Many NEOMED students have expressed the difficulties of balancing family and academic demands, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students indicated that it would be helpful to have a document to help family members understand the challenges of being a professional student.
Please feel free to share this COVID-19 FAQs for NEOMED Families resource, created by the NEOMED Mental Health Committee and the Learning Center.
If your student has moved home during COVID-19, you’re probably adjusting to the changes associated with having them within the household. It’s a change for you and a change for them to transition from studying and living independently to being part of a family unit and continuing to successfully progress as a professional student.
Here are some FAQs regarding what you might be experiencing with your student and how you can continue to support them.
Frequently Asked Questions
My student seems stressed. Is this normal?
Professional school can be very stressful with the complexity, pace and volume of information students are expected to learn and apply. Add to that the adjustment they are facing with moving to virtual learning and the high degree of organizational skills and executive functioning skills needed to stay on top of the expectations. So, the likelihood that your student is stressed is high. If you notice their stress, there are many approaches you can take, and deciding how to support them is something you can best answer. Believe them when they say they are overwhelmed with schoolwork that they are struggling to manage anything more than that schoolwork. Offer your support, affirm their challenges, provide them quiet space to study, reduce their home responsibilities if you can at least till their spring classes end. And if you see that their stress has become debilitating or concerning, know that you can encourage them to seek out counseling support from our staff or their personal health care provider.
My M2 student is done with class, so why are they so stressed?
As you probably know, M2 students are in what we call “Dedicated Study.” This is time between the end of their structured classes and the deadline for their Step 1 Medical Licensure Exam. Because Step 1 is a high-stakes exam and tests a students’ knowledge from their first two years of medical school, the anxiety students feel as they prepare for Step 1 is daunting. Your understanding and patience and support of your student during this highly important study time will be invaluable to their success. Whatever you can do to keep them motivated, positive, fed, and maintaining a good sleep regimen will help them to be successful.
Can my student continue to use campus support services while they’re away from campus?
Definitely. Many of our services have moved to virtual delivery including tutoring, academic advising, and telecounseling. In addition, the colleges continue to offer Zoom sessions for regular check-ins with student cohorts. Encourage them to participate in these class meetings, Zoom wellness sessions, and various other virtual programming opportunities in order to stay connected with their NEOMED community and peers.
How long do they really need to study every day?
Students will likely be studying for approximately 10-14 hours each day.
Why does my student seem stressed by simple things like being asked to participate in chores or family activities?
Professional school can be very challenging and stressful for even the most organized students. Stress symptoms can affect their thoughts, mood and behavior. Some common effects of stress are irritability, angry outbursts, social withdrawal, sleep problems, feeling overwhelmed and sadness. Your student will likely benefit from your empathy, patience, flexibility and support during this challenging time.
How can I as a family member help my student?
Making meals, helping with laundry, understanding when the student feels extra stress when asked to participate in family activities or chores and giving them some latitude when possible to schedule the activity at a time that fits with their study schedule.
It is also important to encourage your student to establish a daily routine that incorporates self-care activities, which include regular exercise, mindfulness activities (I.e. meditation, prayer, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation), some leisure activity, and connecting with friends/family members.
Does my student need a private area in the house to study?
If possible, it would be great to provide them with a private and quiet study space, especially when taking remote exams when they will be proctored via video. Sometimes even the most minimal noise can distract a student from their studies, so a quiet and uninterrupted space is invaluable to them.
Why is WI-FI so important for my student?
Students are still expected to use Wi-Fi to log into virtual classes, virtual activities and remote virtual exams. If your Wi-Fi is slow or if multiple members of your household are using Wi-Fi at the same time, perhaps other members of the home can reduce their use, especially during exams.
Coronavirus updates may be found at the NEOMED Coronavirus Update page.