Taking time out to relax, recharge and have some fun is a key part of your University experience, and critical to your academic success. This is especially true in a time when your routines, study habits, and social life may have changed drastically.
COVID-19 may have put a halt to traditional group activities, but the internet has provided plenty of ways to get active, socialise, play games, and even experience some things you've never thought of before.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite digital things to do. From the world’s cutest animals to a surprise meal with friends, it’s easy to be social if you inject some creativity into your online gatherings.
We're bringing the Campus to your Computer
No matter where you're learning from, JCU has a connected community that values sharing, fun, and supporting each other. We've compiled a host of virtual events, from Live(Stream) @ Lunch to guided meditation delivered via Zoom. You can connect with the JCU community from the comfort of your home, and keep up to date with our events at the JCU: Current Students Facebook page!
What else is on?
JCU doesn't dominate the entire internet (yet) and there are plenty of other things to do across cyberspace, from games with your friends, to catching up with some of the coolest cats and kittens around.
Meditate for Mental Health
Tharlam Ling Buddhist Centre is holding meditation and mindfulness sessions on Tuesdays from 7 - 8.15pm that are free for students. These activities can help calm the mind, improve your mental and physical health, and help you perform better in your studies. Find out more or register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the meeting link.
Ten to be Zen
Taking ten to be zen is one of Reach Out's top tips for managing mental health but if meditation and mindfulness doesn't come naturally to you, or you're looking for some more inspiration, there's plenty of free resources online.
Weathering the Storm
"HeadSpace's Weathering the Storm app includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out, however you’re feeling. It’s our small way of helping you find some space and kindness for yourself and those around you" - how HeadSpace describe this great resource they've developed.
The Sydney Opera House has gone digital. Find a weekly line up of incredible live performances, and recordings of some of the venue's best shows.
Virtual Museum Tours
You might be stuck inside, but that doesn't mean you can't learn about everything incredible in the world. Find a virtual museum tour that interests you and learn something new!
Hosted by Alicia Keys with cameos and performances from GRAMMY award winning artists, you'll be #HappyAtHome and starting your weekend right with TIkTok's "Sound Check Friday" (actually our Saturday morning at 10am).
Neighbourhood Sessions is bringing local music to your computer, follow them on Facebook to watch their live streams, or catch up on their old episodes whenever it suits you!
Open Mic Project
Starting from May 1, Open Mic Project is going online! Join their Facebook group to be a part of this awesome initiative, which shines a light on talented local artists from JCU and the local community.
Whether you love animals, or just want some relaxing footage to wind down to after a big day, zoos and aquariums have set up live cams of their animals. You can observe baby Sea Otters being fed, or elephants playing in their enclosure, there's a huge range of cute critters from Sydney Harbour to San Francisco.
Big Cat Rescue
Hey all you Cool Cats and Kittens, it's Carol Baskin here. You can catch up with Joe Exotic's greatest nemesis 24/7 if you haven't had enough Tiger King yet!
Townsville's own Reef HQ has daily online activities and streams. If you were looking at heading out to the Great Barrier Reef, this is the next best things. Checkout the Reef HQ website to find out when the aquarium's next event is being held.
Montery Bay Aquarium
For an Aquarium on the other side of the Pacific, Montery Bay Aquarium in San Francisco has live cams of birds, coral reef exhibits, jelly fish and even adorable sea otters! Check out their website.
San Diego Zoo
Tune into the San Diego Zoo's live cams to checkout the shenanigans their animals get up to while the humans are away. From penguins to pandas, there are plenty of adorable animals to get up close and personal with online.
Australia's own Taronga Zoo in Sydney has their own variety of live cams, including Tigers, Seals, Elephants and more! The zoo hosts their live cams on their website.
Random animal live cams
Explore has an array of live cams covering everything from pandas to puppies. You can head to their website and find scroll through a range of adorable animals at any time.
Embrace the social in social distancing and use technology to hang out with your friends and have a great time.
This Google Chrome extension lets you watch Netflix with friends online. There's even a chat window so you can discuss how excited you are for Stranger Things Season 4 while you watch Stranger Things Season 3.
Nothing says friendship like a Blue Shell on the last lap. Download Mario Kart Tour on Apple or Android and challenge up to six friends. You can even join JCUSA for live games with fellow Townsville and Cairns students.
Don't forget to check in with your friends, whether it's a message, phone call, or group face time, it is important to stay connected with people close to you right now, even if you can't be physically close to them.
Write a Story in the Group Chat
Connect with friends or family by co-writing a story. Set up a group email, text or Messenger conversation and take it in turns to add a sentence. From a FaceTime Theatre Production to a Secret Santa Pot Luck Dinner Delivery, we've got some great ways you can have fun, pass time and stay in touch with your loved ones on our This Is Uni blog.
Physically Distant, Socially Zoomed
On Tuesday nights you can catch up with your fellow JCU students as you cook dinner together over Zoom with the Christian Union JCU shared meal. This is a great opportunity to make new friends while cooking a healthy meal. You probably already have Zoom installed, so you can easily join.
Rec Sessions - Mobile games
If your friends are all tired of you dominating them in Mario Kart, make sure you join the JCUSA Sport Cairns or Townsville group to find out when they're hosting Mario Kart sessions. This is a great way to meet new people and have a great time.
We're confident there are some Muggles out there who are Witches and Wizards at heart, and if you've already read through Harry Potter during your time inside, there are plenty of puzzles to keep you entertained.
Have you finished all your favourite series and need some entertainment to wind down after your long days of study? A new streaming service by the name of Quibi. This new service focusses on mobile-only, snack-sized content to keep you entertained during those lulls in your day.
JCUSA Fitness Live Stream
Staying motivated while you're stuck in your house can be tough. Head to JCUSA's Facebook page to join in on their daily fitness live streams starting at 5.30pm, Monday to Friday or catch up on the replay any time that suits.
Exercise is a great way to kick off your weekend, and our Fitness Friday sessions are here to to take you through some exercise. Follow JCU: Current Students on Facebook, and look out for our Fitness Friday posts every week.
There's a host of free online courses out there, and you can learn just about anything. Whether you want to further your career with LinkedIn Learning, or get your song on while you draw Disney characters, these activities will keep you entertained and teach you something new.
Not just a platform for professionals to connect, LinkedIn also has a massive suite of courses from social media marketing to Photoshop, and leadership skills. This is all fleshed out in transcribed courses with activities and professional videos on LinkedIn Learning, which you can access as a JCU Student.
A second (or third) language is highly valued by just about every employer, and you can learn a new language for free with DuoLingo!
Enter Hell's Kitchen
But not really! Supermarkets are still open, so pick a recipe from Gordon Ramsey's YouTube channel, grab your ingredients and get cooking. A healthy meal will help with study and your wellbeing, plus you get to eat!
There are plenty of sites you can reach that are worthy of your camera, whether it's a smart phone or a DSLR. Take this free photography course and get your Insta on point!
2020 has brought a lot of change, and for some people stress, in a short space of time. If you are feeling overwhelmed, Headspace have put together some tools and information that can help.