This probably wasn’t what you expected when you moved back to campus in the fall. Being cooped up at home, taking your classes online, and being separated from your peers and friends may not be the ideal situation, but it’s important to realize that this change is temporary. Still, this time away from school can still be used to your advantage.
Reflect, reflect, reflect
We don’t often have the opportunity to spend so much time alone. Opportunity may seem like a strange word to use in this scenario, but alone-time can actually serve as a resource for personal growth. Introspection is a great way to analyze your goals, achievements, feelings, and experiences. Over time, practicing self-reflection can actually increase your overall happiness and make you a better leader. There are a variety of ways to practice self-reflection—making lists, journaling, creating artwork, thinking out loud, etc. Use the extra time you have while social distancing to work on building your best self so that you can return to campus feeling your strongest and most confident.
Continue to cultivate the friendships and relationships you started on campus
Just because your bestie is across the country doesn’t mean you can’t continue to strengthen your relationship and create new memories with them. A number of technologies have emerged to help you do just that: NetflixParty lets you live chat with your friends while streaming a movie or TV show together, many live trivia games have moved online, and Google Arts& Culture allows you to tour the world from your couch. Even something as simple as a daily morning check-in (share your OOTDs, a joke, or just a hello) or weekly video chat call can add to the routine of social interaction you grew accustomed to in college.
When’s the last time you checked in with a mentor or teacher from high school? What about making a homemade card for someone you care about? Practicing gratitude can be tough during the school year—when you’re juggling schoolwork, a job, clubs, and social time, it’s tough to find the time (or even remember to) to thank the people in your life who have helped you become who you are. Gratitude has been proven to be good for your mind, body, and relationships. Plus, it’s a great way to pass the time and connect with others. Challenge yourself to journal your gratitude daily, share it with others, or otherwise be mindful of the positives in your life.
Learn a new skill
Perhaps the best way you can take advantage of your college year being cut short is learning something that can help you in the future, whether that be for your academics, mental health, or enjoyment. The LA Times composed a list of 50 skills to learn during social distancing, from cutting your own hair to winning Monopoly to knitting. Although some of the suggestions are silly, it’s worth noting that most valuable and meaningful skills require time and practice, something that most of us can’t afford to waste during the school year. Consider taking up a skill or hobby that will give you a peaceful distraction for now, and serve as a source of relaxation in the future.