Now Trending: Boredom

Approximately two weeks ago when LSE announced that the university would be moving online due to COVID-19, questions began trending amongst LSE students:

1. Will my spring week and/or summer internship be cancelled?

*While frantically writing an email to HR to confirm that ______ is still on.*

2. Why is London still chilling?

*While continuing to frequent Mayfair night clubs.*

3. Where are you ‘corona fleeing’ to?

*While considering booking a vacation to the Caribbean for the next month because airplane prices really have gotten THAT cheap, even for a student budget.*

Jokes aside, the LSE community has now dispersed around the globe as the world comes to a standstill with quarantine measures rolling out almost as fast as we once spun that roll of toilet paper, back when we could still find it. I have definitely struggled in the past weeks to find the right balance between social media and productivity. I have been pushing myself to enter a quest for new ideas. However, between the time I spend trying to balance these two things, like other university students now at home, I have spent a lot of time with my family. 

I was on the phone with my grandmother the other day as I drove back from the most thrilling activity of my week: shopping at Costco. She had calculated that with her current stockpile of toilet paper, she and my grandfather would last exactly 38 more days. My dad decided that my grandmother, being his favorite mother-in-law – as if he had more than one – deserved to have a single piece of toilet paper mailed to her. The sticky note attached reads “more supplies will be shipped in September.” My grandparents will now last 38.2 days with toilet paper. 

Apart from looking forward to grocery shopping – my most exciting outing of the week – I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time on Houseparty. Much like a real party, I have been finding myself speaking to people that I would normally only talk to after downing two – no, three – strong drinks. Much like a real party, we both pretend it never happened the next day.

This week I got so bored that I had time to think about self-improvement. I challenged myself to not touch my phone for the week: people can reach me through email and email only… and LinkedIn. Without my phone serving as constant entertainment, I have had to search for some new hobbies. I started playing the piano again – by playing again I mean hitting half of the keys of the only song I can remember – and pushing myself to read more than I normally do.

Yesterday, I came across an article by the BBC that talked about the silver lining to “an upside-down world.” I wanted to share its discussion of ‘reversal techniques’ with a friend, so I emailed her. Reversal techniques are a type of exercise entrepreneurs often use to come up with new ideas. The exercise goes as follows. You take a given assumption associated with something and flip it. The example in the article references Uber. Previously, “taxi companies own cars” was essential for a company to operate in the industry. Now, we all accept that taxi companies do not need to own cars.

My dare to you, and to myself, for this period of quarantine, is to think about and discuss not people and events, but ideas. We all have good ideas inside of us and it just takes a good dose of boredom and a dash of motivation to get them out. 

Don’t let yours go to waste.

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