Riddle of the Day 3/27

TODAY’S RIDDLE IS:

I am fragile.
Say my name,
I am broken.

As always, the first correct and the most creative incorrect answers will receive a Townhouse Token. Answer below! Note: we won’t be doing riddles over the weekend, so you can go at this one until Monday!

YESTERDAY’S WINNERS:

Sydni Nadler got in the first correct answer with MEMORIES! As for the most creative incorrect answer, Cindy Y. wins with Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere! You have both been awarded: TOWNHOUSE TOKENS!

Discussion: How to fill my time and stomach

Hi. All in all … I’m quite bored. I love my parents but everyone working from home + to chilly Boston “spring” temperatures = me going a little stir crazy. So, I’ve been trying out some new recipes to pass the time and make use of my mom’s stockpile of groceries (granted the lines in my town get into the grocery stores are pretty long). My recent favorite: vegan banana chocolate chip muffins! Now I’m not vegan, but I promise they are delicious and definitely worth a try (I ate three today…so far). Here is the recipe. 

But help! I’m running out of ideas to make; what are you favorite meals/desserts/snacks/healthy or not?

Patiently awaiting your go-to favorites,

Helena:)

An image of Peer Advisor Ryan

It’s Okay to Hit Mute: A Guide to Staying Mentally Healthy in This Strange Age

Check out the following wisdom from Peer Advisor Ryan!

Currently, there are 112 words on my muted words list on Twitter. I know that number seems rather high, but allow me to explain.

In these strange, strange times in which we’re living, there is no shortage of statements about the coronavirus. There’s the crucial information that comes from doctors, medical experts, and local authorities, of course, but there’s also a glut of responses from just about everybody, even folks who you’re might not terribly interested in hearing from. Every clothing store you’ve ever bought socks from is emailing to communicative its COVID-19 policy; every discrete department and office at GW is sending you the same five tips for containing the virus; and every news outlet is running every conceivable coronavirus story imaginable. This seems only logical, we might think; it’s just what you have to do.

More brightly, there’s also been a deluge of (marginally) more sensitive content among this negativity. There are plenty of cute infographics about how to work from home, or tips for Zoom-based learning, or videos of celebrities admonishing you to practice social distancing.

These things, should they float your boat, can be great. But for me, they felt insufficient, in some way—while it felt nice to feel my sadness and worry be validated, the fact remained that these things left me feeling more negative than if I hadn’t seen them at all. So instead, I did something different: I just muted it all.

Coronavirus. COVID. COVID-19. #coronavirus. #COVID19. #C19. #COVID-19. #COVID_19. #COVID2019. Pandemic. Symptom. Diagnosed. Epidemic. Hand sanitizer. Wash your hands. Quarantine. These are just a few of the words on my long, long list—and it’s an ongoing project, as Twitter users seem to be constantly hopping to new permutations of #COVID19 with each passing day. On top of this, I used the content preferences on my phone to allow me to use my news app for only one minute each day—enough to get major notifications, but not enough to be sucked into a pool of despair. And I couldn’t be gladder about doing it.

Does this mean that I’m contentedly ignoring this issue? No, of course not. I care deeply about the epidemic, especially as an immunocompromised person, and I’ve spoken with my health care providers and keep up with official statements from my local government. But expanding my muted words list in this way was like a gift from the universe, because it allowed me to see that my life wasn’t getting any better, I wasn’t getting any safer, and the world wasn’t getting any healthier by me reading another anxiety-inducing tweet. On the contrary, these tweets were only making me feel so freaked out that I was paralyzed, unable to do anything to help those around me or do my part to protect those even more vulnerable than myself.

I think of this great purge as an act of discernment—I’m discerning when online coronavirus can be good and beneficial, and when, on the contrary, it’s not helpful. Because, to be clear, all of this content should be directing you to help your community, or to love those around you, or to act with safety and thoughtfulness—and if it’s not doing that, then you aren’t obligated to expose yourself to it every single day. Needless paralyzing anxiety doesn’t isn’t good for anybody!

Even further, it’s important to remember that your discernment might put you in a different place than mine did. For some folks, it’s possible that reading every bit of coronavirus coverage is helpful. As I’ve said in quite a few words, that isn’t the case for me. So in these times of difficulty and tribulation, I want to offer a word of advice to anyone who needs it: it’s okay to be discerning with this stuff, and it’s okay to decide that you’ve read enough for the day.

Riddle of the Day 3/26

TODAY’S RIDDLE IS:

You have me today,
Tomorrow you’ll have more;
As your time passes,
I’m not easy to store;
I don’t take up space,
But I’m only in one place;
I am what you saw,
But not what you see.
What am I?

As always, the first correct and the most creative incorrect answers will receive a Townhouse Token. Answer below or on Facebook!

YESTERDAY’S WINNERS:

Bridget Carl won with the first posting of the correct answer: footsteps! Our most creative incorrect answer? Laxatives, from Clarissa Boyd.

Discussion: Mario Kart

Hi. So I’ve been playing an ungodly amount of Mario Kart on my DS that I found in the pit of garbage in my room that I haven’t properly cleaned since graduation. In that pit is also the DS charger that I am in desperate need of but can’t be bothered to look for it and in turn upend some deeply hidden memories from my childhood. Anyway….

Who is the best character for Mario Kart? I am loyal to Yoshi but I feel like I need to grow up and find a new favorite. My brother made fun of me the other day for playing with Yoshi and I am feeling rather discouraged. Insight would be appreciated.

 

Signing off,

Bridget :,-)

DTP Weekly Contest 1: Virtual Learning Memes!

We’ve got our first weekly contest here at the plate. UHPers, the subject of this contest is:

Memes! About virtual learning, quarantine, and college life during a time like this. That is your assignment.

And I will say: we are looking for *original content* here. This is not a contest to find the best scraps from the meme page, no–this is a challenge to all of your creativities.

To submit, you can comment on the Facebook Post for this contest (forthcoming), email the UHP (uhp@gwu.edu), or DM it to us on Instagram (@theuhp). Meme away, dear ones. I’m excited to see what you bring to the table! And remember, if you win, you will get a Townhouse Token!

Advice from the (Peer) Advisors: “Silver linings — Smiling in the Face of a Pandemic”

 

Check out the following refreshing perspective from UHP Peer Advisor Nicky Cacchione!

72 hours ago, I was sitting in Buenos Aires, Argentina about 5,000 miles from our beautiful Foggy Bottom campus. I had just been on “vacation” (lol all of an abroad semester feels like a vacation… but just go with it) in the province of Salta in Argentina and had seen Las Salinas Grandes, which are these incredible salt flats (seriously look up some pictures it’s nuts!), but all of a sudden, I found my semester abroad turned upside down. Now, I find myself writing this blog, after 24 hours of straight travel, in a friend’s apartment here in DC. To say this isn’t how I expected things to turn out is an understatement, and I know I speak for a lot of people when saying that sentiment probably resonates with you all. However, in the face of all of this uncertainty, tragedy, anger, sadness, and confusion – I want to implore the UHP community to do something that seems almost too hard to do right now: find the silver linings.

I think for all of us, these are incredibly stressful times. Personally, I have no permanent housing until my lease starts in mid-June, I am out thousands in planned personal travel, I can’t see relatives in fear of spreading the virus, I was thrown back into a culture I didn’t think I’d experience for another 50+ days, I had to abruptly say goodbye to newfound friends abroad, and the GW I was forced to come back to is almost completely desolate. To be honest, I can’t, and don’t even feel bad for myself in all of this. There are people dying, losing their jobs, and losing their homes. There are high school and college graduating classes of 2020 that aren’t sure if they will get a proper commencement, and are now positive it won’t be when it was expected to be. There are even other students like myself, who were abroad, who had only been in their respective locations since the first week of March. No matter how bad, or comparatively “okay” your situations are to any of these people, I think now, of all the times in the world, it is time to stay positive and take comfort in the small things.

For me, the first silver lining was reaching out to my business fraternity pleading with someone to let me crash at their place, not expecting anything of it, only to be received with 8 text messages from different people, some who I barely am close with, saying that I could use their apartments. The next was a 6-hour flight home from Panama with a friend that I had wanted to get to know better on my program, we talked the whole way. The others have included unexpected reunions with my best friends here at GW who I didn’t expect to see until May at the earliest, monument runs instead of crowded gyms runs in Buenos Aires, and support of a GW community on my return from abroad (thanks for the free toilet paper guys, I didn’t realize how hard it’d be to find some).

For all of us, it can be the fact that we are blessed with technology. We have the ability to keep in touch with all of our friends through this fiasco via facetime or video games or whatever platform you choose. Or it could be that some of you get to see your families earlier than expected – hold them close even if they get on your nerves, because family is forever. More trivially, maybe you were not having the best semester academically; well now you can choose to take that tough UHP class pass/fail and it won’t affect your GPA. Moreover, do you know how many tv shows and movies and books we are all about to get through? Choose one with a friend and call them about it after every few episodes (if anyone still needs to watch the Marvel Universe movies, your boi is making his way through those as we speak). Regardless of what it is, there are silver linings to every situation: yes, even COVID-19. The process to find them isn’t easy, and they aren’t going to fix the problems that the world has right now at all, but if there is one thing I learned from being abroad in Buenos Aires, it’s to smile in the face of uncertainty, and learn to relax because a lot of things just aren’t in our control. On the contrary, what is always in our control is what we do to try to make ourselves happy.

So UHP, I’m happy/sad (great Addams Family reference right here if any of you get it I already love you) to be back so soon with you all – keep lifting each other up on social media and posting pictures and workout routines because you are all gorgeous and strong, keep drawing fruits and veggies and tagging your friends, and keep on finding the things throughout this that are going to make you happy.

I hope to see you all soon – stay safe and healthy!

Much love,

Nicky Cacchione

Tik Tok: Virtual Townhouse Edition

Hello UHPers! In an effort to keep the Townhouse alive during the virtual learning period, we are starting a Tik Tok account for UHP-related content! Our username is @gwuhp. While we will be posting some of our own content, we can’t do this alone. Please send us your best memes and renegades and we will be sure to post them. The link to submit a video is here.

Digital Townhouse Discussion Forums (Fora?)

via GIPHY

Miss the beautiful feeling of sitting in the townhouse and talking about everything and nothing? Well we can’t necessarily recreate that virtually…but we can certainly try our bests! And we are indeed going to do so. We are opening up the blog and the Facebook page for discussions from the serious to the whimsical and from the intimate to the trivial. Some examples:

I’m working on my thesis and I’m having trouble conceptualizing what Plato might say about sustainability. Does anyone have any thoughts on Plato, or honestly on political philosophy of sustainability in general?

Okay, but for real: how much wood could a woodchuck chuck (assuming this woodchuck could chuck wood).

Does anyone have tips for good virtual communal streaming apps? My partner and I were watching Love is Blind together before all this, and we want to keep it up!

Mario (the Nintendo plumber) joins the UHP as a part of the class of 2024. Who and what does he write his final Origins paper on? What grade does he receive?

I’m feeling really alone right now. I’m not really close with anyone in my family, and it’s been a rough time mental health-wise. Anyone have good tips for loneliness right now?

Regardless of what you want to discuss, we will also be REWARDING starting discussions! The first person in a given week to start a discussion on the Blog AND the Facebook page that receives more than three unique replies will receive a coveted Townhouse Token! That’s right– the first eligible post on the blog gets a token, and the first eligible post on Facebook gets a token.

How do you post on the blog? Well, you see the “Submit a Post” link right up top there? Click on that! Then type give your name, type the question, and make sure to select “Digital Townhouse Discussion” in the Categories section (so we know you’re not a random person asking about Mario). Then submit!

How do you post to the Facebook page? Go to the Facebook page, then write a post! And ta-da, you’ve posted to the Facebook page!

Now go forth, dear UHPers, and DISCUSS!

A COVID-19 Message to All Our Students

Note from Brianna:

I was feeling really under the weather the day we filmed so I’m sorry for the miserable face. I love you all! Feeling better now!

Transcript:

Professor Kung: Hello everyone, we hope wherever you are, you’re safe, you’re well, and you’re hanging in there. Clearly, this spring isn’t what any of us expected. From an educational standpoint, for the rest of the semester, my advice is simply to focus as much as possible on your love of learning. Stay in communication with your professors, expectations are clearly quite different now. No one’s gonna be penalized for circumstances outside of their control. You can do this, you can do this well. Eydie…

Eydie: Hi guys, I know this is hard for you, this is hard for us too. But maintain your sanity by taking care of yourself, your parents, your cats, your dogs. Go outside, get some fresh air, throw a ball around. Talk to each other and find a way for comfort. We’ll be back at the townhouse as soon as we can, the coffee will be rolling and will have plenty of snacks when everybody gets back. Miss you guys, see you all soon. Josh, off to you.

Josh: This is a really rough time for everyone, we just want to recognize that as a staff, we want to say that yeah we’re here for you, we care about you. We really care about community as a program, as hopefully you already know, and we are doing our best to translate that digitally with the digital townhouse project. They’ll be another note about that. So yeah, stay connected, stay with us we care about you. Passing it over to Ben…

Ben: Hey everybody! We miss you guys, we hope everybody’s doing well. This is just a note to say Honors advising is still in business. We have advising ability for you scheduled on the UHP website as usual, and we will hop on a WebEx call and be there for you for anything. Don’t be strangers, continue to reach out if you need anything, Brianna and I are here for you. And I’ll pass that on to Brianna…

Brianna: Just wanna echo that we’re here for you guys as well. Just anything at all, just reach out and we’re here for you.

Professor Hammond: Just want to echo what everyone is saying, that we’re here for you in the community. Definitely reach out, whatever you need, whether it be class stuff, non-class stuff. And for me my main thing for you all is making sure you’re taking care of yourself, taking care of those around you, and being mindful of your mental health. Doing what you need to do, and recognizing where you need to step up or step back, and you know, taking care of you. Passing it off to Mark…

Professor Ralkowski: Hey guys, Lola is here as well. She wanted to say that she misses you all, but she also sees a silver lining in coronavirus in that she gets to spend a lot of time with her family, take lots of walks, get lots of attention, but she does miss you all and she’s excited to see you all in the fall. Two thing I wanted to say are: I think it’s really important to stay connected during this time. It’s only been a few days of this social distancing, I’m already feeling it, I can imagine you all are as well. So, when you’re thinking of things we can do for you, one thing that’s easy for us to do is create spaces where we can just get together virtually and just chat. It can be about nothing, sometimes those are the best conversations. And the other thing I’ve wanted to say I’ve forgotten so I’m just gonna pass it off to Eyal next.

Professor Aviv: Hi everybody! So I’m echoing what Mark just said. I’m here, I don’t have anything to do other than be with my family and working, prepare for classes, but I’m really happy to talk to everybody who wants to chat. And I just want to hope that all of you are good in health and spirits, and you’re spending good time with your family, and keeping touch with your friends. I know that these are times of change and they’re really scary. I myself woke up today at 5AM for fear of the world, but I also hope that this is an opportunity for change. And I’m really looking forward to see everybody when we get back and keep making this world and our society a better place. So, thank you, and I’m passing it to Joseph I think…

Professor Trullinger: Hard to follow up on so many wonderful, beautiful things that have already been said. But I guess this is something that i try to remember during hard times, which is not to let school get in the way of your education. I suppose what I mean by that is that all the formal mechanical structures of school that we all get wrapped up in, I think it’s really important to try as best you can to put those to the side and remember the intrinsically good things that are there in learning: the sense of connection, the sense of intellectual discovery, even just the sense of escape. Just being able to imagine a  different world, a different way of doing things, a different environment than the one you’re in now. Things will be better, and I do believe we can stick with one another throughout this, I am available just like everybody throughout this. And that’s all I have to say. 

Professor Kung: I’ll just wrap up by saying that, unfortunately not everyone could be here today, but all your faculty are thinking of you now. So please be in touch, and good luck!

Professor Christov: Hi everyone, I know this is a very unusual and very stressful time, with the Coronavirus, but Im here to tell you: let’s take care of ourselves and take care of each other. Now I know many of you are quite anxious, I know that I am. How do we learn from our online classes? How do we graduate without even walking? Many of you may even be thinking, the economy’s tanking, how am I going to get a job? What will my future look like? Now I cannot tell you what the answer to these questions might be, but I’m here to tell you one thing: practice kindness. Show accountability and fairness, resilience. Show respect and grow in your fortitude. We all need to practice those things right now, and doing so will also make us appreciate the human contact that truly matters in our lives. And remember the Taoist philosophy in finding your internal peace: “Govern yourself by doing nothing that goes against nature.” Govern yourself by doing nothing that goes against nature. So you can now tell yourself that it is okay to be anxious, it is okay to feel anxious. And doing so will help you lessen your struggles. So go forth, stay strong, and until next time!

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