How to Deal with the Unexpected: Advice for Next Year

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At the time I am writing this, we don’t fully know how next year will look. Even when we receive information from the university it is clear that they don’t know what the next year will bring. The university can’t know what next year will be like, they are in the same boat as us. What happens next year depends on the government’s guidelines and that depends on what happens with coronavirus. So basically, anything could happen. This might be a thought that scares you, but hopefully this article will provide you some methods to help you cope with the academic changes that might be in place next year.

With the current one metre plus rule it seems unlikely that lectures will be happening in the way we know them – the university barely has enough lecture theatre space for everyone at the moment, let alone lecture theatres that can contain a large number of people with a one metre space between them. And this is just one of many things which has the potential to be different next year.

Adapting to change is hard, especially with short notice. Hence, here are three tips to help you approach studying at Lancaster next year with the best mindset.

Be Flexible with Your Expectations

This first one might sound glaringly obvious but hear me out. Going into next year knowing that teaching could be online, in person or some variation of the two is a great starting point to approaching the year positively. If you visualise all the different ways next year could pan out, then whatever happens won’t be able to affect you or shake you up in the same way it would if it was completely unexpected.

Make Adaptable Plans

On a similar note, it is important to take this flexible approach into your plans. As everything could change at any moment it is important to make sure your plans and expectations can be adapted. If you have plans for all possible situations, then you won’t have to quickly come up with a solution that doesn’t work for you. For example, if you typically type up your notes in an in-person lecture you might have to quickly adapt your note-taking method if your lecture is moved online at short notice – you might need to use your laptop to watch the lecture rather than typing. This could be solved in a variety of ways, for example, you could use a split screen, you could watch the lecture on a tablet/phone, or you could handwrite your notes. All the possible options might not present themselves in the heat of the moment so planning in advance is a great way to cope.

Focus on What Won’t Change

Even if teaching may be different, other things will stay the same. We will still be able to see our friends; we will still be able to be in Lancaster, and we will still be able to work towards getting our degrees. Focusing on what is unable to change and the things that you have control over enables you to realise that next year won’t be completely negative, most of the good stuff from the past years will still be present!

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