With many students getting time off from school due to the spread of coronavirus, we thought we should share some ideas on how to stay occupied – and manage some productivity – while stuck at home.
This post is long, but we believe it is important. Wishing the best of health to you all and your families.
Tips for Everyone
Catch up on sleep. Teenagers need more sleep than their schedules typically allow them to get. Take every extra minute you’re allowed, while you can. Keeping yourself to a reasonable bedtime will also allow you to transition back to school more easily when the time comes.
Structure your day. It is very easy to wake up feeling bored, anxious, or even overwhelmed when you have nothing planned. Take some time to sit down and think about how you want to spend your time in advance. Planning an exercise routine, meditation habit, or just a few scheduled activities (even if one of them is “Fortnite with the boys at 2pm”) can bring more purpose to your day and alleviate some of the disorientation from a disturbance to your routine.
Stay connected. While we have all been advised against large gatherings, we carry the ability to video chat in our pockets. Set up calls with friends and family – especially those you haven’t spoken to in a long time. A little camaraderie can go a long way in tough times, for elderly relatives especially.
Not all video content is created equal. We’ve all lost hours to a YouTube wormhole or Netflix autoplay. While some mindless entertainment can be a great way to lighten the mood, finding documentaries and channels that align with your curiosities is a great way to stay entertained and grow intellectually at the same time. Podcasts are also a great way to explore an interest.
Read for pleasure. We hear all the time that students are too busy to read what they would like to. If you have time off from school – go for it! Order via delivery or your favorite e-reader and you can travel through time and space without ever leaving the house. The benefits of reading both in and outside of the classroom are well known, and reading is one of the best ways that younger students can start building the skills they will eventually need on the SAT and ACT, and eventually college.
Limit time on social media. GASP! We know – easier said than done. But by following the tips above, you will be able to spend less time staring at your phone and needlessly stressing about the fate of the world.
Catch up on studying for cumulative courses. It’s easy to fall behind on Spanish vocabulary or physics formulas – and very hard to catch back up while balancing the rest of your course load and activities. The same is true for other courses where new content builds on prior knowledge (e.g. math, physics, other languages). If you know you are behind, now is the time to catch up. Download some Quizlet decks, connect with a friend over video chat, work with a tutor – whatever you need to do to get back on track.
Begin studying for cumulative exams like AP Exams, SAT Subject Tests, IB Exams, and finals. Do not count on these being canceled. If school does not pick back up for a while, a long list of academic obligations is going to be packed into a compressed timeline. Do yourself a favor by forming a study plan and starting to execute it. Start by using a prep book or list of topics, and prioritize by the areas where you need the most work. Make some flashcards and map out a study guide as great first steps.
Make plans for the summer. Many families leave off researching internships, activities, jobs, and programs for the summer until too late. Take advantage of the time you have to set yourself up for a rewarding and enjoyable summer that will also advance your goals.
College Prep Tips by Grade
Below are some tips for high school students in particular. Follow the links for more detailed discussion on any of these topics.
- Take a diagnostic SAT/ACT to determine which test you will focus on.
- If appropriate, look into SAT/ACT accommodations for next year.
- Research colleges now, while you have the time.
- Prep for the SAT or ACT if you still need to.
- Brainstorm potential college essay topics.
- Research and make your final college choice.
- Relax and enjoy some downtime while being safe and responsible.