Let’s be real: COVID has taken away so much from our normal life. It’s hard to really define what “normal” is right now. Are we currently living the “new normal,” as so many individuals refer to it, or is there more to come and this is only the beginning? Aside from all the uncertainties and cynicism of our current public health crisis, there are definitely still things to look forward to this coming semester. A lesson I learned this past summer was don’t stay cooped up in your room! Youth anxiety about coronavirus is rising, and staying trapped in the safety of your room with your PJs on all day, though it sounds nice, will be consequently detrimental to your mental and physical health–trust me. Instead of succumbing to isolation, disconnection, and discontentment, why not seek activities that will boost your happy chemicals and are safe to engage in?
This semester will surely be looking unusual, as clubs, social events, and day to day activities are limited. With campus life and academics starting to pick up, it’s getting harder and harder to coordinate safe activities with friends and find time to loosen up, unwind, and just have fun. But, fret not! The list I have compiled here will be at your convenience if you start running out of corona-friendly activities with your friends. Read on!
- Stargaze at the Observatory
Located in the middle of Maine, our college campus is fortunate enough to be free from constant light pollution. I’m not sure if you’ve ever stared at the star for a prolonged period of time in the evening, but the night skies are so clear and starry! Look out for a cloudless night, bring a blanket, and hike up to the observator to spend a peaceful evening under the stars. Maybe even stir up some hot chocolate for an extra cozy time.
- Walk the Trails in Quarry Road
Have you ever felt super refreshed after a long nature walk? That’s because enduring long walks in nature can help you heal the mind and body. Might be just me, but I feel like Quarry Roads is one of the most slept on places near campus! Frankly, I have always only associated Quarry Roads to some kind of a nebulous location somewhere by the Arboretum, but I was completely mistaken. Walking through the meandering trails is reposeful, undisturbed by our nuisances and predicaments. I guarantee that you will come back to campus feeling rejuvenated and motivated to carry on with the rest of your day.
- Picnic (or Swim!) at the Hume
Warm weather will only last for so long! Before the brisk winter wind starts traveling down south, take a weekend trip to the Hume with fruit, a cheeseboard, and some PB and Js for a sweet and classic picnic. Additionally, what better way to celebrate good weather than to dive into the lake and swim. Again, Maine weather can be so unpredictable. Better swim while you can, right?
- Play Tennis
If you have ever seen any of the charts that rank activities and their respective COVID-19 risk levels, then you know playing tennis is categorized in level 1, the low risk bracket. Not only can you be socially distanced, but you can also get in your daily 30 minutes of exercise. Nevermind running on the treadmill– pick up some tennis rackets and explore the tennis courts at the new AC.
- Attend SPB and Campus Life Events
Nothing interesting yet? It’s ok, I’m not offended. In that case, why not check out the SPB and Campus Life Events? From food trucks, to concerts, to arts and crafts, SPB and the Campus Life team is always coming up with new, exciting, and safe activities for you and your buddies each week. They are honestly super fun and organized in a safe way, so keep your eyes peeled for the next email they send out!
- Road-trip to Nearby National and State Parks
Book a weekend and road trip up to Sugar Loaf or Acadia. If you haven’t been, our national parks are beautiful, and spending some time in nature is arguably one of the best ways to destress and relax. From hiking to painting to just getting off campus, this corona-friendly activity should definitely make it into your next weekend plans.
- Order Takeout from ‘Kuya (or elsewhere!) and Dine Outdoors
I am obviously biased–Mirakuya is uh-mazing, duh–but you should feel free to choose your favorite local restaurant in Waterville and eat outdoors. Not only is it a refreshing break from scrappy boxed and plastic wrapped dining hall food on campus, but also a great way to support local Watervillian businesses! It’s getting chilly in the evenings, and Maine weather will definitely kick in when you least expect it, so don’t miss out on this fun activity while the tail-end of summer is still holding up.
- Paint on Miller Lawn
The sunsets on Miller Lawn are absolutely breathtaking. Take a break from social media perusing and bring out a canvas (or paper) and some paints (or colored pencils) and capture the moment. Perhaps you’ll be so proud of your little artistic creation that you’ll have a new addendum to your dorm room.
- Movie Night with or without Netflix Party
You’re probably familiar with this one already, but I’ll say it again– movie night! Nothing beats watching a movie in the comfort of your own dorm with the company of your friends after a relentless day of classes. Watching movies is my personal favorite way to unwind, and I promise it won’t disappoint you too. Pick a movie from Netflix or from any other streaming device, invite some friends over (remember to limit it to the COVID-19 guidelines for indoor gatherings), bring some snacks, and sit back and relax. Alternatively, if there’s too many people involved, try using Netflix Party and stream movies remotely!
- Bake with your Roommates
Looking for some quality roommate bonding time? If you’re living in a downtown apartment or in one of the dorms with kitchens (i.e Mary Low), baking with your roommates is the perfect evening activity, simultaneously limiting yourself to only the people you’re living with. Make use of those facilities and bake some tasty treats!
And, remember: wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance!