So, what can we do during the COVID-19 Outbreak?

Adivce to help you navigate the quarantine period

Living in lockdown doesn't have to be miserable

Living in lockdown doesn't have to be miserable

Emma Huggins and Halle McCormack

At the start of the “break,” the time, for me at least, sounded like a perfect opportunity to hang out with my friends 24/7 for two weeks. However, it has changed drastically from my original plans. Everyone has been strongly encouraged by Governor Charlie Baker to exercise social distance, so all restaurants, retail shops, and health clubs are closed to consumers, and people are expected to interact with others only if necessary. After this, everyone has (hopefully) been spending more time in their houses. Naturally, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram get boring after a while, so we have been getting more creative with how we spend our time. 

What Halle has done: 

Learn a new instrument: After I stopped playing the clarinet in 8th grade, I haven’t been practicing any music and forgot most of what I had previously known. Nevertheless, I decided that since I had a keyboard piano in my basement, I could try and learn how to play. I am a beginner, but it is pretty rewarding to be able to perform even the smallest part of “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” these days. 

Bake Something: I decided to bake pumpkin bread, which is pretty out of the ordinary for me, and I am pretty sure it is the only thing I have ever made entirely by myself, which is pretty cool. Anyways, it took my mind off the Coronavirus for a little while, and it is a fun and rewarding activity. 

Suggestions from Emma: 

Rearrange your room:  I have rearranged my room multiple times during this break to create the perfect, comfortable, and peaceful space for myself. Especially in a time of social distancing when you are spending so much time in your room, it’s essential to make it an area where you want to spend time. Try putting up new posters and pictures or moving around furniture to make it feel new and fresh. 

FaceTime your friends: It’s easy to feel a sense of disconnect at this time because of social distancing. However, we are living in an age of such access to a virtual connection that we should all be utilizing. I’ve been FaceTiming my friends every day, even to have another presence in my room as I go about my day. I am mainly a big fan of group FaceTiming because it allows me to catch up with all of my friends together and have that community dynamic we lose in quarantine. 

Spend time outside: The good thing about this so-called “lockdown” is that it does not prohibit you from going out as long as you keep your distance from others. I’ve been reading, walking with my dog, and spending time with my family outside. I have even woken up extra early to watch the sunrise a couple of times during this break from school. I think staying connected with nature is extremely important for everyone’s mental health, and it’s essential to try and spend some time outside each day. 

Days can quickly become repetitive during this time. However, there are also more educational opportunities to utilize during this break. 

Do the optional assignments your teachers posted or get a head start on the nonoptional ones: Although teachers are not allowed to grade any of the work that they give you during this time, it can still be beneficial to do it. Especially for AP classes, it will help in the long run to spend a little amount of time every day with one of the assignments. Some of them can even be enjoyable, like watching a movie or TV show in Spanish for Spanish class. Also, if you have assignments that have a posted due date after we get back, begin them now to decrease your workload in the future. 

Use Khan Academy online (it’s free) to begin to prepare for the SATs: If you have taken the PSATs or the SATs, you can link your College Board account to your Khan Academy account, and it will create a FREE specialized SAT review for you, complete with ten practice tests. This review is available for those who haven’t taken the tests as well. Even if you can’t take the test until June, it is an excellent opportunity to improve your scores and review old concepts. Khan Academy even provides free analytics so you can track your progress.

The College Board, beginning March 25th, is offering free AP online reviews for those who are taking exams, so study! With the AP test changes, the College Board is making the tests and learning materials more accessible to all who are out of school due to the Coronavirus. The free review, produced by the same people who make the test, can help you to score better on the AP test and possibly earn college credit. It might not be that fun, but it wouldn’t take up much of the time we have available in the next two weeks, and it can help you better understand the subjects. For more information, here’s the link to the schedule of classes: https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates#free-ap-classes

Many Ivy League schools are offering free online courses right now for all ages: The schools are offering a wide variety of subjects: humanities, business development, social sciences, art and design, engineering, and health and medicine are a few. Some courses are more demanding than others and require a lot of work each week, and others are more self-driven and flexible when it comes to the schedule. This is a great opportunity to start looking into college-level classes you might be interested in in the future. ‘Coursera’ is also a great website that offers free college courses online for high school students. 

Not being allowed to hang out close to others can be challenging. However, the quick spread of the virus and the susceptibility everyone has to spread it further is reason enough to do your part in preventing further infection. So, spend time doing what makes you happy, prioritize your mental and physical health, and stay healthy!