Stuck. Bored. Stir-crazy. Those are some of the sentiments we are hearing from our students. Without the ability to go out into the world, attend school, get together with friends, or pursue their usual activities, students are unsure of what to do with themselves. Plus, those who have college on their minds worry about how this period in their lives will be viewed in the application process. They wonder, how can I continue to show colleges that I’m involved and engaged when I can’t go out and do my thing? How can I manage my extracurricular activities and Covid-19?
We urge students to re-orient their point-of-view. Instead of looking at the current situation as a period of confinement, students should instead view it as one of freedom and opportunity. As we’ve said in several of our recent posts, colleges understand the constraints and challenges that students currently face. In other words, they have no expectation that students will be active in their usual pursuits. Students have a pass to take each day as it comes.
Making Covid-19 a Time of Opportunity
How does this cure the stuck, bored, and stir-crazy? While your past extracurricular activities and Covid-19 may be a bad mix, that doesn’t mean you have to laze around and complain. You have a lot of new possibilities all around you. Because students have more time on their hands and they don’t have to stress about what colleges want, now is the perfect opportunity for them to:
- Try something new
- Go deeper into interests that they don’t otherwise have the time to pursue
- Help their local community
- Be creative
Ideas for New Extracurricular Activities
Here are some starter ideas that are fun, educational, and will even be impressive to colleges:
- Take an online class. We know you are possibly online already for high school, but that’s not what this is! There are literally thousands of courses on every possible subject offered for free by organizations such as Coursera and edX. From poetry to politics to studying the science of happiness, you are sure to find something interesting.
- Join a political or get-out-the-vote campaign. It’s a big election year, and there’s lots you can do from home to support your favorite candidate – from social media support to letter and postcard writing. No experience is required. Just contact office of the candidates, or contact your county-level political party headquarters. Getting involved will help you learn more about the issues in the world around you.
- Do some online business. Interested in studying business in college? What better way to learn some basic business principles than trying it yourself? Clean out the family closets and do some selling on eBay. Take your creations, whatever they may be, and do some promotion on Etsy. Or, volunteer to help with social media and marketing for a local business that may be struggling during these times.
- Start a blog. No matter what compels you, a blog is a great way to put your thoughts out into the public sphere, improve your writing capabilities, and learn some new internet functionality.
- Learn a new language. Online platforms such as Language Bird and Duolingo will help you to become competent in a new foreign language. You can also brush up on the news in other by listening to Slow News in French or in other languages. [And if you want to learn more about foreign language requirements and college admission, check out this post].
About Andrea Aronson
Andrea is a senior counselor with Great College Advice and directs our regional office in Westfield, NJ. She has over 10 years of experience as an admissions advisor. With a BA from Dartmouth and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Andrea has turned her 20 years of marketing and business experience toward her true passion: working with students in the college admissions process. Andrea is also a seasoned writing instructor who has experience both teaching college undergraduates about writing mechanics and composition, as well as guiding business professionals on presentation development and copywriting. In addition, she has served as a college admissions interviewer for both of her alma maters and has recruited and interviewed many college and MBA graduates as a hiring manager.
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More Ways to Combine Extracurricular Activities with Covid-19
- Put your writing hat on. Craft some short stories or a screenplay. Enter creative writing competitions. Let your voice be heard and send in some op-eds to your local newspaper about issues that you care about.
- Help senior citizens in your area. Offer to do meal delivery, yard work and other outside activities to assist your elderly neighbors (from a distance). You could use sites such as NextDoor to get the word out that you’re available.
- Sew masks for healthcare workers. Our healthcare workers are in great need of masks to continue their fight against Covid-19. Don’t know how to sew? Now is a great time to learn! There are tons of charities looking for volunteers to cut and sew.
- Pick up some new life skills. Learn to cook. Paint your bedroom. Do your own laundry! These are all things that will be important as you go through college and life. (We’re not kidding).
- Gain some computer skills. Many online options exist that educate students on coding, building websites, and other aspects of computing. Here’s a list of over 20 opportunities: Computer Skills.
- Apply your computer skills. If you already have some coding abilities, there are organizations online that use your help. Get involved with home-based coding for nonprofits that need help through organizations such as Code for Social Good, Benetech, or DonateCode.
- Plant a garden. Get out into nature and start a garden, either for your family or your community. Flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs. You can learn a lot by planting and growing a variety of crops. If you don’t know where to start, connect with your state agricultural extension office, which is usually part of your state university system. Best of all, you can enjoy the harvest or share it with your community.
So What Will You Do with This Opportunity?
The bottom line is that only so much Netflix binge-watching is healthy, and there is no reason to feel stuck, bored, or stir-crazy, because there is truly so much that you can do. Look around you, brainstorm with your parents, take time to reflect, and you will discover literally thousands of interesting and productive ways you can spend your time. Seize this opportunity!