COVID-19 has done the impossible — it somehow brought the world to a standstill. Almost every store is closed, every country has closed its borders, and everyone is stuck inside their homes for who knows how long. It feels weird driving around my town and seeing restaurants and stores bustling with patrons becoming a desolate wasteland.
And for us college students, it seems to bring our education to a screeching halt. All of our classes are online, most of our internships and clubs are canceled, those studying abroad returned home and are now under quarantine, but at least we got a spring break. While it’s nice to have a lower workload and a lot more freedom, there is one downside to this — boredom.
I can’t go anywhere because everything is closed, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” wasn’t out for a while, and I can’t see my friends because they live far away or are under self-quarantine. So, I decided to read a book — for leisure. As an English major, this is kind of embarrassing because I’m supposed to read for fun, but when you are reading a billion pages a day about writing styles, you just get tired of seeing words printed on a piece of paper. So, I read Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” (better late than never), and it exposed me to the lasting impacts of apartheid and how a racial-cast system screws over people of color; something I wouldn’t have discovered on my own.
So, three paragraphs in and I bet you're wondering “What the heck is this guy writing about?” Well, we should use this time to explore new opportunities and try new things when we are trapped inside of our homes. Considering California and New York are under lockdown because of the virus, it’s safe to predict the same could happen to North Carolina. So, here are suggestions on what to do at home.
One thing you could do is to have a hobby. Besides just passing the time, having a hobby can reduce stress. Considering the uncertain times we live in currently, we could use something to keep us occupied. In addition, having a hobby can help with our academics. Studies have shown that having a hobby can help promote creativity, which is extremely helpful with college.
Another thing you could do is explore new areas of interest. Just because we are not in school doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to learn new things. With a lighter course load due to a transition to online class, we should use this opportunity to explore new topics we wouldn’t discover normally. For example, I just started to read “The New Jim Crow,” a book that exposes racial inequality in America, a book I normally wouldn’t read due to the stress and heavy workload that comes with college.
The last thing you should do is contact friends … from a distance. Yes, this seems kind of contradictory since we should all be practicing social distancing to prevent others from getting infected. However, we have modern technology. We can still contact our friends through social media and see how they are doing. We have the time to reconnect with friends, so we should use this opportunity to do so. Just because we are stuck within our houses doesn’t mean we have to be alone.
In these times of uncertainty, we should take this time to improve ourselves. Sure, I weirdly miss waking up early in the morning to attend my 8:30 class, but we have to make do with the current situation. So let’s make the best of what we have and enjoy the free time we have.