How to Keep Positive & Keep Learning While in Quarantine

24 Mar 2020

by Kiera Gill

Hey everybody,

So we’re living in very strange times. It’s a bit unprecedented, and if you’re anything like me, the constant stream of news and general upset of the established routine has left you feeling pretty lost and uncertain. Usually in times of uncertainty I find solace in my routine, but that kind of went out the window pretty quickly.

I’ll be honest with you, I was struggling! And I’m sure I’ll continue to struggle in different ways as the situation is ever-changing, but I have found a source of comfort, a sort of silver lining in this situation. 

Let’s take it back a bit. I’ve always loved learning. When I was a kid I would read anything I could get my hands on and if I saw somebody doing something that looked cool, I would immediately try and learn how it worked and how I could do it too. What I didn’t particularly love, however, was school. I was never very good with due dates and the regimented structure of school, without intending to, stifled the creative side of learning in me. I came to understand learning as a chore, not as an avenue to express myself. 

My love of learning reemerged, however, as soon as I got into college. The learning style is more self-created, you get to decide your own schedule and mostly choose the kinds of classes you want to take! This allowed me to finally rediscover what interested me, and I realized that I don’t have to make something my life mission in order to want to learn it or to enjoy it. I don’t always have to be able to profit off of what I learn, sometimes I can just learn for fun!

In this time of quarantine, suddenly all of us have been allowed that opportunity. Suddenly we have all of this free time, and we get to decide what we want to do with it. Now we’re faced with  a question: What do I want to do with this time?

My suggestion? Learn!

Learn that thing you always thought would take too much time, or that you never thought you’d have the skill set for. Go on YouTube, it’s a real treasure trove of information. I can almost guarantee there will be multiple tutorials for anything you could possibly dream of. And if that’s not enough content or guidance for you, find blogs where people talk about their experiences with your chosen topic, reach out to people, learn by doing!

To get you started, I’ve got for you five ideas (out of hundreds, maybe thousands of options) of things you could learn whilst quarantining/social distancing:

Learn to paint!

This has been something that I have been really getting into. I discovered that Walmart has 50 cent paint bottles and some really affordable brushes and canvases. There are tutorials on YouTube for every medium, at every skill level!

Learn to cook!

At home cooking is an important skill to have, perhaps now more than ever. There are so many different recipes available online, and just as many tutorials to boot! A favorite of mine is the YouTube channel Binging with Babish, where the host recreates food items from TV, movies, and video games. He also has a series, “Basics with Babish”, where he covers some classic staples that you could use for your everyday life.

Teach yourself to code!

The tech industry is our new frontier, although maybe not quite as “new” as I’d like to think. There are, however, new opportunities created everyday in this field, and learning code is a good way to get yourself on the cutting edge. 

  • Here’s a link to learning JavaScript (in one hour!)
  • Here’s a link to learning Python (in four and a half hours… break it up into a self-guided course!)

Learn a language!

Language takes time, and is really almost a puzzle. But at the end of this puzzle, you’ve opened up the world for yourself significantly. You can now read text of and hold conversations with individuals who you previously had minimal access to. Whole new worldviews are now available to you!

  • Check out Duolingo! It’s a free app that currently offers 35 languages, ranging from Spanish to Irish Gaelic to Klingon. 
  • If you’re learning Spanish (which I would highly recommend for Southern Californians), checkout Radio Ambulante, an NPR show where the hosts speak in Spanish and tell Latin American stories. Find it on Spotify, and, if you can, pair it with their app Lupa where they offer transcriptions and translations of each episode!
  • There’s also an entire French textbook available online, if you’d like that resource!

Learn yoga!

This one is great not only to keep you active in a potentially sedentary time, but it’s also an amazing meditation technique. One of the only ways I can get my very noisy brain to calm down for a second is to practice yoga and to really focus on my breathing. Get those endorphins, and get your mind clear! You can also take this one outside and get your Vitamin D! That’s a triple threat right there, folks.

Remember, you’re not alone. We’re all in this one together. You can do this, and in the meantime, we’ve got your back.

All my best,

Kiera Gill

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