How to Survive College During a Pandemic

College life 2020

What does college life look like in 2020? A lot different than we expected it to…

As a new semester commences, some students have decided to stay at home here in Frisco either to save money on housing or to pay lower tuition at Collin College. Some students have elected to make it a gap year, while others have decided to head off to campus, where a less-than-normal college experience awaits them.

2020 College Life At-a-Glance

Shari Straley, parent of a sophomore at Abilene Christian University, described a unique situation for her son Brad’s return to college. Brad wasn’t assigned a roommate. “He’s allowed to eat [with friends] at The Bean (a dining hall at ACU), but having visitors in his dorm room would cause him to get fined.”

Sadly, this limits a student’s ability to network and meet new friends, typically a large part of the college experience.

leader student

Kade Mcdonald, a student at the University of Texas-Dallas, shares his perspective of the school year so far: “This semester would be best summarized as anticlimactic. After a summer of missing friends and the campus culture, we’ve arrived at a fall semester with next to none of that.”

During a difficult season of life for our entire world, many college students are feeling a lot like Kade. They patiently waited, hoping that college life this fall would bring with it a sense of normalcy when it in fact hasn’t yet. 

Adaptability and Flexibility

Leah Rubio, a Masters Student at Trinity University in San Antonio, described the semester as “very different,” as you “have to be ready to adapt to your situation as schools could potentially close and classes could move online.”

Adaptability and flexibility are good words to describe this school year when students must constantly adjust to the changes in their environments. Collin College has shown its ability to adjust to the shared, new reality. All campuses are open and ready to serve students virtually, blended, or in-person.


Students who prefer the flexibility of an online class, but also want the support offered by in-person classes, can choose Collin’s hybrid courses. These classes combine online and on-campus instruction, meeting in the classroom once a week and spending the remaining class time online. This seems to be a great option for students, providing a safer option for students who prefer in-person instruction.

UNT student Yusra Fatima, also a front desk worker at UNT Inspire Park in Frisco, feels that her school has done a great job of providing reassurance and resources:

“UNT has prioritized their students’ health and education by making classes remote this semester and offering the Zoom platform to communicate with our advisors and other offices. Another way that UNT has helped students during COVID-19 crisis is by giving out the COVID-19 CARE AWARD to thousands of students in need who were on the edge of dropping out from college – like myself.”

5 Helpful Tips to Survive College Life in 2020

In anticipation of the constant changes that college may bring this year, consider these tips for success:

1. Use a planner. Using a planner is a smart idea whether you’re doing college in the middle of a pandemic or not — but now more than ever, it’s important to organize your entire semester. This will help you stay on top of things in the midst of a busy semester, and if circumstances change along the way.

2. Form a study group. Again, this would be important even if you weren’t in this unique situation… This year, however, it’s extremely important that you form study groups for your classes. It will help with the communication and execution of your assignments and will provide you with at least a glimpse of the healthy social environment that is otherwise difficult to find during this “very different” semester. 

3. Constantly change your environment. Doing your schoolwork in the same place over and over again can get really mundane. I’d recommend switching up your work environment daily, or even as often as switching places in between classes. Use this as a time to explore coffee shops, parks, or other study spaces in the area.

4. Maintain your hobbies. Take some time each day to do something that you love. It’s important, now more than ever, to be intentional about using your hobbies as a stress reliever. Pursuing other interests will allow you to escape from the difficulties of the times that we’re in, and the pressures of college work. 

5. Check on each other. Parents, check on your college students a little bit more often this school year than you normally might do. Mainly, because this is a very unique semester, and it could take an emotional toll on your child. Students, check on your friends. Make sure they aren’t feeling lonely or overwhelmed with these unprecedented circumstances.