It’s not every day that we find ourselves in the constant position of uncertainty we are in now.
Question marks are hanging over internship opportunities, summer programs and even the fall semester like a giant storm cloud that shows no sign of blowing away any time soon.
We’re not supposed to leave our houses often — when we do, we have to wear respirator masks to ensure our safety — and all of our classes are now online.
It can be easy to act as though we’re just along for the ride, waiting for everything to go back to normal, because so much is out of our control.
But I advise the opposite.
Now is the perfect time to take life by the reins and explore beyond the path you thought you were taking.
Pick up a new hobby — binge-watching Netflix doesn’t count — or continue to grow in an area you’ve always wanted to.
Take this time to learn or enhance a skill. Maybe it’s relevant to your major and future career plans, or maybe it’s for fun. Either way, taking the initiative can pay off in a number of ways.
If you’re concerned with jobs or internships, developing a proficiency in a skill relevant to your area of work or study gives you a competitive advantage. It can reflect ambition that employers are looking for in job candidates.
If you’re just looking for something fresh to learn, a new hobby or skill can provide the perfect distraction from work, school or that unshakable feeling of uncertainty.
The internet has never looked as vast as it does now, and a quick search provides an endless supply of tutorials and guides in every area you can think of.
And the catalog of tutorials will continue to increase the longer we’re stuck inside. Think of all the experts and professionals who still want to share their knowledge now that such a large population is seeking new information.
My quarantine experience, for example, has provided the perfect opportunity to improve my music making skills.
As a journalism major, a lot of my life revolves around writing. Whether it’s an email, an article for The Brown and White or an assignment for one of my journalism courses, I’m always writing.
From my freshman year to my sophomore year to my junior year, the amount of writing I’ve done has continued to increase.
Unexpectedly, though, so has my passion for making music.
Last semester, especially, I noticed that I was spending less time making music than I would have liked because my school work was the priority.
I was never able to find that perfect balance of setting aside time for school work and my hobbies because “hobby time” would often end up becoming “school work time.”
Now that we’re in quarantine, things have changed. The pandemic was the first time in a while I gave myself a good hard look in the mirror and asked myself, “What do you actually enjoy doing?”
Maybe, without anything else to do, I’ve been more efficient in completing my assignments, or maybe the extra time had been there all along without me noticing.
Either way, I’m making some of my favorite music to date, and I’m not close to stopping.
The internet has also allowed me to connect with artists and music fans I would have never otherwise met, and I have formed professional relationships that are already providing me with previously unthinkable opportunities — such as getting a placement on the album of someone I have never seen in person.
Investing time in an activity or skill that you enjoy will never feel like work, and it will make the days pass by so much quicker. Learning that next process or getting to that next checkpoint makes it all the more worthwhile.
In my case, creating music allows me a chance to be in control of what I’m doing, and no pandemic or online semester can stop me from being creative.
Noah Jalango is the sports editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]