It’s no secret that our daily routines have changed. COVID-19 has flipped our day-to-day upside down. Face masks, restrictions on travel, and washing your hands frequently are our “new normal.” In addition, many people are finding themselves either unemployed or working from home full time. Students of all ages are some of the most affected but forgotten cohorts of individuals. High school students must find ways to stay productive during this pandemic.
While colleges and universities understand that these are “unprecedented” times they still want to know that students were able to persevere. So what are students supposed to do now that they are home most of their day and their extracurricular activities have been limited?
Create a Designated Workspace
It’s hard to know when to stop working and relax and vice versa now that home has also become our offices and classrooms. Now that students are attending school online and their bedrooms have become the classroom, the temptation to lay around is even greater. It’s important to designate a specific space in the house as a place for work so as not to get distracted. Make sure that the time spent in that space is for working and working only.
If you tend to do your schoolwork on your laptop while lying in bed, it might be best to get up from the bed and bring the computer over to a table or a desk. By creating a specific space as a workspace you are training yourself to only work when in that space. According to the Sleep Foundation, your bed should be used for sleep only and a place to relax. By using it for a workspace you can be crossing boundaries making it harder for you to fall asleep.
Pretend your workspace is your desk at school. You typically don’t get up and roam around the classroom during the school day. Find a space in your home and treat it as the same. Decorate it like your desk with all of your essentials.
Stick to a Schedule
It can be easy to let time slip away when your usual obligations are no longer happening. School can create boundaries and a schedule for most of the weekday but what about all the other hours? If school is over at 3:00 pm and your original activities aren’t happening anymore how are you supposed to maintain a routine?
If your usual schedule was disrupted and you are finding yourself lost it might be time to create a new routine. Keeping yourself busy and sticking to a schedule is one of the best ways to stay productive.
On the weekends you should designate time for exercise, homework, and practicing any new skills you might have. Maintaining a routine will help you stay organized and you won’t feel like your days are wasted due to the pandemic.
Learn a New Skill
Students have no more excuses as to why they couldn’t learn that specific skill. This is still a form of self-improvement that can help admissions officers know what kind of student and person you are.
According to Forbes.com, teaching yourself a new skill can help keep you motivated. This momentum will help push you through this pandemic and keep your drive moving through the school year. Teaching yourself a second (or third) language would be impressive. Learning a new instrument would demonstrate dedication. Teaching yourself new recipes and cultural cuisines will show a willingness to learn. Even just teaching yourself how to do a backflip can demonstrate to admissions officers that you didn’t just sit around and waste time but took it upon yourself to improve yourself in some sort of way.
Take Online Classes
Everything has been moved to being virtual so online classes are even more accessible. Students should really consider pushing themselves and enroll in online classes either with their local college or through Massive Open Online Courses otherwise known as MOOCs. Taking classes will demonstrate to admissions officers that you are pushing yourself academically and don’t want to spend your time playing video games or watching Netflix but are challenging yourself and looking to learn something new.
Whether it is taking an online class for credit or taking a MOOC just for fun and to gain new insight into a topic that interests you, you are still taking the initiative to learn something new. Through MOOC’s, students can take courses offered by some of the top schools in the country like Harvard and Yale. You can learn things like Web Developing with Python and the Science of Cooking. These interesting and unique topics will show the admissions officers you were looking for self-improvement and took the extra step to seek it out.
Research Different Colleges
Now is the perfect time to spend a few hours scouring the internet and researching different colleges and their offerings. Use the College Board’s College, Search Tool, to find schools that match the criteria you are looking for. After you receive a comprehensive list of colleges and universities, start researching. Go to the school’s website, look at their major offerings, and even watch YouTube videos of students who attend the school. Go through their social media profiles or call an admissions officer. This is the perfect opportunity to start learning about different universities and what their requirements are.
While you’re conducting research you can start building your list of colleges and universities. You will feel more prepared applying for colleges because you will know which schools are the best fit for you.
Apply For Scholarships
Without all the other distractions you can really focus on helping your future self when it comes to college. There is no doubt that college is expensive and scholarships can be a great way to help lighten the load. Now that you have tons of free time, you can start researching and applying for scholarships.
You don’t have to be in 12th grade to apply for scholarships. In fact, you could have started earning scholarships in kindergarten! It is never too late to start. The internet is an excellent resource when you don’t know where to turn. According to U.S. News, some of the best websites to search for scholarships are scholarships.com, fastweb.com, and chegg.com. You can use these tools to find scholarships both big and small that you qualify for and have the potential for earning.
Look For Virtual Opportunities
Whether it’s a remote paid position, internship, or volunteering, nearly every industry has been able to go virtual. Just because you can’t physically be somewhere doesn’t mean you can’t still participate. You should be looking for remote ways to stay involved in your community and build your high school résumé. If you need a part-time job, there are tons of remote positions you can take advantage of such as tutoring. There are lots of remote volunteer opportunities as well such as fundraising for certain nonprofit organizations.
We are living in a digital world so it’s important to take advantage of these new avenues for involvement.
We know that staying productive during this experience can be difficult. This is no doubt stressful but we can find comfort that everyone is going through it. With all-time on your hands, it’s important you are making the most of it and not wasting your time. There are so many opportunities available for you to take advantage of while we wait to get back to our normal routines.
If you need additional assistance on ways to stay productive during a pandemic, maximizing your chances of getting into your dream school, or college essay editing, contact us.