University of South Florida


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Managing Time and Stress During Remote Learning

As the coronavirus outbreak has meant a transition to remote learning for students, it is understandable that you may be finding it difficult to manage your time and stress. Learning from home can bring with it many distractions, altering your daily routine and testing your patience.

Although physically closed, the University of South Florida’s Counseling Center will continue to provide essential mental health services to students online. The Counseling Center will also be providing daily, online group sessions to assist students in managing the psychological and emotional effects of the coronavirus.

Students are encouraged to take action in order to effectively cope with the feelings that may accompany this disruption. To initiate services or get more information about appointments and availability, call USF’s Counseling Center at 813-974-2831 or visit the center’s website.

USF's Success and Wellness Coaching is also offering remote sessions. The coaching program is designed to help students create short-term action-oriented plans, aimed at improving health, wellness, time management, relationships and more. Students interested in learning more about Success and Wellness Coaching can visit their website or send an email to

Below, USF Succes and Wellness Coach, Shaun Richardson, shares a few tips on how members of the USF community can manage their anxiety and workload during the time away from campus.

1.     Address the “I don’t knows”

We are often steeped in a space of “I don’t know”. There are many “I don’t knows” as we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Moving ourselves into an action-oriented mindset often starts with the question “What can I do to learn more?” Perhaps the answer is visiting websites and news sources as you look for information and clarity. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by narrowing these sites and sources down to just a few. Too much information can obscure our decision-making skills and make it difficult to gather confidence.

2.     Be realistic about maintaining your routine

Maintain a routine. If you normally wake up at a certain time, try to keep waking up at that time. If you regularly exercise, find a way to build some sort of physical activity into your current schedule. However, an important part of action planning is being realistic about the present. Moving back home from campus may introduce challenges that were not present while on campus. Know what these challenges and changes are and write them down. Once they are in front of you, you can begin planning ways to address them.

3.     Stay patient

This may be the most frustrating advice that you will receive but being patient with yourself is crucial to managing stress. Much of what is happening is a new frontier for our students, faculty and staff. It will take trial and error to truly begin to understand new ways of implementing your goals and completing the activities that were once a part of your standard routine while on campus. A necessary part of success and growth is learning from one’s attempts.

4.     Take charge of time

For many of us, being away from campus will make days feel a little bit longer than usual. Things may feel more fluid and you may find that you have “more time” on your hands. While this can be overwhelming, you are encouraged to create and impose your own deadlines, design schedules that truly work with your day and set priorities dictated by you. Perhaps now you can finally begin your day with a home workout, meditation or simply sitting in silence. Another route may be starting your day by focusing on academics, devoting the end of your day to activities that promote well-being.

It can feel tempting to submit to a “hustle culture” mindset, which encourages us to maximize every minute of our day. Instead, you should use your own judgment and discernment to make realistic priorities and goals for yourself. Try creating and writing down achievable daily goals for yourself. These do not have to be tremendously difficult projects that you have always procrastinated on, they can be as reasonable as reading a chapter of your textbook, cleaning the kitchen or calling a friend. Explore what your version of manageability is and go with it.

5.     Get creative with your learning

There will be many students who find online learning challenging, which is why they opted for in-person lectures in the first place. This is understandable as we all have our own preferred methods of learning. Consider this a good time to explore new methods that will help make your transition to remote learning a little smoother. Identify some podcasts or informational YouTube channels that focus on idea generating, concept building or academia in general.

USF continues to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority.
For the latest update regarding remote instruction and university operations, please visit
For answers to frequently asked questions, visit

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