Blog of Andrés Aravena

Three weeks of no-holiday

16 March 2020

So, all Universities in Turkey are closed for at least three weeks, as a way to contain the spread of COVID-19. Many students went “home”, back to their hometowns with their family. Hopefully, they will not be carrying the virus, otherwise we will see cases in small towns.

Despite the way it looks, this is not a holiday. It is just time without classes, when we must study at home. We may call this “derssizlik”. It is important that you keep your mind focused on the courses. Research Alexander, Karl L., Doris R. Entwisle, and Linda S. Olson. “Schools, Achievement, and Inequality: A Seasonal Perspective.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 23, no. 2 (June 2001): 171–91. doi:10.3102/01623737023002171. shows that the main difference between good and bad students is not how much they learn during classes, but how much they forgot during holidays. The main predictor of success in life is not intelligence or talent, it is work discipline.

It is easy to fall into the trap of doing “nothing”, watching TV, and read social media. But easy is not wise. You better do not disconnect from the “student” mindset. It will be harder to return to class —and midterms— if you do not keep studying. There is never enough time for doing the important things. Use your time wisely.

Define specific goals for the next 3 weeks. Think why you are studying Molecular Biology, and how it will improve your life in the future. Think what would be the result that would bring you closer to your life goals. For example, you may decide to review your class notes and see what parts are not clear. You may read new books, or follow an online course, or write something (a blog?).

Then, organize your time using a calendar. I suggest using Google Calendar, but use the one that makes you comfortable. It can be pen and paper. You can see my calendar in my contact page.

Assign time to every “project”, that is, every course you need to study, every activity with a specific goal. You can include time to be with friends and family (but remember to keep social distance). Assign a total amount of time to every project, and then distribute it through the week. If plans change (and they always do) you can move time blocks, but not delete them.

Avoid watching TV. It is easy to watch, but gives no benefit to you. TV channels do not care about you; they care about selling publicity. TV gives you the smallest amount of information that will keep you hooked to the screen. They make us dumb so they can sell us stuff we don’t need.

If you need a timer, maybe these videos will help you:

In general it is also wise to avoid Facebook and social media, but in these days it may be the only way to be in contact with friends and family, and keep social distance. Just do not get hypnotized by the endless flow of stories. Social media companies work hard to make us addicted to their websites, so they can make us dumb and sell us stuff we don’t need. If you use social media, put a timer.

Being at home all time can be stressful, like being trapped in a submarine, an underground mine or a spaceship. People isolated in China suggest to write a diary, take action to fight coronavirus anxiety.

Better read a book. If you still want to watch something in the screen, here is a list of recommended videos:

Enjoy time with your family, or alone, and take care of yourself.