This year has been an untraditional one for many students, faculty, and staff who are a part of our University of Massachusetts community. Making the shift to remote learning did not come easy, but with time it has become a new normal. Being in my hometown — especially during the summer and fall semester, has pushed me to do more outdoor activities. If I could give one piece of advice to other students having a remote semester; it is to get outside or schedule a break in your day to take your mind off of school work.
Hiking and Picnics
I have always loved to go on hikes — especially in Massachusetts where the scenery is surreal. This summer and fall, hiking took up a majority of my time spent outdoors. On warmer days, I would go on small hikes close to my home and plan more rigorous ones on the weekends. This is a great way to get out into nature while taking a break from school and work. My friends and I found hiking to be a great way to have some physical activity but during these long hikes we were able to talk with each other about everything that has been going on this year. It has not been an easy year, but finding an outlet where you can talk and open up about your feelings and frustrations is so helpful! You could also always bring a book with you and find a nice area to sit down and read while you get some extra fresh air.
Picnics are another great way to get outdoors with a friend or two. I have made some of my best memories with these during the semester. I would pack a little basket and be off to a nearby park or take it on a hike. This is one of my favorite ways to spend leisure time — with some good music, food, and company.
However, with the cold weather upon us soon, hiking and picnics may not be the most plausible options. When we shifted to remote learning back in March this year I had some alternative indoor activities to keep me busy.
Cooking + Baking
Cooking after a long day of classes and work can seem like a daunting task. However, it can be a fun activity too! Finding some unique and delicious recipes to replicate can be a fun way to spend some time indoors. I know I have learned how to make my favorite crunchwraps that I miss from Worcester Dining Hall. I have also mastered Frank’s stir fry! While my replicas are not completely the same as UMass Dining they are a close second, and still so tasty.
Shows + Movies
This is probably one that goes without saying but the number of shows and movies I have binged this year is incomparable to any other. With the cold weather and rainy nights, a show to binge or movie night is a nice way to relax, especially with some hot cocoa! So far I have binged some classics, including: The Office, Avatar: The Last AirBender, and Grey’s Anatomy (all fantastic).
This semester is definitely an adjustment for everyone, but with small activities each week it can go a long way in making the lengthy weeks seem approachable! You can always check out the virtual events hosted by UMass too. If you are able to get out before the colder days approach us, I encourage you to do so while being safe — and always mask up!