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With more than 124,000 public and private schools closed and more than 55.1 million students affected from the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning has become the norm for the foreseeable future. Attending classes from the comfort of home and lowering the expectations of academic participation has given students more spare time. Instead of spending it with friends in-person, traveling, or other normal pre-pandemic activities, students have to get creative to avoid becoming cooped up and bored. Here are five ways to pass the time:
1. Take MOOC/online courses
Many schools and school districts are choosing to scale back the extent of assigning and grading homework and exams. This gives more time for other types of learning that may interest students more than their traditional core classes. Massive open online courses (MOOC) are free online courses typically designed by universities and accessible through course providers including Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn. Courses can range from learning to code in C++ to mastering Adobe InDesign and can be taken at any pace. They’re also great for adding skills to resumes!
2. Help out with the pandemic
During a crisis of any level, volunteers are always needed. Essential workers are at the front lines battling this virus and its effects every day to help the country reopen safely in the future. Medical supplies and donations are in constant demand to assist those most in need. Students can fundraise money on social media for their favorite organization, sew face masks for family members and friends who go out in public, and create care packages for those most vulnerable (immunodeficient, elderly, etc.) who can’t leave their houses.
3. Start a new hobby
When students spend seven hours in school, at least three hours doing homework, and a couple more hours practicing an extracurricular activity, there’s really no extra time in the day to pick up a new hobby. The extra time at home now leaves little room for excuse. Students can finally learn how to cook, paint a portrait, play the ukulele, knit a scarf, start a YouTube channel, do a magic trick, plant a vegetable garden, and a million other possibilities.
4. Work on a favorite project
In addition to trying out a new hobby, students can return to a passion project that’s been collecting dust since winter break. School assignment deadlines and extracurricular obligations tend to bump working on a personal project to the bottom of the list, especially if it’s not something that can be typically put on a resume. Whether it’s finishing writing a romance novel or working on a rap EP, students will enjoy the spare time much more if it’s spent doing something they love.
5. Spend time with friends (virtually!)
Even though social distancing prevents friends from spending time together in-person, students can still keep up their daily social lives through video chat platforms such as Facetime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and House Party. If there’s not much going on in their day-to-day lives and they find they’re running out of things to talk about, students can play games like charades, bingo, or Pictionary to connect with friends.
Colleges will want to know what you did during the COVID-19 shutdown. If you are still not clear, and if you are interested in getting ahead on the process, sign up for a 1-hour consultation.