advantage. See if anyone on Facebook has asked if people are living remotely and if there is a group chat. You can also make a post yourself! There are people out there, you just gotta find them. 
    • Find someone in class to study with. Most classes are online and study groups have to be online as well. Make friends in classes and have a virtual study group. Everyone benefits from that, so I don’t know why people would say no to such an idea. 
    • Join clubs. This kind of sucks, and can be a very stressful process, but if you find something you like and are passionate about, no reason not to join! 
  • Self-care. I’ve decided that “self-care” translates to curam sui in Latin but don’t quote me on that because I used Google Translate. I translated it because those in academia should regard self-care as highly as they regard the language:
    • This might not be self-care, per se, but being at home allows you access to so many things you couldn’t have at college, and it is important to exploit those aspects to the fullest! 
    • Listen to music. Call this regression or call this nostalgia, but I’ve been listening to a lot of music I loved in middle school, and it has made me feel quite alright. A good cry or a good bout of happiness stemming from music can really improve my mood. 
    • Meditating or relaxation can be what you want it to be and there is not one way to do it. Just make sure you set aside time to decompress in one form or another. 
    • Walk outside. You don’t need to read Thoreau’s Walking to know that walks are beneficial for the body and soul. And, besides, we could all use a break from the stupid computer screen. (I definitely have read Walking and I wasn’t a fan). 

Finally, just remember this year has been hard on so many. It doesn’t make sense to be hard on yourself. Stay cool and live your fullest and best life. To quote Lady Bird’s mom, “I just want you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.”

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