I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

With the past few weeks being filled with high school graduations, students and parents alike are realizing that the inevitable fall semester is arriving faster than they expected. However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it appears that colleges and universities will be making changes to adjust to what we’ve begun to know as the “new normal”. As a rising senior in college, I’m preparing for what my senior fall semester is going to look like, and I’ve found five items that I think any and every college student could benefit from having on the new versions of their campuses

Customizable Mask

COVID-Related Things Your College Student Will Need This Fall

 

You can’t drive around your town or walk into any building without seeing at least one person wearing a mask. In fact, some states like Massachusetts have even made it illegal to walk around outside without having a mask on your face. For students, in-person classes may require you to wear a mask, so why not have one that also promotes school spirit? With Just Customized’s Reusable Customizable Mask, students can do just that. The polyester/spandex blend makes for a comfortable, breathable mask that’s made right here in the United States. It’s washable, reusable, and perfect for students who don’t want to wear a boring mask when sitting in their lecture halls. Buy here: https://amzn.to/2YtdMj5

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer for college

As we all learned at the beginning of the pandemic, hand sanitizer can be hard to come by which is unfortunate considering it’s been rather crucial during this time. When on a college campus, students can come into contact with a number of things, so with PURA D’OR Cruelty Free, Non-Toxic, American-made hand sanitizer, students can be prepared to rid their hands of any germs they stumble into during their daily-life. Plus, with a two-pack, students can keep one in their backpack at all times, and the other in their dorm room so they’re always ready to sanitize. Buy here: https://amzn.to/3hxkqxs

 

Multi-Surface Cleaning Spray

Multi-surface cleaning spray for college

When it comes to college surfaces, they can be quite dirty after being touched by so many students. One important item to have in your dorm room at all times, is multi-surface cleaning spray. Whether it’s for your bedroom, kitchen, common room or bathroom, to avoid contact with COVID-19, it’s necessary to be maintaining a clean space. With Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner Spray, students can ensure that their living space is clean and COVID-free constantly. This lavender scented Cruelty-Free spray is perfect for keeping those surfaces clean. Buy here: https://amzn.to/2MRdsF8

Food Containers

 

Food containers to take to college

Dining halls are a huge part of the college experience. They’re filled with pre-made food, they’re social and they’re often scattered throughout campus, making them easy and accessible. However, they’re also crowded, filled with students who need something to eat or a place to study. During this “new normal” students may choose to eat their food elsewhere, whether that be outside where it’s safer, or in their dorm room where they feel more comfortable. With Freshware Reusable Food Containers, students can still get their food from the dining hall but have the ability to bring it somewhere else to eat. These containers are microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe, and are reusable, stackable and leak-resistant. Students will get the food they want while avoiding large crowds. Buy here: https://amzn.to/37pXs6A

 

Shower Caddy

Shower caddy for college dorm

One thing that most college freshmen can look forward to is communal bathrooms. When using suchbathrooms, it’s important to utilize a shower caddy. During this “new normal”, students should be careful to protect their shower items from coming in contact with other people using the communal bathrooms. With Handy Laundry’s Dorm Shower Caddy, the items stay covered in the easiest way possible. Plus, the caddy can also fold flat for storage, making it perfect for packing. Made of porous and durable nylon mesh, this shower caddy can go straight into the shower. Buy here: https://amzn.to/2UEUyFT

 

 

While this “new normal” may seem overwhelming, it’s important to remember that companies are pushing products to make it easier for you. Regardless of where your student may be going off to school, their safety is most important, but that doesn’t mean that college can’t be fun and enjoyable. Stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy your fall semesters!

 

 

 

My daughter is graduating high school this year and for her, like so many other kids, it’s a far cry from what they imagined their senior year would look like.  Let’s face it – it sucks!  My heart breaks for the memorable events she’s missing, and I would do anything to make it better.

But as I was talking to a friend the other day, I realized a few things.  This group of seniors, whether they realize it or not,  have learned some incredibly important life lessons that will carry them far. They will be different that the Classes before them and will ultimately shape the future.  And I believe that these life lessons are way more important than any lessons they would have learned in school these past few months.

They’ve learned resiliency.  They’ve had to deal with disappointment and adapt to uncertainty.  For years now we’ve been bemoaning the generation of entitled kids, those who receive a trophy win or lose and are sheltered from setbacks. Not this group.

They’ve learned to enjoy the present moment. They didn’t know that the last day they were in school might be the final time they’re all together as a class. They will appreciate every game, competition and even party because it truly might be the last.

They’ve learned that social connections in real life are important.  For a group that spends hours Facetiming, texting, Snapchatting and living online the thing our Seniors are missing the most is spending time with their friends.  Sure, missing prom or the last day BBQ is disappointing but more than anything they simply want to be with their group of friends before they head off to college.

They’ve learned self-discipline.  Distance learning has forced kids to focus on their assignments in ways they never had to before. Without a teacher standing in front of them distractions are plenty. They will most likely be the pioneers of a generation that has less face time with supervisors and can work more productively and efficiently virtually.

They’ve learned to not take things for granted.  Just a few months ago they were shopping at the mall with their friends, going to a movie and hanging out at Starbucks and didn’t give it a second thought.  Yes, we’re a privileged society and the  Class of 2020 will recognize that more than most.  They’ve also spent more time with their siblings and parents playing games, walking the dog, making cookies and just sitting outside than most kids.  And they’ll probably tell you it’s not that bad.

This is most certainly a year they’ll be telling their kids about.  There will be stories of missed events and disappointments but hopefully there will also be stories of life lessons that changed them forever.

Am I the only woman out there who’s sleep pattern is completely wrecked by this quarantine? For those of us who are used to living by a schedule and keeping our family’s life running smoothly this is completely screwing us up.

Or is it?

I’m a firm believer in the universe providing teachable moments that allow us to re-adjust. OK, this is more than just a moment – it’s a giant time-out.

I think most of us needed it for various reasons but for those of us who are caregivers, moms and entrepreneurs one of the lessons might just be to ease up.

As is typical of me, I started out this quarantine with a game plan – and my trusty white board.  Afterall, I work from my home office regularly, how different could this be?

I started lists of projects my teenagers could help me with when they were done with online school.  I assigned cooking, spring cleaning and activities with their brother Spencer who has intellectual disabilities.  Spencer was my greatest challenge.  He attends a day program and routine is critical for many people with intellectual disabilities.  I planned exercise time, drawing, Facetime with his friends and “some” TV.

I also had to plan what to do about my mom who lives with us.  As with many people from her generation, she likes to go to the grocery store every day rather than do a big shopping.  She also visits my aunt in a nursing home daily.  I had recently convinced her to start doing an exercise class at the senior center a few times per week.  Even though she lives with us she has her own schedule and I was nervous about her becoming isolated.  And so, I factored her into my plans as well.  We would have game nights and I would take walks with her and look through old photos.

Then there was date time with my husband to consider.  Greg has Primary Progressive MS and uses a power chair so our dates usually consisted of going to the movies or out to dinner with friends.  Clearly that was now out of the question.  I envisioned some quiet dinners alone – which I didn’t think through given that there was nowhere for the rest of the family to go during these quiet dinners!

I even factored in my own changes.  Rather than going to the gym I’d do classes online.  I already practiced yoga at home so throwing in some cardio and weight training would be easy.

And then the first day of quarantine happened.

It felt like a snow day with the kids home.  Rather than waking up at my normal 5:30A and meditating I found myself shutting off the alarm and sleeping until 7.  I rationalized that since the girl’s didn’t have to head off for school I’d still have extra time before they got up.  Spencer turned on the TV the minute he woke up.  I figured it was the first day and I wanted to get into the new routine so I’d let it slide.  My friends and I started texting about how crazy the world was becoming and before I knew it, it was 10:30.  I started thinking about what I was going to make for our first big family dinner.  If it was our normal routine the girls would be at cheer practice and wouldn’t be home for dinner.  Now suddenly I was faced with the prospect of making dinner for six people EVERY NIGHT.

By now it was 2P and I needed to buckle down and work.  I couldn’t take the time to walk the girls through the chores I wanted them to do and they were more than happy to spend the entire afternoon watching Tik Toks.  By 4P I realized that I hadn’t gotten a workout in so I tuned in to a live Zumba session on Instagram.  I quickly learned that to do an exercise class that required me to watch an instructor on my tiny phone is virtually impossible.  By 5P my son wanted to help with dinner which is wonderful, but he can’t do this without supervision so any chance of catching up on work was gone.  When dinner was done all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and watch Netflix.  The idea of family game night went completely out the window. Instead baking cookies seemed like a much better idea.

And so, my carefully planned out day resulted in me sleeping in, working too little, eating too much and my kids glued to their devices. Even worse I was wide awake until midnight – something unheard of for me. Which threw me off schedule again the following morning. I could see a vicious cycle beginning and was stressed out how to make it better.  Afterall I’m the Queen of running a household efficiently. I was sure I could conquer this challenge.

But I quickly realized I couldn’t. Life has taken on a new rhythm. Days and weeks feel longer and schedules just don’t seem to work.  With my daughter going off to college next year I’m grateful that I have more time with her.  Usually she’d be off with friends or at cheer practice.  I’m happy that she also has this time with her sister and I’m sure she’ll remember that fondly. I’ve taken walks with my mom and my husband and I have done double dates on Zoom.  My mom and Spencer have been playing Xbox Bowling – something they both enjoy tremendously. We’ve also set up FaceTime so she can see my aunt in the nursing home every week. And I’ve gotten back to work and have the opportunity to focus on doing more videos with inspirational people which is something I had put on the back burner.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that life keeps moving forward, maybe a bit messier and not as efficient, but mostly enjoyable.  We’re not the family that plays games together, but we’re all assembling masks for healthcare workers tonight which to me is even better.  But more importantly we share laughs and love and in the end that’s all that matters.