5 Ways to Last the Distance in Online LearningApril 22, 2020

The Tudors would make the unlikeliest role models in self-isolation, but a new book revealed that King Henry VIII, and his daughter, Elizabeth I, strictly followed the Renaissance philosophy of finding meaning in the smallest things and spaces. University students could make this philosophy as their own, as it might take months, if not a year, before a COVID-19 vaccine would be available. 

You don't have to watch the Showtime drama "The Tudors", which would help you visualise the turbulent period that King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I lived in. If not for these small spaces, which contained books and musical instruments, both father and daughter might not have lived long. It doesn't mean that the coronavirus-induced downturn would pale in comparison to their existence, but stress is an equal-opportunity disruption. It doesn't play favourites, and it certainly isn't shy about leaving its mark. You became aware of it during the middle of the term. Canceled examinations, graduation ceremonies postponed, celebrations called off, and coursemates who will never say goodbye to each other. Wouldn't it be great if someone, if not something, could not only help you alleviate your stress, but also severe damage that's already been done? You can keep in touch with your family and friends while finding ways to last the distance.

You should have more time for learning, but it doesn't have to be related to the modules. For instance, the Siphonophorae can be the longest animal in the world, and it's abundant in the waters off Western Australia. It makes you more imaginative, thinking of prehistoric animals that might appear in the sequel to "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom", but you may not have seen a Portuguese man-of-war. On the other hand, you keep on thinking about the polarised opinion on King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. You must learn more of their monastic existence, as you're probably not inclined to look for new titles or not learn to play a musical instrument. You wonder what could be your source(s) of comfort in this coronavirus time.

Another Fever Spreads, So You Seek the Ultimate Vector of Comfort

Adopt a puppy (or dog). You need a good excuse to get out of your room. You only need to get in touch with a local shelter. The cost of feeding a puppy (or dog) may worry you, but remember that most of these fur babies have been abandoned by their owners. It doesn't require too much to take care of them, and your parents won't mind. After all, this four-legged fur ball would be the latest addition to your family. What a distraction!

Take a break from the coursework. You have planned your routine, and you're determined to stick to it at all costs. It's easier said than done. Recall your secondary education, where you hardly followed a routine. (And your mother called it day at 4 PM.) You may have resolved not to turn on the telly, but you can't fool anyone. (You can watch some movies and/or TV series on YouTube. And then there's Netflix.) If you have adopted a puppy (or dog), spoil him (or her). Get to know more of him (or her). If you're thinking of other vectors of comfort, you can visit the local library. You have more time to explore it.

Try to figure out what you want to achieve during the lockdown. You don't have to aim for a major achievement, which may alienate you from your mates during your next (virtual) chat. How to put that high, if not restless, energy to use? You can help your parents in doing a deep cleaning of your home. Perhaps there are items that need to go to the attic, basement or garage. You might think that this would be the perfect time to learn how to drive but postpone it. You have some paperback copies of novels that gather dust over the months (or a year). Read it. If you don't feel like keeping it, then donate it to your local library. There are other milestones to conquer, like guessing the capitals of the world in a minute but focus on the task that could make you handle the coursework in the coming months. There's a likely chance that you haven't adjusted to homeschooling, and you're not the only one. 

Your room must stimulate your passion for learning, so adorn it. The private rooms of the present are Spartan compared to the royals that lived centuries ago. You have figured out after your coursemate described his visit to Windsor Castle the spring before last. You may not afford a Rembrandt painting, but postcard(s) from your past trips would do. (If you don't collect postcards, your mother might have saved some from past holidays.) If you have kept your collection of Lego blocks, then this is the best time to get it out. You can build your own version of the pyramid, which you hope to visit someday. 

Get fit, if not fitter. This is the best way to boost your immune system. If you have a puppy (or dog), he (or she) might interrupt you. Playing with a pet also boosts your immune system. 

What are the Best (Free) Indoor Activities?

The above list would encourage you to break the virtual walls and keep you distracted from what is happening outside your room. You can video yourself while folding your clothes, where other students might learn how to make the most of the space available in the closet. You can also try new dishes, which would make your mother proud. And you can watch John Krasinski's "Some Good News" on YouTube. The list goes on, so there's no reason to be pessimistic about an extended lockdown.

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