Carnegie Mellon University

Stay in touch (but take a break)

It sounds contradictory, we know. But it's true. Your success in a remote learning environment will depend, in part, on your ability to balance the need to stay up-to-date with what's happening in the classroom with the need to disconnect from technology.

  1. With the university. Check your CMU email regularly (this means at least once a day). This is the university’s official method of communication for important updates from your professors, TAs, advisors, College Liaisons, and many other offices on campus. You can also view CMU’s updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic here.
  2. With your professors and TAs. Use Piazza, virtual office hours, and email to connect with your professors, instructors, and TAs. Read your syllabi to see what other options are available to you in each class, and make sure you use them.
  3. With your classmates and peers. Bookmark the Graduate Education events calendar, Division of Student Affairs calendar and CMU events calendar to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the campus community and ways to get involved.
  4. With your friends. Your friends, whether from CMU or elsewhere, are also living through a global pandemic and they would love to hear from you. Reach out to them to connect over Zoom, Google Meet, or your favorite app. Host a trivia night, game night, or virtual dinner party.
  5. With your success partner. Remember that person we encouraged you to identify in the “Preparing to learn online” section of this guide? Don’t forget to use them! Daily or weekly check-ins can help keep you on track to reaching your goals.

We talked earlier in this guide about the need to intentionally plan breaks into your daily schedule. Those breaks should be something you look forward to.

  1. Exercise. No matter what your level of activity is or was pre-pandemic, exercise should become an important part of your day. Stretching, walking, and yoga are some of our favorite ways to give our minds a break and get our bodies moving, but find what works for you and build it into your daily schedule. If you’re looking for a class you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, CMU’s offers Group X-ercise classes on demand.
  2. Mindfulness and meditation. As a CMU student, you have access to a free subscription to Headspace, a meditation app. Headspace offers guided meditations, sleep music, and lots more. Information about how to activate your free subscription is available on the CMU Wellness website.
  3. Hobbies. Some people have used the time during the pandemic to develop or rekindle a hobby. Making music, listening to music, gaming, writing, sewing, gardening, and countless other hobbies can provide a great stress relief and a break from your studies.