To help you get through this uniquely difficult semester, we’ve created the Helping Hand Team made up of representatives from the Students Affairs and AGEPoly as well as student coaches. With all classes now being run entirely online, our goal is to give you tools and resources to help you keep up with your studies and stay healthy.
Every week, you used to receive a newsletter with a list of what we are doing for you and some resources around a specific subject. In addition to that, the Student Affairs Office used to send you weekly well-being tips by mail. Send us your suggestions and ideas on how we can help, whether it has to do with coursework, social activities or your general well-being via this form.
But this semester, we are back via Instagram !! So follow us at @epflhelpinghand !
6 – Xmas & New Year’s eve
- PolyNoël: We’ve prepared a surprise gift for those of you who will remain on campus during the school break: PolyNoël! It consists of recipes, ingredients and games, but most of all, a chance to share the holidays with your neighbors or other students who will also be here through the end of the year.
- “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOUUUUU” : As the end of the year draws near, we hear the same holiday music over and over. We’ll have had our fill in a month, but in the meantime, let’s make the most of the Christmas spirit. We’ve prepared a playlist for you with all the classics – but since the holidays are all about sharing (and not just old songs), you can add your own favorite Christmas music to the mix!
- FMEL : If you live in an FMEL student residence and will be here over the holidays, be sure to find out about all the activities that will be held.
5 – Healthy eating
- BBC Good Food | Recipes and cooking tips – BBC Good Food
- Serious Eats: The Destination for Delicious | Serious Eats
- FOOBY, plateforme culinaire de Coop | fooby.ch
Instagram student accounts for cooking great student food:
FAQ to a nutritionist:
- Eat five fruits and vegetables a day, preferably those in season.
- Vary the kinds of fruits and vegetables you eat, how they are conserved (fresh, frozen or canned) and how they are prepared (cooked, raw, in a salad, in a gratin, as a purée, in a tart, etc.).
- Look up healthy recipes for students online that are quick and easy to make.
- You could eat vegetables at meals and fruits as snacks throughout the day.
4 – Working environment
- Internet connection: It’s not always easy to work from home, especially if your working conditions are less than optimal. Following its latest survey, the School has decided to again provide financial assistance for internet access but you must be in Switzerland and have unreliable 3G or 4G network coverage. If you would like to apply, please fill out this form.
- PolyPrev Bridge: Being alone at home isn’t easy. That’s why AGEPoly set up a program called Bridge, whereby students come to your home to bring you lots of good things! By filling out this form, two members of the AGEPoly Prevention Team will visit you during the week to chat and bring you snacks and things to take care of you. Don’t hesitate: it’s totally free!
- Share something positive: As a new initiative, every week you can share something positive that happened to you recently. A photo, a video, an anecdote, … send us what made you happy! We will re-post three of them in each newsletter.
- Discounts on laptops: Need a new computer? Thanks to EPFL’s Poséidon team, you can buy a professional laptop at a discount. Poséidon will also send a technician to your home to repair it if it breaks – free of charge. And if you need to pay for your laptop in installments, Poséidon can grant you a zero-interest loan.
- Good posture: You’ve probably been told to “stand up straight” or “sit properly” – but why? And most of all, how? Check out the ergonomic tips put together by EPFL’s Safety, Prevention and Health Domain. You can find an explanatory video here.
- Put in place strategies to achieve your academic goals (organizing your environment for studying, establishing a routine and managing your time effectively with blocks set aside for studying and for recharging your batteries)
- Take breaks
- Identify what time of day you study best and do tasks that require a lot of concentration at that time
- Set clear, achievable goals for what you’d like to get done in the near term and write them down in a to-do list. If needed, you can divide one big goal into several smaller ones
- Schedule in breaks to avoid accumulating mental fatigue. You can choose the frequency of your breaks – for instance, five minutes every hour – that works best for you.
- Take a few minutes to breathe deeply, go for a walk or do some other brisk activity that will revive you and keep fatigue at bay. That will also help you prioritize and plan tasks more efficiently
3 – Studying through this period
- Are you looking for a quiet place to study on campus? Check out the list of available study rooms put together by our coaching service. Simply pick the one that works best for you! But don’t forget that you’ll have to reserve your spot on the EPFL Campus app before you can come on site.
- Do you want a way to search for a specific topic in your online class recordings? EPFL’s programmers have developed a search engine – available at graphsearch.epfl.ch – that helps you do just that. You can use it to locate and jump to the point in the video when your math teacher discussed, say, inverted matrices.
- EPFL students have set up a Discord server called EPFL Community that includes a section organized by classes. Give it a look – you’re sure to find your classes there as well as other students taking them.
- Each of your classes should have a Moodle forum where you can ask questions quickly and easily. If not, ask your class delegates to create one – they’re extremely useful.
- If you’re a first-year student, don’t forget that your mentor is available to provide personalized academic support this semester. Feel free to contact them if you’re struggling – that’s what they’re there for!
In the morning
- Wake up at the same time every day
- Take a deep breath, air your room
- Make time for a healthy breakfast
During the day
- Eat well-balanced meals at regular times. When you need a snack, pick something healthy like fruit, nuts or dark chocolate.
- Take meal breaks without any distractions (social media or messages, for example)
In the evening
- Turn off/reduce the amount of time you spend on your screens (smartphone, tablet or computer) one to two hours before going to bed
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Read a book or comic, or listen to calm music, to help you get to sleep.
- Did you know… that your brain is still active even when you sleep? The brain uses that time to sort through the information received during the day and consolidate it in the memory.
- Feeling stressed? Why not taking ten minutes to relax and breathe deeply?
- The ” Zoom” fatigue
Taking a two-hour class online is tiring enough, and when you have several throughout the day, it can be exhausting. So it’s important to take a real break after each class – go for a walk, have a cup of coffee, or do some stretching or light exercise, for example (interview with Prof. Pierre Dillenbourg on heidi.news, 22 October 2020, in French.)
- Maintaining a routine and studying effectively – now that’s a winning combination! Check out the MOOC on study methods for science and engineering students (in French).
2 – Well-being
- Online exercise : Taking care of yourself starts with getting regular exercise, to both stay in shape and release stress. The Sports Center offers an array of free online classes in Pilates, yoga, stretching, body toning and more. You’re sure to find something you enjoy – start today!
- Telegram Bot : Want to meet other EPFL students? The new Telegram bot @PairMeUpBot: it was developed for just that purpose. Whether you’re looking for someone to study, workout or cook with, this bot will put you in touch with another student interested in the same thing. Don’t you know how it works ? Download Telegram messaging application and let yourself be guided by the bot by clicking on start!
- Are you quarantined at home? Someone from AGEPoly Prevention‘s team would be happy to do your shopping for you. Simply register here to benefit from this service. It is free and you’ll receive a bill afterwards for the cost of your items.
- Challenges :Taking care of yourself also means trying out new things. It’s important to break the routine once in a while! So we suggest you do one of the challenges we’ve carefully crafted. They will be regularly posted on AGEPoly’s social networks, so keep an eye out!
- Use our Self-Care Wheel and the self-assessment tools to identify areas of your life that you’d like to improve.
- Surround yourself with people who lift your spirits. This could be your roommates, classmates, friends or family members.
- Dare to try out new activities like a new hobby, cooking, puzzles, drawing, photography or DIY projects.
- Remind yourself that you’re not alone – there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to others and sharing what you’re feeling.
- Virtual museum tours
- Cooking ideas
1 – Solidarity and community
- You are in BA1 : you can take part in our mentoring program, which offers personalized online academic support. And don’t forget about your student coaches: feel free to contact them if you’d like help from someone who’s been in your shoes.
- You can turn to your class delegates or your section’s student association for assistance – they’ve been more active than ever. You are wondering who are your class delegates ? You can easily find out on IS-Academia
- Two Discord servers provide information, activities and the opportunity to ask questions to your fellow students: Polycampus et EPFL Community
- If you’re feeling down, and if you want to talk about it, you can schedule an appointment with one of our counsellors. Consultations are free of charge and entirely confidential. Whether you’re struggling with stress, a lack of motivation, loneliness, time-management problems, study methods or anything else, our counsellors are there to help. The psychotherapeutic consultation is also available for you.
With regard to your studies:
- Team up with another person or a small group of people in your class or section to study together. Agree on specific times during the week when you’ll meet to study, and decide where. Of course, don’t forget to follow the social distancing requirements, wear a mask and disinfect your hands.
- Speak with your coach or mentor (BA1), class delegates, or, if you’re a PhD student, your PhD representative.
With regard to your general well-being:
- Stay attuned to how you’re feeling – take five to ten minutes each day to breathe deeply and release built-up tension.
- Develop new activities – sport, go on a walk (alone or with someone else) or start a new hobby.
- Set up a weekly schedule with time set aside for studying, for speaking or meeting with others, and for trying out creative or new activities.
Stress management and relaxation
- YouTube has an array of videos on stress management and relaxation topics. Spend a few minutes browsing through them to find the right one for you.
- There are many apps available (on iPhone and Android) to help. Most of them are free, and some include a subscription option. Ones you might want to try are Respirelax+ (cardiac coherence), Petit Bambou (which has a section specifically for students), Namasté, Calm, Headspace and Live Better.