Social distancing sucks.
That is something most people can agree on.
Freshmen and seniors alike spent the first seven months of school complaining about being there, and now, what people want most, is one more opportunity to see the hallways of College Park before summer arrives.
Logically, the benefits are clear. Social distancing is a small price to pay for the lives of the at-risk population. That benefit in itself is enough. However, instead of complaining and watching ten more movies on Netflix, I have compiled a list of the best benefits of social distancing on top of flattening the curve.
More Time with Family
This may not be positive for everyone, which is understandable, but for a lot of people, this is the most they have seen their family since middle school. High school demands attention with academics, after-school activities, socializing, etc, but those things have been taken out of the equation. This means family dinners, walks, and game nights can resume. This is the time to get to know the people you have been living with your whole life better.
Increased Free Time to Pick Up New Hobbies and Creative Endeavours
Online school does a great job of shaving down the time a school-day consumes of a person’s life. The “filler” stuff (a social hour in the hallways, lunch, listening to teacher’s rambling stories, etc.) is definitely missed, but the subtraction of those things has left a window to be filled. I have not looked at Pinterest this much since seventh grade. I have attempted a plethora of new hobbies- painting (not good), baking, and even origami (the best I could attempt was a fortune teller but still). Nonetheless, branching out and collecting new skills and pastimes is a great way to make productive use of the extended free time granted by COVID-19.
For Juniors: More Time to Study for ACTs/SATs
The cancelation of ACTs and SATs is anxiety-inducing in a lot of ways– less time to retake if necessary and more time to worry about the scores that could be. However, another way to look at it is more time to open up the prep books and Khan academy lessons to improve the score before you have to retake it in the first place.
Time to Improve Mental Health!
Before spring break, life felt like it was moving a million miles a minute. The strain put on students is significant. One week of spring break is a good quick fix, but the extended time to practice self-care, and the flexibility of online school is a perfect opportunity to bolster one’s emotional well-being.
Overall, nobody can deny things are different. But different is not inherently bad. There are good and bad things about social distancing like there are good and bad things about summer, winter, spring, and fall. Different seasons call for different ways of looking at things, so might as well look at them through the lens of optimism.