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Sustaining Productivity During COVID-19: How to Stay Connected During Times of Isolation

This article originally appeared in the AACTE Holmes Bulletin e-newsletter.

Graduate students all across the nation are adjusting to new academic schedules and research timelines as a result of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Students have contemplated many questions about how to be productive, and how to recharge and refocus their energy as they continue to pursue their academic goals. Below are some tips to help our Holmes students cope during this crisis.

Weekly Check-Ins: Checking in on family and friends is always a good idea. However, instead of asking general questions like “How are you today?”, ask specific and detailed questions that will offer support or solutions. For example, “Are there any tasks this week that I can help you with?” Counselor education students at University of Central Florida have been hosting weekly check-ins with other first-year Holmes students in an effort to build strong communities of practice during the pandemic.

“Leave the Roads; take the trails”- Pythagoras: This may sound cliché’ but going outside actually does help to restore your energy. When trying to refocus your thoughts, it’s good practice to take a step outdoors, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Take in the scenery and listen to the sounds of nature. Taking photos of nature is also a good way to shift your energy. Of course, keep in mind the importance of practicing safe social distancing while you’re taking in the beautiful sights of nature.

Nakisha WhittingtonKeep Calm and Keep Going:  Although our generation is living in strange and unusual times, we must remember that previous generations overcame health pandemics like the influenza in 1918 and other infectious diseases that followed. We have also witnessed the epidemic of the Ebola virus in 2014. Yes, it’s okay to feel anxious, but instead of dwelling on the challenges, look for opportunities to uplift and serve others. Take for example, Diana Gallardo, doctoral student in Counselor Education and Supervision at Penn State University (pictured), who says, “Using my counselor license to provide support to first responders in other countries is one thing I’m working towards during this time, I think it’s important to get involved and find ways to help those in need all over the world.”

Gallardo adds, “Staying in touch with other Holmes Scholars, and taking pictures of nature have honestly been so soothing for me during this time.”

We hope that you find these strategies to be helpful as you find ways to increase your productivity during this challenging time.

Nakisha Whittington is a doctoral student at The Pennsylvania State University and the AACTE Holmes Council historian.