Notes from Webinar on "Caring for Ourselves and Our Students" during Covid-19

Published: Mon., March 30, 2020

On March 19th, the UNL Women’s Coalition hosted a seminar entitled “Caring for Our Students and Ourselves”. A few of our team members were able to attend the meeting, and wanted to share some of the insights that were discussed as many within the UNL community transition to a new work environment. Many graduate students are in a unique situation where you are balancing course work with other obligations such as research, teaching, or working. If you feel that you need additional support during this time, we strongly encourage you to contact either UNL Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or Big Red Resilience and Well-being. While the physical offices are closed, both are providing remote support for all UNL students. If you need to speak with someone immediately, crisis services are available 24/7 at 402-472-7450.

As we all begin to navigate the changes surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, we know that graduate students are experiencing many changes all at once. Here are some of the notes from the meeting that we felt graduate students might find beneficial:

During this time of transition, these are some things to consider for your own piece of mind:

  • Recognize your own limits on information. Consider how much can we take in at once? (both for you and others)
  • Give yourself permission to not be perfect! We are all learning how to juggle many new challenges right now, and there will be an adjustment period. It’s ok to acknowledge that we’re still learning and figuring this out.
  • Giving other people the same leniency to adjust to a new routine.
  • Use technology to maintain social community. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and other platforms are a great way to connect with family and friends during distancing. Think of it as physical distancing, not social distancing. You need your community now more than ever!
  • Find the positives. Follow a cute animal on social media, send your friends a silly meme or write your parents a letter letting them know you are thinking about them.
  • Go for a walk around the block (if you are able to follow physical distancing guidelines and local regulations) to take a break from things if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Keep a routine. This can help you adjust to this new situation and feel in control of your day. Make sure you schedule time for self-care, such as physical activities and meditation.
  • If you don’t practice regular self-care, now is a great time to start! Pick one or two things to try and see what works for you.
  • As you communicate with others in the UNL community, remember that it’s ok to share how you’re feeling with them. Talking about our feelings helps us all understand that a lot of people are learning how to cope with new emotions right now, which in turn can help us feel less isolated.

If you are feeling apprehensive right now, you are not alone. After speaking with staff, faculty and students across campus, some common concerns students have included:

  • Financial concerns
  • Mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being
  • Changes to housing situation
  • Switching to online classes- both as a student and instructor
  • Losing support communities
  • What to do about internships/field placements
  • Offices are overwhelmed with the transition and I can’t find answers
  • International students might face additional challenges when thinking about staying in Lincoln or going home. How will the current situation affect things like visas and OPT?

There are many resources on campus to help you with these concerns. UNL has a 2019 Novel Coronavirus Response page that is updated regularly, and addresses topics of academics and deadlines, remote learning, health and support services, student housing and facilities, and research and internships. The Office of Graduate Studies also has a COVID-19 Response page dedicated to additional questions graduate students might have at this time.