Did you ever think that you would need to pursue your studies sitting at home? No, not the correspondence courses, your full-time graduating major subjects. The coronavirus pandemic created havoc across the globe, forcing a new lifestyle for every individual. It led to the insurgence of an emergency state which necessitated nation-wide lockdowns everywhere. As social distancing became the new norm, college students faced newer challenges coping with it.
All higher education institutions have been temporarily closed to prevent the spread of this infectious virus. Students and teachers have had a hard time keeping up with the constant changes in the education sector because of Covid-19. To abide by the rules of social distancing during the pandemic, the digital sector came to the forefront as that became the only medium for education. As virtual learning came into the spotlight, the challenges associated with it have caused inconveniences to college students globally. If you are student of fashion designing or fashion management, you will be able to identify with the shortcomings of the pandemic on your life. We are going to discuss how to deal with those drawbacks and establish the perfect home routine that will help you define the “new normal” for yourself.
What are the challenges faced by college students during the lockdown?
The coronavirus pandemic has forced all college students to pursue their studies, their passion, from within the four walls of their house. It is undoubtedly correct that students everywhere are facing difficulty learning their lessons digitally on a daily basis. But when it comes to fashion designing and management studies, life has become especially hard. As much as we love staying online and checking our social media pages, we do not prefer remaining online to finish our lessons by straining our eyes for hours. Let us take a look at the various challenges that students face because of the global pandemic and see how many you can relate to immediately.
- Zero Practical Learning: There are many subjects that require regular practical sessions, and fashion is the perfect example for this. You cannot expect a student pursuing fashion to learn what different fabrics feel like from a digital conference call. They need to physically touch them to fully understand their application and what kind of apparel the fabrics are best suited for. Fashion designing students also learn how to operate certain tools only when they are attending classes in college. Most colleges that offer a course in fashion have different varieties of sewing machines to help their students. Some of the examples are portable sewing machines, heavy duty sewing machines, computerized sewing kits and cover stitch sewing machines among others. Even though professors might find YouTube videos on how these machines work, the student needs to tangibly work on them to understand the kind of pressure that needs to be applied. The inability to have practical demonstrations has been one of the biggest challenges that fashion students forced to face because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Unavailability of Tools: It goes without saying that a student of fashion needs access to certain tools which they generally do not keep at home. These special tools are easily available at their colleges and they are too used to such devices that it has become extremely difficult to work without them from home. Varieties of dress forms like adjustable full female body dress forms, half female body dress form, different sizes of male dress forms (small, medium and large) are always available on the college campus. Drafting tables, which are one of the most important things a fashion student needs, are obviously not lying around in their homes. Pattern making tools and product development tools are the bread and butter of fashion students’ lives at college. The unavailability of all these devices at home has become extremely burdensome for the college students who are forced to stay at home and digitally attend classes.
- Network Issues: No matter how high profile a student may be, there are always chances of facing network issues when working from home. This year has not been very kind when it comes to climate change and has given rise to sudden downpours, even cyclones and earthquakes. It is quite normal for students to face this challenge when virtually attending classes from their homes. Have you missed an important lecture by your professor because your laptop won’t connect to the internet? Thousands of students are battling this mega problem everywhere.
- No Formal Environment: A student going to college, attending classes attentively, taking inspiration from professors and fellow classmates is the normal routine. It has been completely disrupted by the unforeseen onset of Covid-19 and made it mandatory for students to practice social distancing from home to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. As students, you have been used to a certain lifestyle which does not involve the comfort of your house. You pay more attention when surrounded by a formal environment of education. But that is absolutely out of question when you are at home. There is a potential for distraction in everything you see. For instance, your parents never check on you when you are in college attending lectures, neither do your pets make it extremely difficult by staring at your face as you take down notes. The lack of a formal environment has resulted in students losing focus from their studies, getting detached from their passion and feel uncertain about their future.
How to Overcome These Challenges?
At the end of the day, each challenge is only as difficult as we allow it to be. A famous proverb remarks, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” All students need to focus on the solution to the issues they face regularly instead of mulling over the adversities. Let’s face it – you do not have any personal growth as long as things run smoothly, it is the challenges along the road that shape your personality. We are going to help you establish the perfect home routine that you can follow to defeat the hurdles posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. There are number of things you can do that will help you get a control over the current situation, let us take a look at them.
- Acceptance is Essential: Carl Jung once said that, “We cannot change anything unless we accept it.” It is essential for all students to come to terms with the situation we are living in now, and only then can you choose to ignore the chaotic side of it and work hard to come up with plan to improve yourself. Students of fashion need to internalize the fact that this lockdown situation will be over soon and the world of fashion will be alive and thriving again.
- Maintain a Strict Routine: Just because you are at home does not mean you are on vacation. You must come up with a strict routine that will set the right mood for a long day of online classes. Set an alarm just like you did for college, get dressed in formal clothes as they guarantee higher levels of attention and make sure you have highly nutritious food to fight this global pandemic. You should take breaks in between your online classes, like you had in college. It helps you have a fresh mind for each class and also gives you the necessary movement you need from sitting in one place in front of the laptop screen.
- Flow with Your Creative Spirit: One of the major reasons why you chose fashion for graduation is because you have a very creative mind. You should use your imaginative skills to come up with great solutions for your daily routine. Do you have that one corner in your house that gets your creative juices flowing? Try to recreate a workshop there which somewhat replicates the one you have in your college. It does not have to be very spacious or grand, it should just be enough for you to sit at a table to make beautiful sketches. As the digital sector is in the full bloom now, you can order the necessary things online at create a functioning workplace for yourself. This will not only be a temporary escape from the situation but also permanently solve the issue of working from home. Just like photography students have a dark room they can access to develop photos; you can use your home workshop to create masterpieces anytime. Earl Nightingale said the most inspirational words, “Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.” The kind of love and dedication you have for your passion can be easily reflected through your self-made quarantine workshop.
- Keep in Touch With Nature: Are you someone who gets inspired by the variegated beauty of nature? The flowers, the trees, the differently shaped leaves, beautiful and endless colors are a source of great inspiration for students of fashion designing and management. As the government as mandated us not to step outside for the sake of our safety along with everyone else’s, we need to think outside the box. You can consider a bit of gardening in your terrace, backyard or balcony. Since online delivery is available to us, you can order beautiful varieties of flowering plants, indoor plants and bonsais. Once you get to searching about gardening tools and techniques, you will across extremely adorable earthen, ceramic and plastic pots to grow your plants in. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” You should consider growing things in your little garden that speak to your soul and provides you with endless motivation. While sipping on a cup of coffee, you can inculcate all the unique ideas that come to you through your beautiful creation and sketch it down on paper.
- Build on Your Resume: Though Covid-19 has confined you to the four walls of your house, it has also provided you the gift of time as the whole world comes to a standstill. You can use this time to create an impressive curriculum vitae (CV) by developing new skills. As students of fashion, you have a wide array of skills to work upon. Some of these include exceptional drawing skills, a good understanding of fabric, texture and color, an interest in the trends of the past, sewing and draping a variety of patterns. Yes, the job market is at a crucial condition now but if you have an essential and unique skill set, employers in the industry will give you preference. You can try and design accessories, clothing and even footwear as they will add to your resume. If you have a workstation at home, you can even think of making these designs come to life.
- Search for Internships: You can either get disheartened by the trending news of low job opportunities and internships or you can set a goal to do proper research to find an internship that you can do from home. Thousands of opportunities are still available if you do a thorough search. You can try to lean on the career services provided by your college to find an internship during the lockdown. You should develop on the contacts you have through online platforms, video conference calls and social media. Look for the companies that are providing digital internship programs. By applying for internships, you are only gaining experience on how to improve on interview skills.
Apart from all this, you can also spend some time on yourself which you were unable to do when attending college every day. Being a fashion student does not mean you cannot have other interests too. You can learn a new language, read the books on your bucket-list or simply maintain a healthy workout regime which you can follow when your college starts again. Spending time with loved ones, cooking and sharing a meal together will also help you overcome the stress or anxiety you maybe going through because of the coronavirus pandemic. Remember that once the lockdown is over, you must go back to college. Prepare yourself for that day.