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How to Stand Out during a Pandemic

High school students can’t work, volunteer, or participate in extra-curricular activities due to stay-at-home orders.

As a result, they’re missing opportunities to explore new interests, develop passions and skills, and make in-person connections for educational and professional development.

But, just because the “in-person” interaction isn't allowed during the quarantine, that doesn’t mean students CAN’T still grow, learn, explore interests, and connect with people.

Here are ways for high school students to get ahead, and resume-build, in spite of the pandemic. Heck, middle school students can do these things too!

Build a positive digital footprint. Create a LinkedIn, Pinterest, IG, or YouTube presence. Make sure to keep your image, messages, and all activities smart, polished, and professional at all times.

Network online. Learn about careers and educational opportunities. Connect by email with new people, and ask them to talk to you about what they do. People love talking about themselves! Ask questions and make connections with new people. Begin with an email (yes, email, imagine that?! Craft professional emails, and then follow up with phone conversations.)

Start an initiative in your community. Who needs help? How can you make a difference? This is a way to continue volunteer work. It’s a way to take initiative and make an impact of others’ lives. Give back. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to make a difference for someone. You’ll feel good, and so will they.

Take your school clubs and music groups online. Set up virtual meetings for DECA, Model UN, the school newspaper, chamber choir, and Chess Club. Student Council can find ways to reach the student population using the online networks and social media. Find a way to continue your leadership development and interest groups from home. Just because you’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you have to stop connecting with like-minded peers about the things you love.

Reach out to your boss in your summer job, volunteer role, or internship. Find out if you can help them and their business, remotely. Maybe take over their social media. Help them with tech issues they’re having. Help with deliveries of products (by bike! or by car, if you’re allowed and able). Be creative. Many businesses have had to pivot to stay alive, and many business owners could use your help. Whether or not you get paid is not the main motivation here; think of who you can help, while building your skill set and experiences/resume.

Start a new small business. You’ve got time now to think of new initiatives. Why not add a small business, or a passion project to your resume? Think outside the box. There are tons of free resources on the internet to help you get started.

Explore your interests and find new passions: take a free online course.

Learn new skills. Learn how to cook, sew, or play an instrument. If you’ve seen the classic comedy “Groundhog Day” - you’ll know that we’re living our own version of it, during the pandemic. Remember the lead became a concert pianist? Think of what you can become the master of during this time we’re forced to stay at home.

Research post-secondary pathways: university, college, the workforce, military, or a gap year? Now’s a great time to look at all the possibilities! Enjoy your exploration! It’s exciting.

Read. Pick a time of day, every day. Read. Enough said.

Start a journal. This is a wonderful way to process your feelings, organize your thoughts, and document the events of this historical time. You'll love reading it later. And someone else might, too (think: Anne Frank).

All of the above suggestions are great ways to spend time, getting ahead and standing out while you’re stuck at home right now.

But, these are the top 2 priorities for all students right now:

#1 priority: SELF CARE. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, mental health focus.

#2 priority: STAY ENGAGED WITH E-LEARNING — your teachers, and course requirements matter. You can get ahead and accomplish good marks this year.

Students who can tell an interesting story when they’re asked: “what did you do during the pandemic” will definitely stand out from the crowd.

(*and I think university admission teams, employers, and scholarship panels will all ask this question in their interviews over the next couple years. What's your answer going to be?)

Contact Jane at Right Track to find out about how she's helping high school students stand out right now.

One-to-one and small group workshops: SHINE BRIGHT starting May 12th.

For students currently in Grades 8-12.

3-module program, held on Zoom.


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