From: Robert B.
Even at the best of times, education is likely to be a stressful enterprise. This is partly by design, in so far as learning can only occur just outside your ‘comfort zone’, within what has been referred to as the ‘growth zone’ – where familiar knowledge can be used to generate new ideas and understanding. However, the additional stresses from changing societal practices are of little help. Journalists can comment about statistics on paper, but the fact is that everyone is facing a new and unique set of circumstances, complete with new challenges, and perhaps new opportunities. Many of these circumstances are outside of your control. It can be helpful, then, to focus on doing your best with what you can control. What might those things be? How can you keep preparing yourself for a future that is becoming increasingly uncertain? There are some good ideas out there: a regular sleep schedule is the #1 way to maintain your mental and physical health, and also to solidify your learning, whatever form that may take. A varied diet of meals taken at regular intervals is another good way to maintain your body’s clock. Daily exercise of any form is also a great way to maintain your physical and mental health. These areas are often very simple to influence, and have a huge impact on personal well-being. Beyond these, there are a number of activities that can benefit you and your community in these troubled times. Take the necessary time to focus on academics. Reach out to an instructor if you need extra resources. Help take care of family and community members. Stay in touch with your friends. Make some art – literally anything that you think might be cool, or fun, or interesting. Any ideas you’ve had but never acted on now have an opportunity to be brought to light that may never come again. Read a book you’ve been meaning to read. Clean something you’ve been meaning to clean. There are all kinds of small steps that can be taken to make your corner of the world just a little bit more bearable under difficult circumstances. I give credit to a lot of these ideas to the Youtube creator CGP Grey, a high school instructor from the USA – check out his video titled ‘Spaceship You’ for a discussion of good habits during lockdown. I also recommend the Youtube channel 3Blue1Brown for weekly introductions to some cool topics in math through the ‘lockdown math’ video series.