My students know my constant refrain, “Stay flexible,” when it comes to their gap year. Challenges will always pop up, and no where is this more true than traveling in the covid era. We are lucky enough to be able to move around again, but covid can still pop up on your gap time and disrupt your plans.

If you are reading this and you have covid on program, I’m really sorry. It’s tough to miss days of activities or project time and have to stay by yourself. I’m wishing you a quick recovery and ability to rejoin your project soon!

But let’s get real for a second – you have to fill your time somehow. First step is rest and heal your body. However, if you aren’t too sick and mostly feel antsy, here are some ideas to help you use your time without going stir crazy!

See the checklist below and try to formulate your day by doing something from each category. In addition, check out the suggestions for gap year preparation and see if you can get some more planning done while you have the time.

Keep Your Mind Active

Read a book or watch a movie set in the place you are quarantining – it will help you feel connected and engaged to your place.

Art of Solitude: This book helps you reframe solo time as solitude, not loneliness

Intellectual Binge-ables:

Parts Unknown: Virtual travel opportunity with the late Anthony Bourdain. Netflix.  

America to Me: This doc examines the US educational system by following 12 young artists, scholars, iconoclasts, and athletes. It turns out, students are under a lot of pressure, and tensions run high around racial disparity—even in high school. Amazon Prime.

The Mind, Explained:  Emma Stone hosts this series that dive into the psychological underpinnings of dreams, psychedelics, mindfulness, and even anxiety.  Netflix.

Speed Cubers: This heartwarming doc follows competitive Rubix Cube solvers in their quest for the world championship. Netflix.

Find Time to De-Stress/ Check in with Mental Health

Set aside some time for yoga, meditation or forest bathing if you are allowed to wander (personal favorite!).

Experiment with apps like Headspace for guided meditation.

Do a mental checklist of the tools in your mental health toolkit that you can employ on your gap year when you’ll face specific challenges.

If you see a counselor or therapist, do a check in during isolation.

Stay Connected

Call or Facetime a friend or family member

Send a letter or postcards!

Organize photos from your phone – delete, save, add to folders (it’s always hard to find time to do this, so here you go!)

Respect Your Space

Tidy your room and any communal living spaces you spend time in.


Get Moving

Engage in your favorite types of exercise on a daily basis – aim for at least 30 minutes every day.

DJ D Nice on Instagram hosts virtual dance parties several days per week. Boogie to DJ D-Nice’s blend of golden-age hip-hop, Nineties R&B, and more recent Top 40 party staples.

Rumble: Free full body workouts.

Dance Church: Body and talent inclusive Wednesday and Sunday dance classes for people who can’t usually do dance classes.

Give Back

Think of some random acts of kindness you can do from home.

Justice in June: Actionable steps to learn about racial justice and take action.

Write thank you notes to people who have helped you get to where you are.

Lean Left VT: Subscribe to this group and receive notifications for single serving election volunteer opportunities (like writing postcards to remind people to vote!).