Five Ways to Spend Time Efficiently After School: Quarantine Edition

By: Vivian Wang

It’s gotten to the point where waking up each day feels the exact same: wake up, brush teeth, eat breakfast, and do laptop work until it’s time to go to sleep. Then repeat for six months, with no social interaction or external stimulus. To avoid the monotony of quarantine, students can try focusing on self growth and explore different ways to spend time after school efficiently. These activities can range from learning how to code to starting a gratitude journal.

With many gyms and parks closed due to COVID-19, many students at Valencia High School have not been prioritizing physical health. Sports have been canceled at school, leaving many Valencia students learning how to play their sport through a Zoom video call. Picking up a new sport during quarantine can help with maintaining mindfulness and give time for personal reflection, all while ensuring physical health and a balance of life. One activity in particular, zumba, has been trending during the pandemic due to the rise of zumba and yoga YouTubers.

As the language of our future, coding drives technology, ranging from smartphones to tablets. In the workforce, only 25% of the STEM field consists of women; the main factor causing this disparity stems from the lack of education and resources for females interested in pursuing a career in STEM. For instance, in the 2019-2020 AP Computer Science A second period at Valencia High School, only five students in a classroom of nearly 35 students were female. But now, resources are easier to find than ever and with more time on everyone’s hands, they can finally use them. Resources for beginners interested in learning how to code include, Khan Academy, and Scratch. For more advanced coding resources, platforms including Coding Bat, Daily Coding Problems, and Codecademy challenge its users with engaging, stimulating coding problems and lessons.

Gratitude journals consist of daily journal entries of moments of gratitude throughout the day. Starting a gratitude journal helps to recap each day and serves as a physical reminder that there are always simple moments of life that may oftentimes be overlooked by the chaos and stress of school and work. The initial days of starting a gratitude journal can often pose difficulties since it can be hard to find gratitude in a time of unrest like this year. Gratitude journals encompass any moment of one’s day, ranging from receiving a text from a long-lost friend to acing the notoriously difficult biology exam. Especially in these times, gratitude journals can be extremely therapeutic.

Many Valencia High School students graduate high school with the intention of either pursuing a job or attending college. Whether it be a prospective job or college, both of these groups often do not have time to thoroughly read the thousands of resumes that they receive. During quarantine, take the time to explore ways to build a personal website or blog to showcase recent accomplishments or exciting personal updates. A personal website cannot be built overnight, but with a couple minutes each day dedicated to developing, the website can go a long way when applying for college or a job. For resources to develop a free personal website, Wix and Google Sites have comprehensive tools to make any website come to life within days.

Since many restaurants closed for dining due to social distancing measures, many people have resorted to Cup Noodles and drive-through fast food restaurants. With it being a combination of a new hobby and better food than might be available elsewhere, cooking is the perfect quarantine activity. It is the perfect time to learn how to become the next best chef in town; whether turning on the stove is a new concept or making macarons is a no brainer, there is always room for cooking skills to grow.

Before quarantine, there was always the inevitable thought of always wanting to continue working and move as quickly as possible. Now is the time to take a deep breath and live in the moment, all while maintaining a balance of life.

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