This week, Penn State students enter week seven of the semester. As most of 2020 has felt like one big blur, it may come as a shock to some that we’re almost halfway through our virtual semester.
With many, if not most, students’ classes taking place online, leaving your dorm or apartment has become quite optional. The typical liveliness of the campus has disappeared as attending class simply requires a Zoom link now. This means comfy clothes, no commute and self-paced learning for most students. While doing all you work from the comfort of your bedroom may be tempting, it can actually cause more harm than good.
Ergonomics experts told the Wall Street Journal “working on any mobile device in bed for more than an hour without lumbar support, with the neck bent forward too sharply, or with the arms and hands suspended at an awkward angle” can lead to musculoskeletal problems. Of course, TikTok has already found a way to indulge in a little comedic relief surrounding this issue. While working at your desk is better than in your bed, finding space to work outside of your home is best.
It is important to separate different aspects of your life such as academics, social interaction, alone time and leisure to create balance. Your bedroom should be reserved as a place of relaxation, not a place to complete stressful work assignments. In a study by Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine, they found that “keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.” A designated study space outside of the bedroom will also help your brain understand when its time to get to work.
The most reliable on-campus study option is to reserve a study room in the library. Visit Rooms & Spaces on PSU’s library website to find a complete list of rooms in Pattee/Paterno Library. Rooms can be reserved for up to two hours. Need more time? Just schedule two bookings back-to-back or coordinate for a friend to reserve the room directly after you.
To find more study room options you can visit your Penn State Go app. First, select the maps icon. Next, click the three lines, or “hamburger” menu, at the top left and select “remote learning rooms.” In doing so, all of Penn State’s available study rooms, which includes unused classrooms, will appear on the map. Penn State Go lists available rooms and specific social distancing capacities for each.
VALLEY encourages you to utilize Penn State’s on-campus remote learning rooms but reminds you that obeying proper social distancing measures and wearing a mask is essential and will help keep these facilities open for the remainder of the semester.