Social Distancing image

We asked Jade, our former MyStory volunteer, and UAlbany Exchange student from China, about her experience with physical/social distancing and whether she had some advice for her peers across the ocean. Here is what she had to say.

medical tools imageRecently, the coronavirus outbreak has taken over everyone’s life with breaking news, updates, stock market alerts, and panicked public health announcements.

As for many students, schools have been closed, and classes will be conducted remotely until the situation gets better. How do you feel about this unprecedented opportunity to study at home for such a long time period?

Wow cannot wait to eat hot Cheetos in my bed while having classes online.

Will I be infected and die?

What about the homework and exams?
What about the graduation ceremony?

There are so many questions one may have. While schools may have answers to some of them, many students may not be comforted because, the real challenge will begin after the spring break. So much is unknown until it is experienced.

Image: Jade
Meet Jade.

Many of you probably have not studied at home for a long time – at least not full-time. Some of you may have never taken an online course.  So, How does one maintain focus, motivation, and joy when studying under quarantine or social distancing?


As a student who has been studying at home for nearly two months due to the COVID-19, I must say, I had no idea how to study solely at home? I am a very social person. How could this be possible? During these past two months, I personally experienced huge changes in my emotion, from being extremely happy and confident to struggling with online classes, to feeling “school-sick,” lonely, and finally  I learned how to handle this new home-study-life style.

Here are five tips that might be useful for you, based on what I have learned:

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  1. Change your location.

A warm bed or soft couch sounds like a cozy place to spend a day at home, right? But these are actually not good places for studying! Try to set up your dedicated “classroom”  space first. It can be a reading room in your house (if available), or any place that is free from distraction and noises in your home. Put away snacks, phones, and pets. Basically, act like you are in the real classroom at school. Also, make sure you have the correct equipment, access to key networks ,and the online teaching platform for your school. In that way, it can send the signal to your brain that this place is for studying not for fun.

Do you or your friends have
limited or no internet access?
Many cable companies are offering free
internet service for students in need.
Contact your provider. 

UAlbany Students: Check Your E-mails.
If you have accessibility issues,
a help desk advisor is available to assist you.

  1. sweaters imageChange your clothes.

Wearing pajamas all day at home might be comfortable, but it could also discourage you from working and studying efficiently! Staying at home for a long time can become boring because people are likely to live the same way, every day. Why not refresh yourself by putting on a different outfit and start, brand-new,  every day? Also, some classes may require students to turn on their camera on Zoom or whatever videoconferencing service they may use.

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  1. Set up your schedule.

Studying at home means that there is no requirement to go to a physical classroom, but you should still maintain a good schedule. It is highly recommended that to write down your class schedule and exam due dates. Put this schedule up somewhere noticeable, like the door of your room. It can remind you as well as your family, if you live with them. If you live with others, make sure they know when you are going to have an exam, presentation, or synchronous, class at home. Otherwise, while you are working on a hard question, your grandma might just break in and shout out “Hey boy, it’s a great day to plow my backyard. Let’s go!”

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  1. Don’t forget to communicate.

You might have dreamt about working from home one day, but home quarantine is another story. An extended period of tele-work will probably make you feel isolated from your classmates, friends, and professors. But don’t let it affect your mental health! Call someone or Facetime, tell them what’s going on, and how are you doing with this new lifestyle. Closing your door does not mean closing your mind. If there is any problem during your online studies, do not forget to stay in touch with the faculty for help. For example, try to schedule a virtual, office hour meeting with your professor or academic advisor, and share your thoughts!

Stressed Out. Need Support?
Our UAlbany Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
is here to help you online!
Click Here For Details.

garden image

  1. Stay balanced.

Sitting at home and studying can lead to longer inactive hours than you typically experience at school. If most outdoor activities have been canceled, then we can keep up our spirits by ourselves! Plan some time to stand up for indoor work-outs and move your body. After you are done with today’s work on your schedule, relax yourself by doing something you like. (e.g. reading a favorite book or watching a film) On the other hand, this is also a rare opportunity to stay close with your families. Mind that quarreling might begin if your new close proximity to them gets in the way of effective communication. Talk with them or help them by doing something to show your love. For example, you can help your grandma do the gardening.

around the world holding hands image

We cannot change the inevitable, but “life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how we react to it” (Quote from Charles R. Swindoll).

Gather your courage and face whatever comes ahead.  Let us believe that although, today is difficult and tomorrow may be much more difficult, the day after tomorrow will be very beautiful.


Jade Hu Headshot


Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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