These are all words that we seldom, if ever, heard before a couple of weeks ago. Now we see and hear them several times a day. The fact is, we have never seen anything like this before. The spread of the Coronavirus is the type of event that will be in future editions of history textbooks.
We are going through a season when everyone’s pattern of life is being disrupted. Events cancelled, businesses closed, schedules trashed. We are having to find a different way to do just about everything.
Most adults have worked from home before, just not for this extended amount of time. It is unusual, but not entirely unfamiliar.
This is uncharted territory for most students. They have never done school from home. High school students are having to learn geometry with their teachers as a distance. College students are having to write papers with libraries closed. Even homeschoolers are now confined to home, no doubt more than they prefer.
So, with the world turned upside down, and everyone confined to their homes, what is a student to do?
Here’s the thing…
Many have pointed “blessings in disguise” that we can find if only we look. For students, this moment presents unique opportunities for growth. I would suggest three.
With the extra time you have on your hands, tolle lege! Read a book…or several.
You may be one who thinks they hate reading. I understand. Reading is not easy, but it can be worth it. You probably just haven’t found a book written well enough or about a topic important enough to make it worth your effort. So, by all means, keep looking.
You may be one who loves to read. I understand. Reading is great, but it can also be a waste of time. You may not have found a book written well enough or a topic challenging enough to test your mind. So, by all means, keep looking.
During this quarantine, you have a unique opportunity. You can read, not just to earn a grade, but to learn a lesson. You know the difference! You can read, not just for enjoyment, but improvement. Not that the two are mutually exclusive.
Closed bookstores and libraries shouldn’t be problem. We live in the digital age! Load up Kindle on whatever device you prefer and dive in!
If expense is a concern, there are plenty of other options. You would be amazed at how much is available online for free. Amazon.com will let you “Look inside” and read part of a book, several chapters in some books. Then you will be able to decide if it is worth purchasing.
Depending on how old or popular a book is, not to mention copyrights, you may be able to find a PDF version to save to your preferred reading platform. The PDF section of my Kindle library is full of classics that I have found online for free.
One of my favorite tools is Hoopla, a platform for digital content from public libraries. The app can be downloaded on any device and offers access with only a library card number (which you can also get online if you don’t have one yet).
Suggestions? Of course! Here are several books for students that immediately come to my mind (affiliate links below):
- Do Hard Things by Alex and Bret Harris
- Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
- This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe
- Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
- Thriving At College by Alex Chediak
(For more specific book recommendations, contact me on Instagram, Twitter, or in the comments section below.)
And if I could be so bold as to suggest one more book to read during this season of social distancing: the Bible. All sarcasm aside. I have already heard from several of my students that one of the blessings in disguise of what we are experiencing is that they have been able to spend more time in God’s Word.
Students have a particularly unique opportunity during the quarantine to observe their parents as they never have. Many parents are being forced to work from home. So, now you have the chance to see them in action.
Generations ago, children observed their parents at work on a regular basis, whether it was on the family farm or a family-owned business. In fact, children often participated in the work. Then our country industrialized, and many parents began working away from home where children no longer could observe, much less participate.
Senator Ben Sasse describes it this way:
“Today’s children are likely to conceive of work as one job, and yet less likely to work the same job as their parents—such as on a family farm or ranch or in the same trade—than ever before. They no longer see up close a broad range of their parents’ work struggles, and they do not daily observe their parents’ work ethic the way their great-grandparents did. Most kids’ hours are spent chiefly in age-segregated environments.”
I am not against industrialization, but I think our culture lost a lot when children lost the opportunity to see the work their parents put in day after day to provide for their families.
Well, guess what, in all the weirdness of this moment, you have regained that opportunity!
Take this time to observe your parents at work while at home. Ask them questions. What does their daily routine look like? What are the products and services they provide? What are their customers like? How many meetings do they attend? What is the most frustrating thing about their job? What is the most rewarding thing about their job?
When you get a front-row glimpse of what your parents’ work requires of them, you will more than likely get a whole new level of appreciation for them. You and your family will be all the better for it. And, who knows, maybe you will get some guidance toward your own vocation.
Take advantage of this blessing in disguise. You get to observe what your parents do to give you the life you enjoy. Watch and learn.
The type of habits that make a person successful in life do not happen by accident. They are built.
What time did you wake up this morning? Or possibly, this afternoon? For many students, the morning is something that happens to them. However, you have an opportunity during this time at home to build patterns and habits into your life that will enable you to get up each morning and seize the day.
John C. Maxwell, author of dozens of books on leadership, says, “The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Your daily routine is simply the series of positive habits that builds you into the person you ought to be. In other words, building good habits builds you.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, guess what? You have time!
I would suggest that you focus on your morning. I have found personally, and in conversation with many others, that the day is often won or lost in the first couple of hours. At least the rhythm for the day is set by then.
You will be amazed at how a morning routine reduces your stress, clears your mind, and maximizes your energy.
I don’t know what your regular morning looks like. Perhaps, you already have a set routine. However, I would strongly recommend that at least three features be a part of your morning.
Social media is great for many reasons, especially during this time of quarantine. However, it shouldn’t be the first thing you concern yourself with in the day. The first thing you set your eyes on each morning should not be a filtered and posed picture of someone else.
My advice would be to practice solitude by avoiding social media first thing in the morning. Instead, work more healthy habits into your morning.
Prayer offers so much more than the mindfulness practices that are so popular today. Prayer is more than meditation: it is communication with God. Prayer does more than focus your mind: it directs your heart. Prayer does more than bring clarity: it brings you into the presence of God to live your day by his grace and for his glory.
My advice would be to begin each day praying for your day, expressing your dependence on God for a good day.
One of my favorite metaphors in the Bible is in James 1:22-25. James compares the Bible to a mirror. I would dare say most of us would not go through our day without looking at a mirror and doing something about the mess we see. It is infinitely more important that we look into God’s Word, the mirror of our lives, and put to practice what it teaches.
My advice would be to spend a substantial part of your morning reading the Bible and finding some command to obey, correction to make, truth to ponder, or promise to claim.
Each of these no doubt deserves a discussion/blog post by themselves. Nevertheless, they are worth the effort to work into your morning, as is building a morning routine in general. The best part is, because of the quarantine, you are currently able to build a morning routine without waking up that early! Talk about a blessing in disguise.
For many students, this quarantine will be an inconvenience of boredom instead of an opportunity for growth. They will spend more time admiring other people than examining themselves. It will be a time of amusement instead of a time for improvement.
Which will it be for you?