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Things to Do in a Strange Time of Uncertainty

Stay safe, look after the people around you, focus on completing your spring courses. That may still leave a lot of bandwidth. Here are some ways to use it:

  1. Take a break from cable/Netflix/Prime and stretch your mind with a free movie from Open Culture: a classic of film history, a film in a language you’re studying (or planning to study), an obscure gem.
  2. Instead of endlessly refreshing the coronavirus news, surf historical newsreel footage.
  3. Channel the frustration about having your education interrupted by writing an email to that teacher or mentor who got you excited about your major. Tell them about how they’ve influenced you and about a current course or project that you’re excited about.
  4. Do some micro-philanthropy with money you’d rather be spending on live music, sporting events, going to the movies, going out to eat: send a few bucks to a local sports program for kids, purchase some music from an independent artist, make a donation to a local foodbank.
  5. Look around your neighborhood, your community, your town, for ways to use the leadership skills that you’d otherwise be cultivating in your RSO. When Visa came to campus last fall, one of their recruiters characterized leadership as little more than “seeing the ball lying on the field, picking it up, and running with it.” There are going to be a lot of balls lying on the field in the weeks ahead.
  6. Shift your energy from other social media channels to LinkedIn. Use this time to fill out your profile. Experiment with lighting and backgrounds to create a professionally appropriate selfie — or get someone sharing your living space to help you. Come up with a LinkedIn headline that speaks to the professional you will one day be — not the student you are. “Connect” with Kirstin Wilcox and Julie Higgs in the HPRC, as well as some of your friends and classmates. Lots of people are trying to figure out what the current health and economic crisis means for the world of work, and you’ll find lots of advice and support there for navigating the professional changes ahead of you.
  7. As long as you’re filling out your LinkedIn profile, might as well work on your Handshake profile as well — it requires a lot of the same information. Handshake remains your go-to for looking for jobs and internships. Keep an eye out as well for virtual events that may be relevant to your interests.
  8. Watch the jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium. (They have a bunch of other cool aquatic webcams,, too.)
  9. Jobs in sales/marketing/client services tend to be low-hanging fruit for humanities majors. If that line of work interests you, getting some experience with CRM (customer relationship management) technology can help. Salesforce, one widely used system, offers free training on their platform.
  10. Recognize your place in history. You have a role in creating the forms that the future will take.
  11. Tear down barriers between your on-campus and off-campus life. Explore ways to keep members of your campus RSO or volunteer involvements in touch and active through social media. Seek out and get involved in local or national  platforms for your political or activist interests.
  12. Learn some new career-relevant skills with LinkedIn Learning (your NetID and login give you free access to this resource).
  13. Use the sudden change to online learning as a way to recognize and optimize your WFH habits. What helps you stay focussed? What kind of schedule/hours produce your best work? How do you best balance the demands of school with the other things requiring your attention? What do’s and don’ts are you learning about online meetings? Chances are that the working world that awaits you is going to be oriented towards flexible and remote work — and the better you understand how to make those conditions work for you, the better prepared you’ll be to step into it.
  14. Start a podcast. NPR has some great training materials to help you do it better.
  15. If you anticipate focusing on your writing skills (in English or in a language you’re studying) in a future job search, start working on your portfolio or writing samples. Create your own website, start writing a blog, go back through old course papers and assignments to find segments that will demonstrate your strengths with the written word. Give yourself some practice in crisis communications by thinking about how you’d make the Covid-19 emails in your email inbox more effective. Draft a think-piece about the movie you think everyone should watch while housebound. Find an online critique partner to exchange work with.