With fewer social events and more days stuck at home, one positive aspect of Covid-19 is that you might have more time. While you’re likely still busy with homework, every now and then you might have some spare hours. In this article, I’m proposing 7 things you can do with that time. They offer a lot, whether it be extra cash, a cool ability, or an impressive accomplishment.
1. Learn a new skill.
No matter who you are, it’s nice to have some ability you can practice and hone throughout the day. Think of something you’ve always wanted to do, then start slowly and keep at it. If you have no idea where to start, perhaps ask your friends about their hobbies. I advise that you watch YouTube videos to help you along the way.
For example, a few skills I’ve developed this year are solving a Rubik’s cube, doing a front flip without breaking my neck, and learning to play my favorite songs on the piano. While I wouldn’t brag about knowing how to complete a Rubik’s cube on my resume, these sorts of pastimes are fun and let you focus on something that makes you happy.
2. Join a nonprofit organization.
It may seem daunting to even think about joining a nonprofit, but it is a viable option for a dedicated highschooler looking to make their mark. There are lots of organizations with different missions and for different people, so you’ll find it relatively easy to find one. Many youth get involved in organizations, such as those that provide resources like tutoring and advising, or support for domestic violence victims.
If after your research, you still can’t seem to find one that suits your interests, it might be a sign for you to start your own organization! But make sure you understand the responsibilities of being in charge of one. Find like-minded peers and come up with short-term and long-term goals.
3. Find and apply for scholarships.
Applying for scholarships is the thing everyone knows they need to do, but often can’t find the motivation to start. Here’s a few guidelines to keep you on track. Make a list of each one you’re interested in, then write deadlines for completing them. Start off slow and at your own pace, perhaps finishing one a week. Proper time management will ensure you don’t get too bogged down with essays and applications, but still make strides in applying to scholarships.
Just one per week can have a massive impact on your future. The rewards can stack up and are totally worth the few hours you’d spend completing these scholarships. Apply to as many as you want, and as many as you can. The more you apply to, the likelier you are to win a few, and even a few of the smaller, lesser-known scholarships worth $100 will add up. Make sure to check out Haley Herbert’s scholarship articles!
4. Hone your writing skills.
To some, writing is tricky, unpleasant, and a challenge. To others, it’s their favorite thing to do. Regardless of your feelings on it, we can all improve our writing ability. Such development is important too, for scholarships, applications, and more. Getting better at writing doesn’t have to be completing complicated and boring assignments for school though. You can grow just as much by writing about your passions and interests.
If you’d like to grow in your writing ability, there are many options. You could start a blog, ask an organization if you can write for them, or find some way to share your ideas and advice with the world. You can also just open up a notebook or google document and start writing away. You can make a difference through your words, and at the same time make a difference in your writing prowess.
5. Read a book.
Maybe you don’t like reading, but I advise that you get a book from the library anyway. If you’re apprehensive about going out, there are plenty of e-books to choose from! Pick one you’re interested in, then devote a few hours to reading it. Even if it takes a while, eventually you’ll finish it, and will have new thoughts and perspectives for your time. I just read Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell, which took me four weeks to finish, and I really enjoyed the book. And if you’re already an avid reader, well, is there a better way to spend your quarantine time? Try going out of your comfort zone too.
6. Do research studies.
There are many different research studies you can get involved in that can provide (1) an opportunity to share your thoughts and (2) some money. While the high-paying ones are rare, they are out there. One thing to be cautious of is the flashy survey websites that barely provide any compensation. Two of my favorite organizations to do studies with are The Receipt and 2020 Research, and I can attest that they’re completely legitimate. With the former, I won an iPad, and with the latter I’ve made over $500 from only 4 surveys.
Engaging in research studies is a great way to be rewarded for simply sharing your opinion. You can also find local opportunities to participate in paid research. In my area, there are several labs that always want subjects to come take a few tests for some cash.
7. Work on some awards.
There are lots of civic, community, and leadership awards you could obtain that look fantastic on college applications and resumes. Try researching opportunities or asking around. You’ll be surprised how many options pop up, and not all are that difficult.
One I highly recommend is the Congressional Award. It’s very prestigious and is earned by completing goals in different areas (physical, personal development, exploration, volunteering). There are six different levels of varying difficulty, and you can start at any one you wish. I’m currently working on my Gold Certificate. If you’re interested, you can sign up on their website. Another similar award is the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, which is earned by fulfilling different amounts of community service hours.
The main idea.
Being productive is easy to talk about, but much harder to do. Yet, you can achieve, earn awards, and learn new skills with the time you have! Set specific, timely goals, then be deliberate and keep at it. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll achieve over time, and you’ll thank yourself later when you have a cool talent, an awesome experience to share, and a bustling resume.