In the rush and anxiety of the last couple of weeks, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to sit down and write and reflect on everything that’s happened recently, and what the weeks to come will bring. No doubt like many of you I have experienced a range of emotions over the last few days, including real sorrow at having to say goodbye to you all so soon and so urgently. In such a short space of time, I have come to know many of you very well - I’ve learned about your family, your pets, your hobbies, your dreams for the future. Like many of you, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Like many of you, I cried.
And now, here we are, scattered across the world trying to cope with this profound change in our circumstances as best we can. Here in the UK, they are talking about this period of “social distancing” lasting for some months - a truly terrifying thought for those of us who gain our energy from other people. Yet, already, people are thinking up ingenious and inspirational tips to keep us all connected. Below are just a few things you can do from the comfort of your computer.
Stay in touch!
Many of you have told us in your emails and social media posts that you had a great time in the UK even though it was cut short! We want to hear your stories! Next week we will be launching our photo and video competition - and there will be prizes! We’re also looking for people who’d like to blog or vlog about their experiences for us. If you’re posting on social media make sure you tag us!
We know you’re all getting online to continue your studies remotely - I hope that’s all going well! Now that you’re all on Zoom we hope to run our usual check-ins with you virtually, and are also looking to host some events with you all, including coffee mornings, a Talk of the Town and, if people are interested, an open mic event.
We’re hoping to compile recommendations of how you’re spending your time (outside of your studies, of course!) while all our usual hangouts and activities are closed. Can you recommend any good apps for getting fit or learning a language? Have you read a brilliant book or watched an amazing movie that you think everyone should read/watch? If you’re still looking for ideas then here are some to get you started - please share yours!!
Join a Choir
This sounds like the last thing you can do while cooped up in your own home, but virtual choirs seem to be springing up everywhere! If you’d like to join a British-based choir (though of course the virtual world is borderless!) I’ve just joined this one.
Again, if your gym has shut or your usual sports team has ceased practice for the foreseeable future this sounds impossible! But there are apps and YouTube videos to suit every level and every taste - many of them free! Take up yoga, ballet or take a hardcore workout!
Tour a museum
At this point I can hear you all going “Oh, COME on!” But a lot of museums and galleries - including some of those you were maybe hoping to visit while you were in Europe - are offering virtual tours. While it’s not the same as being there, at least you can avoid the crowds!
Learn a new skill
The opportunities for online learning are endless! Now that you’re a Zoom pro, why not have a look at what else you can learn alongside your studies? There are plenty of free apps and videos to help you learn languages (I am going to finally get around to learning American Sign Language), or why not finally watch those guitar tutorials you bought years ago?
Look after your mental health
Despite all the camaraderie, this can still feel like a very stressful time, and it’s important you look after your mental health. In recognition of this, the MHFA England are providing additional tips and tools to help you cope with what is likely a drastic change in lifestyle. Please also don’t forget that you can reach out to your PA or any member of Arcadia staff for help and support - we may be an ocean away now, but we’re still here for you.
We look forward to seeing your photos, videos and social distancing tips! See you online!