School cancellations, office closures, and increasing social distancing can produce a mix-bag of reactions for students and families. Shifting schedules and activities to help minimize “community spread” of Covid-19 requires thought at an individual level and for families. What might not be apparent initially are the positives that can come with the unexpected and temporary shift in day to day life. The most striking change is added time. From not commuting, not carpooling to sports activities or other after-school activities, there will be additional time that can be used to do necessary tasks like, studying, attending classes (virtually), working, and connecting with friends and family. You may find there is additional time ripe for “stay in your PJs” days, binge-reading, binge-watching, marathon scrabble games and family puzzles. Who knew organizing your room, starting a small house project, creating a home- gym, or learning mindfulness via Youtube would be something you could start today? Have you been putting off learning how to cook or bake your favorite foods? The point is to capture this unanticipated time to try something new, which is only limited by your imagination. If you’re feeling stumped, take advantage of the advice, tips, and resources from experts – there are plenty out there who are happy to share. Library closed? Find out if your Library checks out e-books online. Yes, there may be a natural inclination to expand your gaming skills, creating memes, or watching puppy videos to add some levity with your new-found time, but, this shift in daily schedules is also an opportunity to pause and review how you use time. Downtime is essential to recharge your batteries, and that includes sleep, exercise, listening to music, and recreational or creative activities. Maybe you’ll be inspired by the trending Shakespeare tweet, start writing an essay or novel you’ve been putting off (note to self). Take a daily walk or walk your dog. Perhaps you will have time to construct, sketch, doodle, or paint.
If you’re in the middle of or just starting your college journey, it doesn’t have to come to a full-stop. Now might be the perfect time to dig into exploring colleges virtually, bolstering your test-taking skills or preparing for tests. Many test preparation companies, in addition to Khan Academy and ACT Academy, work virtually and offer webinars for students. I recently shared a post about community service so that students can discover and plan for community service opportunities. What students also may not realize is that the simple acts of social distancing, hand washing, and following other public health recommendations are all examples of engaging in community service and making a positive impact. As with most things that are unexpected, learning how to be nimble and responsive can allow you to adjust your plan to support your needs and goals. So what can you do now?
If you are a junior and recently had your standardized tests postponed, this may call for an adjustment to your test preparation timeline. It also can mean more time to study and to take practice tests. Not exactly the pot-of-gold people hope for, but more time can be a valuable commodity.
Get Organized. Create a study and daily schedule. Make sure to balance "have to tasks" with downtime and fun.
Research, research, research. Discover virtually the distinctive aspects of what you like about colleges on the list you are building, and what being a future college student will look like. Schools like Case Western and others have started creating virtual information sessions and tours that you can attend in the comfort of your home.
Read You may finally have time to catch up reading the stack of books sitting next to your bed, which also includes that list of ebooks, or audiobooks.
Surround Yourself With Music
Tune in to your favorite artists.
Is it time to create new playlists and get a Spotify account for students?
Why not pick up an instrument?
Record and share a composition on SoundCloud?
Listen to Podcasts/Watch Videos
Take Advantage of Free Virtual Access
Some of the most extraordinary developments have come out of exceptional times. You may not be seeing a rainbow now, but having time and investing it in things that matter has the potential to help you be ready for when the skies clear.
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