Getting ready to return back to school after what was hopefully a restorative summer generally brings with it feelings of anxiousness and excitement for many. After learning remotely last year due to the pandemic, our students are even more eager to get on campus and back into the classroom. We’re here to help get you started on the right foot and acclimate back to all the great amenities and events that living on-campus has to offer with these back to school success tips for 2021.
COVID-19 Safety Tips:
The COVID-19 pandemic has been up and down since it started, The Delta variant is now making a surge across the country and throughout New York State, which means our students and campuses need to remain vigilant in following safety protocols. Here are some quick tips for staying healthy and safe this semester:
- Get vaccinated! Schedule a vaccination appointment if you haven’t already. Your local pharmacy should have appointments available, but if not, New York State has put together a handy webpage to help you find COVID-19 vaccine appointment availabilities.
- Check with your campus about masking mandate/regulations and COVID-19 safety protocols. We know things can get confusing with mandates changing regularly, so check in with your campus about their rules and regulations, or visit this webpage for SUNY COVID guidance for the Fall 2021 semester.
- With COVID-19 cases still present, it’s good to practice social distancing whenever possible. It’s great to have students back on campus and in-person socializing with one another, but we need to remember to keep it safe. Three to six feet away from each other is the recommended distance until cases subside.
- Determine what the COVID-19 testing requirements are for your campus. For those who aren’t vaccinated, SUNY has mandated that they receive weekly testing, whereas some campuses require all students be tested, regardless of their vaccinated status.
- Practice general hygiene safety tips to keep yourself and others safe, such as hand washing, not touching your face, regularly washing your mask, and using hand sanitizer. Clean hands and face help keep the virus from entering your body.
Now that we’ve addressed COVID-19 safety, we want to turn the focus back onto the main reasons why students attend college: to learn and gain experience in their prospective career fields. SUNY has rolled out some newer opportunities for students, in addition to those that have been around for quite some time.
- Interested in early education? SUNY recently announced the expansion of its child care centers, which includes a paid internship program for for students in early childhood degree programs. Not only will this provide invaluable hands-on experience to students, it will also help fill a great need in attracting individuals to help support staff at SUNY campus child care facilities. Check in with your campus child care center for more information.
- Speaking of internships, don’t forget to connect with campus job centers and/or internship coordinators to learn about what other experiential learning opportunities are available on your campus.
- Being a part of the SUNY family means helping out one another, and that’s exactly what it means to be a Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Student Ambassador. Launched this past July, SUNY will designate 20 EOP student ambassadors to mentor other students, create a student EOP support network of EOP students across the SUNY System, advise the Chancellor on strengthening the program, and help recruit more students into EOP. Keep an eye out for more details this fall!
- There are plenty of other job options on our campuses if you’re interested in acting as an ambassador for your school, such as being a tour guide, resident assistant, teacher assistant, etc. Be a community leader!
- Another way to gain experience while helping out your fellow student is to inquire about SUNY’s Student Voices Action Committee, which represents students from every SUNY sector to amplify the collective student voice and expand students’ representation and influence in key discussions and decisions that impact their lives.
- As the semester progresses, you’ll also have the chance to gather information about and join your campus’ Student Government Association, if political science and government affairs is of interest to you.
- On the academic side of things, SUNY schools provide students so many hands-on research and applied learning experiences, ranging from paid research assistant positions, annual research activity days, conference opportunities, and more. We suggest reaching out to your academic advisor and/or faculty in your major to see what’s available for the fall semester.
Classroom Success Tips:
Getting back into the swing of things after summer break can sometimes take a little longer than desired, as students adjust to having assignments to do, classes to attend, and research projects to work on. Here are some tips for making you a more efficient learner and student.
- You’re paying for your education, so make sure you get your money’s worth by attending your classes. Try not to miss classes unless absolutely necessary, because skipping can lead to falling behind in readings and assignments, and you’ll also miss out on the valuable information being shared by your teacher and classmates if you don’t show up.
- For our students who are now living away from home for the first time and don’t have a parent or guardian helping them out with their time management skills, consider using time management tools such as an agenda or planner, or the many smartphone apps that are out there.
- Similar to time management, try your best not to procrastinate or save assignments and studying until the last minute. You can’t rush success!
- Getting to know your professor will be a little different than high school, since you won’t be seeing them as frequently throughout the week. Consider contacting your professors via email before classes start to build a relationship with them.
Student Wellness Tips:
- During orientation and the beginning of the year, be sure to pay attention, take notes, and make the most of the information shared.
- COVID-19 has forced us to be a little less social than we’d like, but there’s still plenty of friends to make and experiences to share. Whether through apps like Zoom or WebEx or many types of outdoor activities, we learned how to safely socialize and do our best to make connections with fellow classmates. Find your own ways to build a group of people you can have fun with and trust.
- If the internship route isn’t right for you just yet, consider getting a job on campus or in the community to add some more expendable income to your wallet.
- Make sure to take advantage of the on-campus resources at your disposal to take care of your overall health. College can be a stressful time for many, but SUNY schools are equipped with counselors, health and wellness services, group therapy, and many other options to holistically tend to your mental health. You can also familiarize yourself with the resources your campus provides to support healthy habits (e.g., campus rec centers, dining hall options, health and wellness promotion centers, etc.).
Returning back to campus is an exciting moment for our students and campus communities. We’re ready to welcome everyone back, and hope that these suggestions and tips will help you set yourself up for success this fall semester!