Author: DeJia Marshall

Social Distancing on Campus

In the early months of this year, the world came to a grinding halt. In the wake of a global pandemic, schools and colleges had to decide how to proceed quickly. Campuses closed their doors, classes made the switch to online to finish out the semester, and students were left in limbo. Some businesses closed their doors, and others shifted into high gear to provide essential goods and services to the public. In the few months of quarantine, we’ve seen significant changes. Now, as we are experiencing a re-opening, we must find a balance between our old way of life and our lessons from quarantine.

No one is quite sure what the next few months will bring. We’d all like to go back to our old lives, but we’ll face certain limitations in the future. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve become familiar with safety procedures that we’ll soon have to apply on a mass scale. You’ll want to know how to mix the crucial parts of social distancing with the return to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

So, how can you navigate life in this post-quarantine world, while preserving the health and safety of yourself and others? Here is some info and a few tips and tricks that will allow you to get back to normal–Or more accurately, adjust to a new normal.

Social Distancing on Campus

What is social distancing?

Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is the practice of stopping or slowing the spread of a virus or other illness by maintaining a distance between yourself and another person to avoid becoming infected or infecting someone else.

What is the distance required for proper social distancing? 

For coronavirus, the proper range for social distancing is six feet, or about two arms’ lengths.

Life with Social Distancing on Campus

Universities are working with these new regulations and guidelines in different ways to ensure the safety of students and staff while still preserving traditional educational structures. How exactly will they be doing this?

Making Some Changes

Many colleges that have decided students will return to campus for the fall semester have chosen to start classes earlier than usual and end them earlier as well. The term will end before Thanksgiving break and students will not return to campus after the holiday. This new end of term date is meant to eliminate travel back and forth to campus surrounding Thanksgiving.

Here’s how one of our eCampus.com partner schools, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is handling their on-campus classes:

  • Early start and end of the semester
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day
  • The college is working to make face coverings available to faculty and staff
  • Each on-site employee can receive two washable coverings to use while on campus

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is also working with their online bookstore management team, Books by eCampus, to ensure students are prepared with the course materials they need by supporting online ordering with ship-to-home and ship-to-campus options.

Some colleges plan to integrate online courses due to social distancing and space limitations. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio intends to make selective accommodations for students with serious health concerns and those who need to self-isolate. Miami is working with its local hospital to develop a system for testing and isolating residential students who may be exposed to the virus in a way to ensure these students can continue their studies in place while protecting other students, faculty, and staff. Books by eCampus has partnered with Miami University since 2017 and will continue to provide flexible textbook ordering and shipping options for students regardless of where they will reside for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Campuses are doing their part to create a hygienic environment for learning. Clark State University will be enforcing physical distancing protocols and procedures for campus locations such as classrooms and libraries, and at outdoor events. The school will also be providing student health services and support, practicing “frequent and aggressive cleaning of facilities and surfaces,” making hand sanitizer available, and placing distancing stickers and health and hygiene messaging around their campus. Students will be asked to follow the Return to Campus Daily Checklist and make the decisions they believe are in the best interest of their fellow students. Having course materials available through their Books by eCampus online bookstore has proven invaluable, allowing students to purchase their professor-selected course materials from the comfort of their homes. 

On-Campus Housing

In the spring, almost all colleges and universities closed their campuses and dorms and made the switch to online learning. Residential students were displaced. Some returned home to their families; others were displaced and left looking for somewhere to stay. But soon, in the fall semester, many colleges and universities plan to reopen their campuses, and with them, the dorms and residence halls. But how will they go about this without repeating the past? What can they do to house their students with minimal risk of an outbreak?

Some campuses plan to subject students to “COVID-19 Screening activities” in order to determine their eligibility for on-campus housing. Some universities will require face coverings in the halls and communal areas of the residence halls (but not in-room or with a roommate, as the room is considered a private or family residence).

Campuses closing on the new end date of the semester will be making accommodations for residential students who cannot depart.

Everyday Personal Health and Safety

In the last few months of quarantine, you’ve probably picked up a thing or two. We all know basic social distancing guidelines, but as we reenter society and trek the uncharted territory of COVID-19-aware college campuses, it’s good to have a reminder. The CDC names six essential steps on “How to Protect Yourself and Others.”

Personal Hygiene

1.) Wash your hands often!

Frequent hand washing is an essential part of staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If you find you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

For the general public, the CDC recommends wearing gloves when cleaning and disinfecting your home or caring for someone who is sick. Gloves are not required for most other tasks, and guidelines for healthcare and work settings differ.

TIP: Many people find it helpful to sing 20-second songs or song fragments while washing their hands. Check out “Being smarter in 2020: Songs to sing while washing your hands,” on Tuscan.com for hand-washing tunes!

2.) Cover coughs and sneezes

Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available to you, use the inside of your elbow. Do not spit. 

Do not cough or sneeze into your hand, openly, or on others. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after sneezing or coughing.

3.) Clean and disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Social Distancing and Virus Protection

4.) Wear a mask!

Wearing a mask is vital to preserving public health. Some cases are asymptomatic, meaning the infected person does not show symptoms or “become” sick. This means anyone could have the virus and be completely unaware, and could unwittingly spread COVID-19 to others. This is why everyone who can wear a face mask should.

Officials recommend wearing a cloth mask (or mask-like covering) when coming within 6-feet of another person, in crowded settings, or generally when leaving your home. For these reasons, it’s safe to assume you should wear masks on campus.

When wearing a mask:

  • Do: Make sure you can breathe through it.
  • Do: Make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
  • Do: Wear it whenever going out in public.
  • Do: Wash your mask after use (if reusable).
  • Do: Continue to wash your hands often.
  • Don’t: Put masks on children under 2 years of age.
  • Don’t: Put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing.
  • Don’t: Put masks on anyone unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
  • Don’t: Use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.
  • Don’t: Reuse disposable masks and respirators.

The CDC strongly advises against using a facemask “meant for a healthcare worker.” This would include N-95 respirators and other surgical masks used by healthcare workers in direct contact with patients. This is likely because of the global mask shortage, which has hit the medical community hard. Healthcare workers need these masks to preserve the health and safety of their patients, as well as themselves, from COVID-19 and other viruses and infectious diseases they may come into contact with in their line of work. The CDC recommends that “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example, to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.”

TIP: Make sure you’ve got it right! Check out The San Francisco Department of Public Health ‘s article, “How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask,” for more on how to safely wear a mask or face covering.

5.) Avoid close contact (Practice Social Distancing)

Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick. It is difficult to know if someone else has contracted the virus, as some people with the virus are asymptomatic (do not show symptoms or “become” sick). Because of this, it is important to try to put distance between yourself and all other people outside of your home. Maintain six feet of space between yourself and others, if possible. Do the same with others in your home if they become sick.

Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Vulnerable people, such as the elderly and people who are immunocompromised, face serious complications with the virus. To protect them and yourself, don’t get too close to others.

6.) Monitor Your Health

Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be challenging to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

What happens next is a big unknown. It is only when everyone does their part that we can feel secure in our efforts. Practice social distancing and follow your school’s rules and guidelines this fall. We’re all in this together. 

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited

  1. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.” World Health Organization. WHO, 2020. Web. 29 Apr. 2020.
  2. Cherney, Kristeen. “Does Wearing a Mask Protect You from the Flu and Other Viruses?Healthline. Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company, 2005-2020. Web. 18 Mar. 2020.
  3. Crawford, Gregory P. “Miami announces plans for fall 2020 return.” Miami University. Miami University, 2020. Web. 5 June. 2020.
  4. Mitchell, Madeline. “Miami University will return to campus for fall, plans to finish classes by Thanksgiving.” Cincinnati.com, The Enquirer. www.cincinnati.com, 2020. Web. 5 June, 2020.
  5. Fall 2020 Semester Information.” University of Massachusetts Amherst. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020. Web.
  6. Cloth Face Coverings Available for UMass Employees.” University of Massachusetts Amherst. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020. Web.
  7. Godoy, Maria. “Yes, Wearing Masks Helps. Here’s Why.” Shots Health News from NPR. NPR, 2020. Web. 21 June. 2020.
  8. Face Coverings Do’s and Don’ts.” Dallas College. Dallas College, 2020.
  9. Not All Face Masks are Created Equal: Know Which Type of Face Mask You Need and When.” Atrium Health. Atrium Health, 2020. Web. 22 April. 2020. 
  10. Chotiner, Isaac. “How to Maintain Social Distance as the U.S. Reopens.” The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 2020. Web. 25 May. 2020.
  11. Preventing the spread of the coronavirus.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard University, 2020. Web. March. 2020.

How to Have a Successful Gap Year

Life after high school can be daunting. The uncertainty and responsibility that comes with newfound adulthood are often trying. After twelve years of school, 2-8 more can be intimidating. Many students need a break from traditional education and want to explore life outside of the classroom. Recently, gap years have become a popular solution to this problem.

What is a gap year?

A gap year is a break students take from their education. Students can take a gap year for financial reasons, as a sabbatical from school, to gain experience, and so on. These breaks can be taken before, after, or during college. Gap years do not have to be an entire calendar year. A gap year can be anywhere from a few months, a semester, a year – any time frame, really.

A productive gap year is really about doing what you want. Pursuing your passion, traveling, gaining work and real-world experience, or just relaxing and recharging; your gap year is yours to do with as you please. Still, it’s also essential to grow during the gap year in preparation for the future.

So, how do you take full advantage of this time? 

What To Do During a Gap Year

Make a Gap Year Plan

Decide what you’ll do during your gap year and make plans on how you can complete tasks and accomplish goals. Think about where you want to go, if anywhere, and what you want to do. Consider what will help you in the future. The best part about this time is that it’s primarily dictated by your own goals.

Determine how you’ll pay for your gap year. A gap year doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find affordable options like seeking job opportunities and paid internships, taking part in financial aid programs, or applying for scholarships.

TIP: For more information on financing a gap year check out these links:

Gap Year After High School? Apply for College & Defer

Even though you are taking a gap year, it’s important to still apply for colleges. When you’ve been admitted into a school, the next step is to request a deferral. A student-requested college admission deferral is a request to delay admission to a college until a later date. You’ll need to defer to hold your place at your future school for after your gap year.

It’s better to request your deferral before accepting your place in the incoming class. There are many reasons for this, such as flexibility–or lack thereof–of educational funding, unforeseen circumstances and changes of plans, etc. The extra time gives you more flexibility for your future, in case your deferral is denied or plans change. Committing to a school before they’ve accepted your deferral can cause confusion and may even cancel your gap year, as the college was not aware of your plans and admitted you on the basis that you would begin classes in the upcoming semester.

TIP: Want to know more about deferring college enrollment? Check out this step-by-step instruction on the deferment process: “How to Defer University Acceptance” – WikiHow

How to Request a Deferral

Every college has different protocols for receiving deferral requests. It’s up to you to find out what requirements your college has for deferral. It’s common to require a deferral request letter – a letter describing how you plan to spend your gap year. It’s up to the college to approve a student’s request for a deferral, so you need to complete all of the necessary actions in order to ensure you’re given consideration.

TIP: Want to write a deferral request letter, but don’t know where to start? Check out The Art of Applying’s blog post, “How to Request an Admissions Deferral.”

Gap Year Ideas

Whether you’re traveling or getting to work, use your time to the fullest. Use this opportunity to gain skills and expand your knowledge. This is the perfect time to do things you’ve always wanted to do, like exploring places, hobbies, and career options.

Gap Year Jobs and & Internships

Consider taking advantage of opportunities to gain first-hand job experience. Interning in areas of interest gives you an in-depth look into what your field of interest has to offer. Getting a job can help you acclimate to the working world while making some money.

TIP: Job opportunities and paid internships are everywhere! Websites like The Intern Group, Glassdoor, and Idealist can help you find employers near you!

Gap Year Programs

For those interested in travel, there is much to observe and learn from other cultures. Study abroad programs help you travel, find work in other countries, and volunteer.

TIP: Study abroad programs are always looking for volunteers and participants! For those looking to spend their gap year outside of the U.S., check out organizations like International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), Projects Abroad, and Pacific Discovery.

Deciding to take a gap year can be an opportunity to explore career opportunities, travel abroad, and take time to reflect and prepare for your next chapter. Gap years are an important step in your academic career that can pave the way for future success. Embrace your decision to take some time for yourself and above all, enjoy the journey!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited

  1. Alwine, Rebecca. “What is a Gap Year & How Do You Take One?Go Overseas. Go Overseas, 2020. Web. 04 Oct. 2019.
  2. How to Take a Gap Year: Financing, Planning and More.” Discover. Discover Bank, Member FDIC, 2020. Web.
  3. Kern, Rebecca. “7 Questions to Ask When Considering a Gap Year.” U.S. News. U.S. News & World Report L.P., 2020. Web. 19 May. 2010.
  4. Flavin, Brianna. “What I Wish Someone Told Me Before Taking a Gap Year.” Rasmussen College. Rasmussen College, LLC., 2020. Web. 06 June. 2016.
  5. Franek, Rob. “Is Taking a Gap Year Before College Right For You?The Princeton Review. TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC., 2020. Web.
  6. Tank, Alisa. “Is Taking a Year Off College the End of the World?GoAbroad.com. GoAbroad.com, 1998. Web. 21 Nov. 2017.
  7. How to Request an Admissions Deferral.” The Art of Applying. The Art of Applying, 2020. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
  8. Gap Year Financial Aid.” Gap Year Association. Gap Year Association, 2020. Web.
  9. Frot, Mathilde. “Seven Ways to Fund a Gap Year.” Top Universities. QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, 1994-2020. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
  10. Blackman, Stacy. “How to Defer University Acceotance.” WikiHow. WikiHow, 2020. Web. 22 Apr. 2020

Tips for Scoring a College Internship

College internships are a competitive element of the college experience. Employers look for the best and brightest to intern with them, and with today’s diverse, capable pool of applicants, there is no shortage of options.

So, how do you find a college internship? Here are six tips on how to best go about scoring an internship near you:

1. Determine your interests.

Get a general idea of what career you plan on working toward, or how or where you think your time would be most well spent. Consider your goals, hobbies, and passions when seeking internships. Get an idea of what you want to be doing and how you can achieve it.

Some college students already know what they’d like to study, while others remain undecided for a time. If you have a career path chosen, an internship that will help you on that road would be the best fit. If you don’t know where you might end up, no worries! Find a subject that interests you and go from there. 

Recognize that some types of internships are more relevant to your goals than others. A music-focused job might be fun and cater to your love of the piano, but if you’re studying psychology, it isn’t likely to help you.

2. How to find an internship.

Think about your major’s requirements. Take into account the credits you may need, the experience you should gain, and the knowledge you’ll need to attain. Keep these in mind during your search.

Do your research. There are plenty of internships that aren’t widely advertised and some that are even based online. Researching open internships related to your area of interest can yield all sorts of results. Check out internships.com for an expansive list of internships in different industries. You can even seek out company-specific internships like Tesla & NBC, or explore industries like mechanical engineering or network engineering internships.

Make a list of potential employers and internships you find. You can also do simple Google searches that include your area of interest + internships + preferred location (ie: Tesla engineering internships in the Baby area, eBay internships in New York City, etc.). How about a Google internship? Prominent companies like Google provide dedicated pages to help guide your internship and career exploration. See Google’s internship page HERE. 

Joining a club or society dedicated to the area you’re interested in can open a world of possibilities, as they tend to post new opportunities and acquaint you with new people. Career fairs and info nights can provide information about different internships and employers. These are all good ways to sort through options and make connections.

3. Ace your internship applications.

Make yourself stand out. Clean up your resume, have references prepared, and find someone to write a letter of recommendation.

Have your application critiqued. You want your application to be as good as possible, so having it reviewed and critiqued by a professional can only improve it. A different perspective can help you find missing pieces and points to revise, which could be the key to your success.

Early application will likely produce better chances of getting an interview, given that most internships take applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Applying early will also make you stand out as someone who takes their work seriously and is a go-getter when it comes to their future.

Submit applications to several potential employers. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket by applying for just one internship. You’ll find yourself disappointed and jobless if it doesn’t work out, and you’ll have a harder time finding new opportunities too late in the game. It’s also a good idea to be open to internships in different locations. Have you always dreamed of living in Chicago but reside in Houston? Search “Chicago Internships” and see what comes up! 

4. Prepare for interviews.

While every interview is different, the questions they ask are similar. Preparing answers to interview questions and mock interviews can give you an idea of what questions you’ll be asked and give you a better feel of an interview to ease your anxieties.

TIP: Wondering what kind of questions you’ll encounter in your interviews? Check out @thebalance’s careers blog post “Sample Internship Interview Questions.”

Research potential employers. The more you know about the company you’re interviewing for, the easier the interview becomes. Most company websites have an About Us page. Know it. Reference it. And be ready to talk about how you can support it. Research can reveal what interviewers are looking for in their candidates based on the company’s beliefs and practices.

Take your research a step further by connecting with employers on LinkedIn. A great networking tip is to seek out your internship hiring manager and introduce yourself through the professional social networking platform. Don’t have a profile? Create one today!

5. Follow up after the interview.

Send a thank-you note to your interviewer(s). You’ll want to do this within 24-hours of your interview. The letter should be short and straightforward, re-establishing your position and showing your gratitude for the opportunity. Invite requests for additional information and further communication in regards to the interview.

Send notes to those who aided you along the way (i.e., upperclassmen, recruiters, etc.). Thank them for their help and update them on how your interview went.

Emails are sufficient, but handwritten notes also work well. If you plan to write a handwritten note, be sure that it will arrive within two days of the interview.

TIP: Want to write a thank-you note but don’t know where to start? For examples and how-to’s on writing follow-up notes, check out:

6. Make a choice.

If you get accepted for an internship or multiple internships, really think about what this new job will entail. Decide which option best suits you, and whether or not you genuinely plan to pursue it.

It’s okay if you don’t get picked for your first choice. Any internship in the area of your choice is sure to give you experience. Remember that internships are about the skills you develop and the perspective you gain. Take the best chance given to you and do your best!

Internships are a significant part of the college experience. Landing an internship can put you ahead in your studies and provide real-world experience that you can’t get from a lecture. Follow these steps to improve your chances of getting that internship you wanted and move a step closer to reaching your goals.

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited