6 ways to keep learning during a lockdown
The COVID-19 outbreak forced many of us into quarantine — as we know, lockdowns are a good strategy to slow down the spread of the virus. But having to practice social distancing doesn’t mean that our lives are just paused: time keeps flowing and there’s no reason to just sit and wait.
In DNS, we quickly realized that having to be in a precautionary quarantine can be an incredible opportunity to dedicate our complete focus to learning, extending our skills, our knowledge, our understanding and awareness of our topics of interest. To keep you entertained and support you during these difficult times, we have come up with 6 ways to keep learning during a lockdown. We hope it helps and inspires you!
The quiet and absorption you can find in a physical book — one that doesn’t ping you with notifications or tempt you to open a new tab — is priceless. This is the reason why we decided to grant reading the first position among our learning suggestions. Reading has enormous, incredible benefits; it has the power to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world (and of the human mind, and yourself…) while entertaining, inspiring, and deeply touching you.
Whatever your interest and taste, you can always find a book to make you satisfied — or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try picking a book of a genre you normally avoid. Read about journalism, about romance, about fiction, about History and Philosophy or maybe about your favorite athlete’s life: and if you think you don’t like reading, you probably just haven’t found the right book.
Here are some books suggestions:
If you’re interested in Politics, check out:
- “This changes everything” by Naomi Klein
- “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling
- “Behind The Forbidden Door: Travels in Unknown China” by Tiziano Terzani
If you like self-help books, we suggest:
- “The power of habit” by Charles Duhigg
- “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek
- “Presence” by Amy Cuddy
If you’re into classics, you can go for:
- “The Dream of a ridiculous man” by Dostoevskij
- “The Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov
- “Zeno’s Conscience” by Italo Svevo.
Take advantage of online resources
There are thousands of great resources online in all possible fields and formats to keep our brains busy. The current lockdown might be the perfect opportunity to check out some online courses and to find out if they are something for you.
There’s a ton of them you can choose from — but if you’re interested in finding out how we study at DNS, or if you’re looking for some political awareness input, we suggest you check out our online study task “The Shock Doctrine”, based on Naomi Klein’s work.
We found some good Ted talks or articles:
- “How can groups make good decisions?”
- “5 effective exercises to help you stop believing your unwanted automatic thoughts”
- “The nerd’s guide to learning everything online”
Alternatively, you can take advantage of Youtube. Some good channels to learn are:
“Culture is not a profession for the few: it is a condition for everybody, which completes the existence of man”. Truer words have never been spoken. We are all cultural beings. Part of our identities — whether we realize it or not — is nothing but a result of us being immersed in a randomly assigned precise moment and place of Human History. Would you be the same person, have the same opinions and feel the same things if you were born in another corner of the world? We believe not.
And since, as we established, you have a culture, you may as well break its surface and dig deep into it — we promise, it’s an incredibly enjoyable and enriching process!
Start from your favorite field: you can pick any of the Arts — Cinematography, Visual Arts, Music, Literature… Then pick a random moment in history that you find interesting, and get investigative. You’ll soon notice how fascinating ideas and personalities influenced the course of events throughout history; you’ll also come across some extraordinary, astonishing stories.
If you’re interested in this but honestly don’t know where to start, we suggest you investigate on 1920’s Surrealist movement, whose goal was to liberate thought, language, and human experience from the oppressive boundaries of rationalism: you can research:
- Breton or Eluard for Literature
- Miro, Magritte, Dali and Frida Khalo if you’re interested in painting
- Bunuel’s “Un Chien Andalou” if you are into cinematography
Alternatively, you can also decide to “get cultural” by simply checking out one of those amazing online lists — for example, try googling “100 albums to hear before you die”.
Let’s not forget that culture is also in suffering from Covid-19 crisis: Unesco stated that around 60.000 museums are facing full, partial or eventual closure around the world. You can consider supporting the cultural institutions by donating your time or your money.
Become politically aware and active
In a time when a global crisis is taking up all the media attention, it is also beneficial to educate ourselves about other world issues troubling society. The wide variety of other serious problems do not disappear just because we are facing a new, more urgent one — world hunger, environmental crisis, injustice and inequality still very much exist and require our attention and effort.
To keep yourself informed and active about the big issues of our times, get involved in https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/
You can also check TFF – The Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research, an independent think tank, a global network that aims to bring about peace by peaceful means. It inspires a passion for peace from the grassroots to the corridors of power.
It is also a good time to get properly informed about the political scene of your own country, gain awareness on your political orientation and start to formulate an idea on who to support when the next elections come up.
Reflect and redefine
Having time for ourselves is a prerequisite to self-reflection and redefining goals. You can use this forced pause to reassess the direction in which you are going and evaluate if you are on the right track or need a change. Is your current lifestyle making you happy, or are you not living up to your full potential and desires?
Besides reflecting and gaining awareness on yourself, your personality and your current lifestyle, it might be a good idea to dedicate some time to digest what you learned (by following our previous suggestions). It is important to let the new information sink in, to relate it to other knowledge you already own, and surely to formulate your own, informed and thoughtful opinion on the topic.
While reflecting and redefining, it might be useful to write things down, by maybe starting a journal: writing about your days and your thoughts will help put your experiences in perspective and let you look back later on what this unique time in history has meant.
Share your new knowledge
The quick worldwide spread of the coronavirus is showing us that what we share is much more powerful than what keeps us apart, for better or for worse. All people are inescapably interconnected, and the more we can come together to solve our problems, the better off we will all be.
We couldn’t avoid ending this article by reminding you of the importance of sharing knowledge. By connecting with others and creating discussions, you’ll come across new and interesting views and perspectives; you’ll spark interest and spread thoughts, giving other people the chance to learn and reflect on what you find captivating, too.
You can use this forced pause to reassess the direction in which you are going and evaluate if you are on the right track or need a change. Is your current lifestyle making you happy, or are you not living up to your full potential and desires?
To choose the path of teaching took me some time, I must say. It started on my very first 1st of September, this is the day when the school year starts in Lithuania. I simply loved it. And I am not talking about the lessons and tests, but about all the kinds of people I got to interact with and about the learning process that was happening there, somehow in between lessons most of the time. Though I was in love with the school and Summer holidays always seemed too long of a break, I never thought I will become a teacher. It is now, when I reflect, I see lots of sense in my actions and choices that led me to choose this profession.
Imagine you had to make a list, a catalogue, of all that exists. Where would you start?
You would probably look around, and start to name or to write down everything that you see or that comes to your mind. Soon, you would come across some dilemmas, and start to notice that it is not always so easy to establish what exists and what doesn’t. Do feelings exist, since they are not seen in the material world but just experienced internally? Probably yes, you would say. But then, do fictional characters exist, since they are not seen in the material world but just experienced mentally? This is a bit more challenging. Another dilemma: is a chair something that exists on its own? Or is it rather nothing but the sum of the pieces of wood that it is made of? Then maybe we shouldn’t include chairs on our catalogue of all that exists, it is enough to write ‘wood’. But following this line of thoughts, isn’t wood just a sum of molecules, which in turn are just a sum of atoms? Shouldn’t we then just write ‘atoms’ in our list? As you might have observed, the catalogue is very much subject to interpretation: a particle physicist’s catalogue will probably end up looking very different from your very own catalogue.