opinion

OPINION: Here’s some helpful, or not, ways to stay busy during quarantine



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A student's computer showing coding practices sits on a bed. Christian Sayers

Whether you want to or not, you’re probably reading this from home. More than 238 million Americans across 35 states have been urged to stay home as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

After weeks of binging Netflix and baking bread, you might be running out of things to do. And it’s not likely we’ll be leaving our homes for a month or longer. But don’t worry. This columnist is here to offer some very important suggestions on how to keep busy.

Here are several ways you can avoid monotony during the stay-at-home period:

Learn to code

The future will be written in binary. 

Artificial intelligence is already encroaching on human turf such as writing literature erotica and inventing colors. When the chrome overlords rise, will you say you stood idly by?

Learn to code so you can instead program them. I’m already preparing by practicing my C++, and you should be too.

Sure, Joe Biden thinks you should learn to code to be competitive in the global marketplace. But the stakes are much higher. Spend this quarantine learning to code so that when the robot apocalypse comes you can claim your rightful place as an ally of the machines.

Start a small business, then have your small business investigated for price gouging

If you're in the Kelley School of Business and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, this activity is for you.

Take inspiration from Noah Colvin, the Tennessee man who bought 17,700 hand sanitizer bottles, sold them for up to $70 a bottle and is now being investigated for price gouging.

Colvin interviewed with local news in a T-shirt that read “Family man, family business.” Like Colvin, you too can be a small business owner.

Kelley students will gain valuable supply chain management experience while hoarding much needed supplies, and law and public policy majors will have a leg up on others with law aspirations.

Price gouging is a criminal offense in many states, so you’ll already have courtroom experience.

Become a “reply guy”

Are you addicted to social media? Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell you how it’s bad for you. I mean it is, but by now you’ve learned this piece is pure chaotic energy. Instead, why not take that addiction to the next level by becoming a “reply guy.”

What’s a reply guy, you ask? The term, which originally referred to creepy men on Twitter, expanded to include anyone who frequently responds to their favorite accounts with strong, unsolicited opinions.

You can be a reply guy to anyone you want: the president, Alex Rodriguez, the Indiana Daily Student, Dolly Parton. It's perfectly normal behavior. IDS editor Tom Sweeney, for example, moonlights as a reply guy to statistician Nate Silver. Find a hobby or celebrity, get those thumbs moving and give those blue check marks a piece of your mind.

Play “Animal Crossing” like an adult

If you’re active on Twitter, you’ve likely been exposed to the video game “Animal Crossing.” The newest iteration of this Nintendo classic, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” tasks you with slowly building an island paradise for you and your fellow villagers.

But that isn’t enough for some people.

No, some people can’t appreciate the game's slow, methodical pace. Instead players change the time and date on their gaming device to skip ahead days at a time and immediately unlock long-term upgrades.

Play it like an adult. Log on for a little bit, tend to your island and then come back tomorrow. I’ve been playing this way and can assure you it’s just as enjoyable.

Or start an in-game religion like the Trash Church of Danny Devito. Just no time hacks, I’m begging you.

Start writing

While in quarantine, William Shakespeare wrote "King Lear," and Isaac Newton invented calculus and studied gravity. 

Now is the time to develop your magnum opus, standing among the great rhetorical arguments of our day, such as “Is cereal a soup or a salad?” or the completely correct Midwestern Power Rankings.

Seriously. 

Join me in writing through the pandemic. Pen a letter to the editor. Record your perspective for the Indiana Historical Society. Start writing a “plague journal,” and submit it to IU Archives. Years from now, you can look back through your writing and remember this moment— from somewhere other than your house.

Christian Sayers (he/him) is a senior studying mathematics and economics. He hopes to someday own a large rabbit.

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