How to adapt to university life in unusual times


The current pandemic that is sweeping the world doesn’t mean that student life needs to be put on hold. Instead, it simply means that you must adapt to what is an extraordinary period in your life. Now more than ever it’s important to look after your educational prospects, as well as your physical health, mental well-being and social activity. Simple steps such as sticking to a routine, keeping in touch and making the most of online technology can ensure you will have a productive year at university.

We have compiled a list of some of the best steps you can take to help you adapt to university life in these unusual times.

Stick to a routine

Routines are essential in helping us to lead a positive life. Sticking to a routine can help you build good habits all in the aid of working towards a goal, increasing productivity and improving mental well-being. When universities reopen in September, you may find yourself studying away from campus more often than usual. We recommend that you set small goals every day and familiarise yourself with a routine. Avoid falling into the trap of allowing a lack of motivation to take over. Go about your day as if you are heading outside by waking up early, grabbing some breakfast and getting dressed. You may have more time to spare due to less commuting, but make the most of this time rather than wasting it.

Outside of hours where attendance is required, such as live lectures, allocate a study time that suits you best. Some people find that they are more productive in the morning while others are the polar opposite and prefer studying at night. Try not to overwhelm yourself by multi-tasking, but instead focus on one project at a time. A daily routine doesn’t just involve studying, however. Make time to re-energise and reward yourself with entertainment, time with friends and family, and food breaks.

Tidy up your space

You may now find that the space you call home is also the place you spend most of your time studying. With face-to-face teaching and libraries becoming limited, time spent studying away from university buildings will no doubt increase. You should aim to choose a dedicated study space and make this a comfortable place to work. Tidy up the space so that it looks clean and organised, and will allow you to be productive. If possible, avoid your bed and other areas that you associate with relaxation and leisure, as well as communal areas that may cause distractions.

The current lockdown restrictions mean that you no longer need to stay at home as much as possible. As long as you continue practising social distancing and stick to the guidelines, you can adopt a change of scenery to freshen up your study time. Studying outside in the garden, heading to the local park on a sunny day or visiting a quiet cafe are popular choices. Whether studying indoors or outdoors, there are several ways you can make the environment more relaxing. Make use of soothing music, calming scents and cool temperatures to keep you fully focussed and productive.

Make use of online technology

This point is perhaps one of the most important ways in which students will have to adapt in the forthcoming academic year. Virtual teaching is set to become more common due to the regulations that are in place discouraging gatherings of large groups at any one time. A large portion of lectures, workshops and assessments are now expected to take place online, and some courses may even choose to fully move their modules to a virtual environment. Before you embark on your first day of the new academic year, make sure that you have the equipment and software required to make the most of your studies. Consider any technical mishaps that may occur such as poor wi-fi, computer crashes and inability to speak or hear sound where required.

There will undoubtedly be advantages and disadvantages to this way of teaching, but it’s up to you to make the most of it. Remember to fully divert your attention and don’t forget to take notes. If a teaching session has been recorded, consider watching it back as part of your studying, but don’t use this as an excuse to not fully engage during the live activity. Chances are you will be used to having access to resources through an online portal, but now you can expect this to increase further. It remains possible that more online assessments will take place as an alternative to in-person exams.

Live a healthy lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle should always be a priority, but in these current times, it’s especially essential to get into a fit and healthy state. With less walking required and limited places to visit on a daily basis, your physical health can suffer as a result. Try and go for regular walks and runs in your local park, or sign-up to a gym when it re-opens. There are also more online resources than ever before for engaging in a home workout. Alongside exercise, mediation and yoga are also extremely effective in relaxing your body and relieving stress. Strenuous physical activity isn’t the only thing that can keep you in shape. Take regular breaks from studying or procrastinating to get involved in another activity and keep your body moving.

Avoid eating junk food and overindulging in snacks just because you have more time at home. Now is a great time to pay closer attention to what you eat and focus on mastering your kitchen skills by cooking healthy recipes. Don’t drink too much alcohol, especially while studying, and stick to a routine of getting a good night’s sleep.

Stay in touch

In some way or another, we’ve all had to adapt to staying in touch with our loved ones over the past few months and this has involved making the most of online technology. If there’s one positive thing we can take from the pandemic, it’s a better appreciation for social connectivity. Physical connections may be limited but this doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself emotionally. Stay in touch with your friends, family and classmates regularly by simply calling, messaging or video chatting. You may even wish to make it a daily or weekly occurrence at the same time, and make some fun out of it such as hosting a virtual quiz night.

Social interactions are one of the most important parts of the student lifestyle. Physical gatherings, including face-to-face lectures, are still possible as long as health guidelines are followed. That said, you may wish to use this as an opportunity to improve how you interact with your fellow classmates. For instance, you could arrange a virtual group chat to take place regularly where you could discuss ideas together and share notes on the course’s content. Student unions, clubs and societies will largely still be available, although altered to reflect health guidance. If you are feeling particularly lonely, there are several online sources available to meet people with similar interests, and the university’s well-being team will be able to offer support and advice.

How Liverpool universities are adapting

We have rounded up some of the current guidelines that Liverpool universities have announced about how they will continue to operate and measures they’ve put in place to keep students and staff safe. This is a fast-moving situation so be sure to keep yourself updated regularly on any changes your university announces over the next few weeks and months.

University of Liverpool

  • The university is planning to return in October for most students – a Foundation Week is planned for the first week of the month which will provide students with the skills and knowledge required to get the most out of their academic year
  • While the university is still planning exactly how it will open for the new academic year, they have reassured students that measures will be in place to keep them safe and to meet public health guidelines, including the following:
    • Hybrid of face-to-face lectures/laboratories and virtual teaching
    • Reduced volumes of students at any one time
    • One-way routes throughout campus
    • Socially distanced study spaces in libraries
    • Increased hygiene procedures
    • Washable face coverings provided to students
    • Free COVID-19 testing with results provided within 24 hours
  • Graduation has been postponed until next summer and an online celebration is scheduled to take place instead. A decision is yet to be made about graduations that are due to take place in December.
  • If you have any concerns about your well-being, you can contact the university via advice@liv.ac.uk or 0151 795 1000

Liverpool John Moores University

  • The university has announced plans to return in September with an Active Blended Learning approach – combining online and face-to-face teaching across multiple platforms to encourage active participation, plus ensuring no interruptions occur as a result of further lockdowns
  • Measures that the university will be taking to ensure the safety of students and staff include:
    • Personal timetables outlining when students are expected on campus and allocated timeslots for visiting libraries and personal tutors
    • One-way systems with clearly marked directions to encourage social distancing
    • Marshals positioned throughout campus to offer assistance
    • Umbrellas temporarily provided if students are required to queue in the rain (they will be thoroughly cleaned once returned)
    • Mandatory face coverings when on campus – students will be provided with a reusable face mask
    • Increased cleaning rotas, and cleaning materials and hand sanitisers positioned throughout campus
    • No international placements in the first semester
    • Any payments must be made with a bank card as opposed to cash
  • Several support services are currently working online, including the careers service, and the university and student’s union on working on how best to arrange social activities and events, including a unique Freshers’ experience
  • Graduation has been postponed for this year and additional ceremonies will take place in 2021. Students due to graduate in 2020 will have a special online celebration with details to be revealed soon.
  • Students with any issues about their health and safety can contact the well-being team on studentengagement@ljmu.ac.uk or 0151 231 3664

Hope University

  • The university has not yet fully outlined how it will return when the new academic year begins, but the preference remains to return to face-to-face teaching when safe to do so, including a mixed model of face-to-face and online delivery if required – a Coronavirus Working Group has been set up to ensure minimal disruption
  • A range of online services are currently still available, including mental health support, careers service, learning support and online library resources
  • Graduations due to take place this summer have been rescheduled for October and December but this may change depending on government guidelines
  • Concerns about your health and well-being can be raised with the student support team at sdw@hope.ac.uk or 0151 291 3427

The past few months have been challenging for every single one of us. However, society is slowly opening up to embrace a new sense of normality. While things may be different for a while, it’s important to see the positivity in the changes that we will have to adapt to and understand why they are in place. When catching up with friends at a local pub or restaurant, getting your long-awaited hair and beauty treatment or losing some lockdown weight at the gym, be patient and supportive of the steps that businesses are taking to keep you safe.

Finally, keep doing your part to keep yourself, your family, your friends and your community safe. Wash your hands regularly, wear a face mask in enclosed public spaces, maintain social distancing where possible, and self-isolate if you begin to show symptoms.

At Luxury Student Homes, we are still open and ready to help you move into your perfect student home in Liverpool. Please find out more about the COVID-19 measures that we currently have in place to keep yourself and our staff safe. If you are still looking for student accommodation for the forthcoming academic year or planning ahead for 2021/22, view our available properties.