How to Know Where You Are – Student Advice Column

How do I get my little brother to stop killing me in Fortnite?

-Tilted Towers

 

Dear Tilted Towers,

There’s an easy fix to this. Drop Fortnite. Fortnite sucks. Play Minecraft instead. Minecraft is, and will forever be, a million times better than Fortnite.

 

 

I always wear PJ bottoms and sweatpants for my Zoom classes, and it’s pretty great. Is there any reason I should ever wear normal pants again?

-Cozy Forever

 

Dear Cozy Forever,

Maybe, after all of this is over, society will decide loungewear is totally acceptable all of the time because nobody will want to give up their comfy wardrobe. I don’t think that would be a problem. 

However, lots of people (myself included) feel more productive wearing slightly less comfortable clothes. There is no actual reason for this; it’s just how it is. Getting dressed makes you feel like you have something important to do. Give it a try, and see if you feel more motivated in jeans. If not, then stay cozy!

 

 

Time feels meaningless now. Entire days pass and it feels like I’m just stuck here indefinitely, floating in vertigo. It’s hard to want to get up in the morning, and even harder to find the motivation to do the massive amounts of work teachers are piling on us… I just have no motivation to do anything now that I’m home all the time. Do you have anything that would help with this?

-Stressed, Compressed, and Under Duress

 

Dear Stressed, Compressed, and Under Duress,

I understand your dilemma completely. Everything feels strange and different when you’re cooped up in your house all day. What I recommend is creating a set routine to follow that gives every day some structure. Another thing that helps, and something I will go over later, is getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

While the world may seem uncontrollable now, if you manage to create a routine, it will help you shape and take control of the chaos. One of the key things to remember when the world feels overwhelming is that you can’t focus on what you can’t control, but instead on what you can. While things may seem uncertain and you can’t single-handedly stop the pandemic, you can still control how you react to these situations and how you take care of yourself, which is exactly why a routine is so important. In times like these, when no physical events call for attendance, it’s good to make some.

First, set a time to wake up every morning and adhere to it. While it’s easy to tell yourself how your classroom is only a few feet from your bed, it’s not good to get used to slacking when it comes to starting the day. I like to get up early when I can and either go for a morning jog or do some yoga. (If you’re not a morning person, this part of the routine can easily be moved to the afternoon.) Exercise helps you wake up and starts the release of pleasurable endorphins from your brain, which will ultimately help you focus in class, lower headaches, and help you sleep, not to mention stretch when you’ve been sitting in a chair all day.

After I’ve showered, dressed, and eaten breakfast, I like to have a nice pot of tea every morning during class, a perfect example of a solid, repetitive action that can help you ground yourself in time. Attend your morning classes then make sure to have a nice, balanced lunch. It’s easy to substitute real food for snacks without a scheduled lunch break, so make sure you eat good, balanced food and limit the number of snacks you have each day. Finish your classes, and then allocate the rest of your time between free time and any extra time needed for homework. Having set times to do schoolwork should also help you manage your workload. Now is a great time to take up new hobbies, if only as a way to distract from the absence of normality. I, personally, have taken up woodcarving. Finally, finish the day off with dinner, some relaxation time in the evening (or more homework if you’re in eleventh grade), and make sure to go to bed at a constant, reasonable hour.

While all routines differ depending on the person, this is an easy outline to tweak to fit your preferences. While there may not be much we can do during these uncertain times, it’s good to keep yourself centered and calm, and a daily routine can definitely help. I hope you stay safe and I hope you can find some semblance of normalcy even within the heart of this chaos.

 

 

My family has stopped using any manners at all! They drink orange juice from the bottle and never set the table and wear pajamas 24/7. I wish they would try and maintain some normal standards, but I can’t make them care because we’re all stuck in! 

-Helpless Inmate

 

Dear Helpless Inmate,

Unfortunately, none of us can control our families. Trust me, I’ve tried. It’s the curse of a teenager to be mature enough to know how we want things, but not old enough to decide how things actually are. Everyone seems to have their own ideas about quarantine etiquette; short of social-distancing yourself from your family members and shutting yourself up in your room, there’s no way to really impose house rules if your family doesn’t see the point. Try to take time for yourself and stay sane. We all wish sometimes that we were captaining our own quarantine ship!

 

 

“Happy Birthday” is a stupid song and always gets stuck in my head. What else can I do to make sure I’m washing my hands for the right amount of time?

-Squeaky Clean

 

Dear Squeaky Clean,

Good for you, washing those hands! Instead of Happy Birthday, you could shout-sing the chorus from Mr. Brightside (bonus points for bouncing up and down, school-dance style). For a more intellectual option, recite Walt Whitman’s To Think of Time to yourself. By the end, you’ll be very, very clean.