Opinion: Use time at home as an opportunity

Everyone is dealing with a variety of life changes, emotions and hardships right now, and it is OK to come out of this COVID-19 pandemic without some great accomplishment that you worked on in all your newfound free time. What is important, however, is that people use this time as an opportunity to learn self-motivation, observe and evaluate personal habits, spend time with family and relax.

For essential workers, this time may be busier than ever. For the rest of us, we get to be thankful for their hard work while staying at home to socially distance and minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19. There are a variety of opportunities we all share when being forced to work, attend classes and socialize from home. The biggest one is that we get the chance to hold ourselves accountable for any work we have to do and learn how to motivate ourselves.

For many, doing classwork online has been difficult because it lacks some of the structure of in-person classes. Many classes have pre-recorded lectures instead of live WebEx or Zoom meetings, which means students have to choose a time to tune in to the class. Even so, it is easy to move on to other things quickly rather than doing homework or taking notes during or after finishing lecture videos or PowerPoint presentations.

Self-motivation is an incredibly valuable skill that can help students not only get through the rest of the semester, but also be self-starters and hard workers in their career paths. Take some time to find what motivates you and apply that to homework, professional work, chores or whatever it is that you should be accomplishing throughout the week.

We have the opportunity to truly take time to learn more about ourselves and what motivates us to keep going. In addition, we get to learn more about personal habits. Some new or existing habits may be beneficial, but others can be harmful. For example, disregarding regular sleep hours to stay up super late and sleep in can be difficult to correct. Trust me, I know. Be sure to monitor new and existing habits to make sure they are healthy, or at least kept in moderation.

Another key opportunity for traditional on-campus college students is spending time with family, especially for us graduating seniors. Though life at home may not be perfect, most people do not have the opportunity to see their family often during college. Some students commute and some go home on the weekends, but many students only spend holiday vacations or summer break at home. In fact, some students even spend summer break away from home for distant job or internship opportunities.

I know it can be tempting to argue with a sibling or be upset when a parent asks you to help with chores around the house, but make an effort to spend some quality time with loved ones during this season of stay-at-home orders. Unless it is necessary, do not isolate yourself to your bedroom for the majority of each day.

Last but not least, take some time to relax. If you are a non-essential employee either not working or working from home, find time to enjoy things you love such as reading, watching movies or TV shows, or doing nothing at all. Life seems boring right now, but it will eventually go back to normal. College students and working adults have busy lives, and in a few months, we may even be looking back on this time with a strange sort of envy.

It is OK to take some time to relax and de-stress. It is easy to get caught up in the craziness of life and miss out on free time. The hustlers of the world are ready to tell you that if you do not come out of this time of quarantine with a new skill, business or completed project, then you are not motivated or good enough. That is not true.

However, you can choose to take advantage of the little opportunities in front of you. Learn to keep yourself motivated, take care of yourself and monitor at-home habits, spend time with family and relax. Though these opportunities may seem small, they could make all the difference in the future. Life will not seem this slow forever, so find the positives – no matter how small or seemingly insignificant – and enjoy it.

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