Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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this isolation presents an opportunity to learn anything - old sheet music or family recipes

When I was preparing to write this column, it occurred to me that I was in a strange limbo between premature graduation and matriculation. I didn't feel very much like a student. So how was I supposed to write a Student Column?PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - SPURR

Then I realized how ridiculous I'd been; really, I haven't stopped learning since March 13. No, I'm not "going to class" or submitting any more essays. I don't have to fulfill Online P.E. like some of my long-distance friends do. (Thank goodness.) And I'm graduating in a week. But education has followed me in plenty of ways. Time away from education has led me, ironically, back to education.

When I venture out of the house, I try to embrace the curiosity that accompanies observation. It's a little childish: what's that kind of leaf? How does a snail sense that I'm close by? (How does it retract what I think are its eyes?) Why are these flowers blooming later than others? Which species are flourishing more now that our human footprint has shrunk dramatically? I've missed that curiosity that was often squashed by tests and studying. My computer's search history is now full of articles about owls and ferns.

Isolation has presented an opportunity to learn better practices, too. Previously I'd heard the phrase "self-care" conflated with habits like procrastinating and eating whatever I wanted. In hindsight, it's clear that those habits weren't self-caring at all. If anything, they were self-destructive. But now I'm learning how to reconfigure routines to truly take care of myself and my environment. Running has become a daily staple. Meals are times to value the closeness of family, not pit stops between school and homework. Chores aren't so much chores as they are acts to support family members or as my mom has jokingly termed us, "roommates."

More generally, this isolation presents an opportunity to learn anything, whether that comes in the form of a history textbook or a sci-fi novel or old sheet music or family recipes or podcasts or Wikipedia rabbit holes. To me, that opportunity is special and I'm going to make the most of it.

Penelope Spurr is one of two Laker Notes columnists.


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