During these unprecedented times, we know that you are feeling a sense of loss and are grieving about being away from school, activities and friends. There are some things we wanted you to think about and understand
Respect your feelings. You have every right to be upset that you are no longer spending time with your friends, or that you can’t participate in an internship, go to prom or attend graduation. Please understand that those are valid feelings to have under these circumstances, regardless of how other people may react to this unprecedented situation.
Find balance. While “venting” may give you temporary relief, be sure to spend time focusing on fulfilling activities as well, such as hobbies, listening to music, cooking, baking, reading, or creative endeavors. Find ways to keep yourself occupied, see what makes you smile and brings you joy.
Practice Mindfulness – It means you should tune into your emotions at any given moment and experience them without judgment. We say to ourselves: this is terrible, and I’m sad about it, and I’m angry about it, and I’m feeling anxious about it,’ or whatever it is that you are feeling. This then allows us to move on and say, ‘Okay, so now what can I do or what needs to be done so I can get beyond my emotions?’
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
“To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances.”― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Manage your exposure to the news. Staying up to date on important changes (e.g., travel bans) is appropriate, but it’s not necessary to check news outlets multiple times a day or be on your device throughout the day.
Put things in perspective. If you and your family are healthy, be thankful. Consider ways that you might learn or grow from this experience. You are living through a historical event that people will talk about for many years to come. Some of the changes in society–which we can only guess at–are likely to be positive.
Focus on what you can control. You can practice good hygiene and social distancing; you can’t control the availability of masks and treatments, or when schools will reopen.
Become an online learning expert. Technology has taken on such an enormous role in our lives and it certainly will continue to do so in the future. Learn how online platforms work, and help your teachers and school think creatively about how to use it most effectively.
Learn some constructive skills. You will need these skills in adulthood.
- Learn to sew (mend some clothing or sew buttons) or knit.
- Learn to fix things around the house.
- Do some gardening.
Brush up on your cooking skills. Try some new recipes.
- Have you ever made a Spanish Tortilla? Try this recipe
- The Perfect scrambled eggs
- A really yummy mug cake
All of these cooking skills will keep you fed now and in the future.
“…It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.”― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Expand your knowledge. Learn a new computer language or learn a new foreign language. There are many free resources available online.
Discover Career Paths. You might uncover a career path you never knew about.
- Check out O*Net to learn about all sorts of jobs and careers and what it takes to be part of the profession.
Try New Courses. Find free courses that you can take online. Check out
- Harvard University’s online classes
- Coursera’s online classes. https://www.coursera.org/
Keep up with Academics. Make sure you are participating in online lessons and turning in your assignments. Review topics you were having trouble with by reaching out to your teachers during office hours. If you need extra help, try doing lessons on Khan Academy — www.khanacademy.org
BE HEALTHY AND STAY CONNECTED
Maintain your health. Sleep, good nutrition, and exercise are as important as ever. They will help keep your spirits as well as your immunity up.
Work out Regularly. Check out simple workout videos that you can do inside your house. There are lots of videos on YouTube and free apps available. Have you tried yoga, pilates, Zumba or Taebo? Nike has workouts that are currently free to use on their app.
Develop routines. Your old patterns (e.g., going to sports practice) may not be possible now, but you can establish new habits such as regular chat times with friends or mealtimes with family. Keep in touch with friends and family on a regular basis. Don’t underestimate the impact that a phone call, texts, or emails can have on your friends and family.
PREPARE FOR THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS
Understand the College Admissions Process. Stay on track with what is required of you in the college admissions process. Colleges are making allowances for the current situation (e.g., by waiving grade requirements for your second term classes or going test-optional for those applying for the fall 2021 term), but they still have expectations of you. You can learn about colleges through virtual tours/events, communicate with admissions reps by phone or email, and, most importantly, continue to do well in your courses.
Check out virtual tours on
- Individual college websites,
- Go to Strivescan www.strivescan.com
- Try Campus Reel https://www.campusreel.org/
- You can ask for zoom calls with admissions officers if you have a lot of questions that you would like to ask about the university and its programs.
Update your extracurricular activities list. Create a resume or just learn how to write one. Take a look at the Online Volunteer Activities list and see if any of those volunteer opportunities are of interest to you. You can continue to stay engaged even though you are not able to go out right now. Colleges want to know that you tried different things and found creative ways to engage yourself while you are home from school.
Explore Majors. Check out different college websites – see what kind of majors/minors are of interest to you. Did you know —
- There is a major called “unmanned aircraft system operations” to study drones
- Did you know that Data Science and Analytics is a relatively new major?
New Media and Digital Design is being offered at Fordham University – combines skills in computer science, communications, visual arts, business, and creative writing
- An electronic business marketing major that teaches marketing in digital spaces
- Are you a comedian – there is a major at Emerson in Comedic Arts
There are majors that are currently being offered at college campuses that did not exist ten years ago. Things are constantly changing in response to the growing needs of the country, the marketplace, and with ever-changing technology. https://www.fastweb.com/college-search/articles/ten-majors-that-didn-t-exist-10-years-ago
FIND WAYS TO RELAX
Travel through space and time. So many museums around the world have put their collections online.
- The Louvre – see Egyptian antiquities collection https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
- Smithsonian – say hello to some dinosaurs, fossils, and artifacts dating back 1000s of years https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour
- The Sistine Chapel – See Michaelangelo’s “The Last Judgement” painted on the ceiling. http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/cappella-sistina/tour-virtuale.html
- The Guggenheim Museum of New York
- The Museum of Modern Art – https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/moma-the-museum-of-modern-art
- Museé D’ Orsay — https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/musee-dorsay-paris
- The British Museum – get an audio tour of their collection dating back centuries https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/
Visit some natural parks or the Great Wall of China
- Yellowstone National Park- https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
- Yosemite National Park – https://www.virtualyosemite.org/about-virtual-yosemite/
- Great Wall of China — https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
- Virtual tours of the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank’s house, and other sites in
- Amsterdam — https://360stories.com/amsterdam/oldamsterdam/story/vincent-van-gogh
- San Diego Zoo — https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams
- Many beach towns have cameras set up so you can watch the waves crash.
- Check out live cameras of birds, safari lodges, beaches, and other wonders at Explore.com. They have a host of webcams as well as movies that touch upon a wide range of topics including animal rights, the environment, poverty, and human rights.
Enjoy time with family and friends
- Pull out some board games or card games
- Go for a walk while maintaining social distancing.
- Plan dinners together; Bake or cook with the family
- Download and play online games on platforms like Houseparty
Your ability to be resourceful, and to draw on the support of others during this crisis, will make you a wiser, more resilient person in the years to come. We will all get through this and be stronger for it.
“Of all the virtues we can learn no trait is more useful, more essential for survival, and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge.”― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Happiness
@Copyright 2020 The Summit College Counseling, LLC