Taking Advantage of Your Semester Online
Dear Class of 2024,
Twelve months ago, we all had expectations of the new decade bringing the liveliness and glamour of the roaring twenties-and were rightfully shocked when the world was thrown into chaos instead. We have all spent the past year attempting to adjust to the new normal, in which a chore like bi-weekly grocery shopping has somehow become the occasion to pull out your best clothes. Staying at home this first semester has been particularly difficult and it took me a long time to figure out how to stay happy and motivated. I want to take some time to address the work-life balance that everyone preaches about, and I'm going to outline some of the ways I chose life and how you can too!
Tip #1: Make Big Bucks and Spend Big Bucks
Everyone who says money doesn’t buy happiness has clearly not considered whether they would rather be sad in a private jet or economy. Now I can’t promise that my advice will help you buy a car, but it might help you buy items you can’t normally justify splurging on. One of the greatest advantages of staying at home is the access you have to every item you have collected over the past two decades. Some of these items include the un-flattering clothes from the well-meaning aunt, ones that simply don’t fit anymore and even random knick-knacks around the house. Instead of throwing these away, sell, sell, sell! The platform I use is called Poshmark. It's an extremely well-organized website that handles all of the technicalities for you and simply requires you to secure a deal. You can post the items you want to sell on your "closet," share your closet and others' closets to your followers and make money! Poshmark puts the responsibility of shipping costs on the customer and ensures you get your money within three days. The best part is, you can either redeem it into your bank account or use it to buy other items. I have had a blast taking pictures of my clothes, trying to figure out the market and negotiating with customers. Every time I make a sale, not only is my bank account satisfied, but my confidence is soaring for the rest of the day. Trust me when I say you have nothing to lose and so much to gain through this platform!
Tip #2: Get Uncomfortable with your Relationships
Being the only person stuck at home while all your friends seem to be having the time of their life on campus is one of the biggest downsides of staying behind. However, it is also an opportunity to work on deepening all of the relationships in your life and maintaining them in the long run. A game that helped me redefine my relationships and brought me closer to my friends, family and myself was "We Are Not Really Strangers." This game can be played entirely online and is a series of cards that have personal and thought-provoking prompts on them for players to discuss with each other. I'll give you an example of a card: "What do you need to hear right now?" As you can probably tell, it lends to intense conversations in which you will see the people around you in a different light. I should warn you, keep a box of tissues around-you are going to need it! My favourite part about doing this online is that you can hide behind your screen until you get over the initial nervousness and embarrassment. After that point, this game becomes an unparalleled bonding experience. A few personal pieces of advice are to play this game one-on-one, and as most of us don't have money to spend on the game itself, you can screenshot all of the teaser cards they post on their Instagram page @werenotreallystrangers (I have 72 screenshots so far) and follow them for more!
Tip #3: Dance Like No One is Watching (Because They Really Aren’t)
Finally, be silly and do stupid things as often as possible. How many times have you stopped yourself from going to the gym because you thought you had bad form, didn't know how the machines worked or simply didn't think you were strong enough? Which sports, instruments and hobbies have you stopped yourself from learning because you were afraid of other people seeing? The beauty of being at home is that you are the only person who gets to see you fail or make mistakes, there is no one you have to maintain a reputation or image around! Take this time to do the things you are scared of doing and learn how to be confident in yourself. Start following YouTubers and doing at-home workouts, Pamela Reif was my personal favourite. Experiment with different cuisines and diets: I tried tofu for the first time in my life this semester, and now it's a healthy, weekly meal for me. You can dance and sing and be terrible at it until you are comfortable enough with yourself to do it whenever you feel like it, regardless of whether you are alone or not. The goal is not necessarily to become excellent at everything, the goal is to get out of your head and learn how to be confident enough to be happy.
That’s all from me. I hope you all have a productive and safe next semester and enjoy the time you have at home!
Your first-year frosh-representative,