These are strange times, but staying at home doesn’t mean becoming a recluse. Remote connections are the way to go these days, but social distancing shouldn’t get you to the point where you become distant to your friends. Stay close to them, especially during challenging times such as these. Contact them and get creative! This summer is a time of transition, and, come September, you will be “moving” into college life in one form or another. In the meantime, find time to enjoy yourself and the people who are close to you.
We are in a tough spot now. My advice is to respond to your curiosity and be true to yourself. Put more YOU in yourself. Let your activities reflect the person you are and the values you hold. You can do this by thinking of constructive ways to share your skills, be happy, and, where possible, help others.
When thinking about how to spend your time, the first practical question to ask yourself is this: Where are we on the social distancing plan? Be informed so that you can be safe and healthy. Only then can you make smart plans. If the golf course or tennis courts are open, you might want to set up a plan with friends. You don’t need to be good at the sport to enjoy the activity.
Part of the challenge these days is to engage in creative problem-solving. The first step is to know what is safe and available. The second step is to recognize what is feasible and of interest to you. Step three is to invite a friend or two. You might start by talking with your friends and generating ideas. You will want to stay connected and keep the ideas flowing, so be active in creating Zoom experiences that are social and include an element of long-term planning.
Cognitive adaptability is the ability to change your way of doing something when you receive feedback from the environment. When the outside world tells you to quarantine, the best way forward is to find new avenues for staying active and making a positive impact. The new spaces, places, and avenues of your life will, for a time, be remote and virtual, but they can still be dynamic and loads of fun. You can use some of that time to help people too!
Here are some suggestions for getting creative and making connections:
Of course. Masterclass, Coursera, Udemy… you know what I mean.
“Gather” (by Zoom) with your friends. Do you have a similar interest and a way to share information in order to work on projects together? This would be a design-your-own-course sort of club. Meet virtually once a week to review projects, make a plan for presentations within the group, and post your projects. If you work with a community service organization, think about how you can generate support for the people you serve. Then take a broader look. Can you contact your local community and share updates in support of a wider global need? Think of current themes or themes that reflect your shared interests — say, spring nature photographs — and have each member post a photo. See if you can develop a lively feed that brings attention to your group. Tap into your creative juices and find new ways to advance the work of the groups to which you belong.
How about hosting an art gathering? You can coordinate and take an online drawing class — and organize a group of your friends to take the same virtual class. Alternatively, one person can host a still-life session with their camera. A single image is presented to all, and everyone then draws for 20-30 minutes before virtually meeting to discuss each drawing in turn. It is a great way to see the same still life from a number of perspectives, to see how reality is interpreted differently by different people. You will also learn more about how your friends see the world!
Want something a little more professional? Many art museums have virtual tours, so your class or club members could go independently on virtual field trips and then gather online to discuss a particular outing.
If you have a particular skill and know-how in some area, you could record a 15-20-minute instructional video and upload it for others to learn. It’s a great way to develop your instructional skills in your spare time.
The time is right for good ideas. How about designing and running your own virtual summer camp? Some students are making masks and finding creative ways to address the hand sanitizer shortage. Do you know how to make soap, and can you sell it to raise money for under-resourced neighborhoods? Are you a great organizer who could coordinate a group of people who could make masks for hospitals and nursing homes? What is your strength and how can you use it in a new way?
Exercising and keeping active is a great way to stay engaged and healthy — both physically and mentally. What virtual activities could bring people together? Yoga class with friends? A plank-a-thon for charity?
KEEP CALM AND TUTOR ON
If you are a peer tutor, have you reached out to your students? Can you organize a weekly meeting? Maybe you want to invite another tutor and student and make it a group tutorial.
Create a Zoom group and discuss any subject area or work on your science interest/music skill/drawing/painting/collage projects — just using what you have around the house for materials. You can make it up as you go along. You can even sing to each other!
These are just a few suggestions. Once you get started, you’ll think of many more — ones that will suit your interests and lifestyle. Use your intuition and initiative. The goal is to enrich your experience by “being you” and “being more you.”
There’s lots you can do. Most importantly, try not to think of them as “fill-ins” but as opportunities to explore new avenues and expand your interests and knowledge. You hold the key to making the most of the opportunities and resources that are available to you.