4 Productive Things Students Do While Social DistancingApril 28, 2020

If only you of March had the wisdom of you of April. This would be your thought, as you attempt to be productive during the month of May. The term barely started, but virtual learning made you feel too alone. And your mother didn't like those dishwasher habits that you inherited from your flatmate. You won't be the only one to be struggling with these thoughts, as social distancing should force you to figure out how to be a better student during this distressing, if not surreal, time.

You read an interesting (magazine) article about how experience taught George Washington to contain the smallpox outbreak that could have wiped out the Continental Army. This would be the first public health policy in America, which reminded of a viral video of Scott Morrison praying for the plight of Australians during the pandemic. Does it come close to Washington's heroics? You won't know the answer after an hour of (online) research. It's also a waste of time to think about it, as you have pressing concerns. You can't finish watching a movie, if not a TV series, so you're a bit worried about how to manage the coursework during the winter. You would try anything, which includes (viral) challenges by your coursemates. It ranged from push-ups to games. (You happen to have a Facebook account, and your few mates as well. They are film enthusiasts. You may not be passionate about cinema as they are, but you watch anything whenever you have the time. However, they posted images from films from the French New Wave and the Czech New Wave. You don't have a clue about the classics. And you don't like being beaten most of the time.) It's OK if you're not sharp in this kind of challenge, as you must manage the coursework properly. How?

The lockdown should test your abilities and traits, so expect to deal with different moods. You must nip the bud.

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If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, move. If you're leaning to a sedentary lifestyle, move. Productivity depends on how active you are, and moving from one spot of your room to the other doesn't count. You can't expect to respond to those challenges (posted by your mates), as you could get tired of it sooner or later. Try to imagine that you're still living in a flat with other students, and it's not far from the university. It should give you a self of urgency. If it's not enough, play a video game. Literature students and dual-degree students can read a chapter from a novel of almost a thousand pages. (Your coursemates won't bet against your chances of reading the final chapter.) Don't reflect on those good old days, which could lead to disappointment. This is a new experience, which can be compared to your journey to a new place. You may be tempted to do four sets of 25 push-ups, but think. You might not have stretched your arm muscles, and sore muscles could affect your focus (while writing your assignments).

If you're a homely teenager, don't indulge in any activity that is not related to the coursework. You read comments from first-year students, who lamented about some personal milestones that they won't ever have. You could feel their pain, but they haven't thought about the next commencement. You must be following a schedule by now. Furthermore, you have decided what activities should inspire you to be productive during the quarantine. You might need a company, so spend some time with your family. You can also make the most of those Zoom meetups, which should reveal your softer side, if not your talents. (The same thing applies to others.) If you can't carry a tune, then a banter would do.

Many things could happen while staring at the computer screen, so do the following. Autumn is arguably the best time to get out (and inhale the cold air), but you're thinking of the salty smell instead. You want to get soaked in the warm sea, which wouldn't take half an hour from where you live. (If you reside near the Outback, it hardly makes a difference.) The journey might be about the destination, but it's about people who make places meaningful. You could look at old photos, where your family has been to the Far East. (It could be your friends as well. And you've travelled to the heart of Down Under.) Everyone is a traveller through life, which your tutor has told you. These memories should snap you out of anxiety, boredom, or depression, all caused by long confinement in your room. You want to get up and walk around your room. You can do digital cleaning afterward. (You might have tens of unread messages in your inbox.) And you must learn the basics that every employee in the IT Department must know. (How to handle forgotten passwords. How to solve crashed wifi. How to figure out USB cords and HTML switches.) You're about to run wild in your own room after reading someone's account of an unforgettable adventure in a remote part of the world. And you wished you were the author of that account. 

Have you heard of any good news? You might be in dire need of good news, and you must discuss it with your tribe. It could be a kangaroo's coronavirus pandemic lessons, which would amuse your coursemates. It would be Roger Federer's attempt to increase his Twitter followers. (Your parents have other things in mind, though.) And your neighbour told you about a plumber who made a table for his backyard squirrels. It should be a good premise for a Children's novella, but your next deadline is a few days away. All of these should make you realise that the pandemic is beyond your control. You can take control of your daily tasks - and how you think. 

Keeping You Healthy

You have a crazy dream during the pandemic, and your family and friends aren't interested to hear about it. You can save it later. (H.P. Lovecraft has a legion of fans, who love to explore the subconscious areas of the human mind.) Have fun while you can. It would mean reuniting with your favourite characters from the books you read a number of times and the movie clips that you've seen countless times. If it's the Babadook, think of the starfishes and dolphins.

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