Blanket Forts and Picnics: Minicourse, 2021


Sanna Patel

It is no secret that this past year (yes, a full year) has kind of been a trainwreck, but as we’ve all had to learn, we just need to make the best of things. Although we’ve been fortunate enough to return to campus, it’s impossible to go on Minicourse this year– the second one most high school students are missing. This year, in honor of Minicourse, I thought of a couple of ways to try and make the best of the situation and find new ways to enjoy this (usually) special week at home.

I know we can’t truly replicate Minicourse in Covid times, but there are a couple of things that may help emulate that Minicourse spirit. You are never too old to build a blanket fort, and what better excuse to make one than grieve over yet another Minicourse gone? An evening spent rolling up your sleeves and trudging through piles of blankets is an evening well spent, and with some string lights over the fort, you can almost pretend you’re staring up at a starry night sky in a very nice tent. You can even make it a group activity: get together a bunch of friends on a call and spend the day just chatting and building your forts. Then – obviously – give them a tour of your new house, because why build it if you’re not going to show it off to everyone? If that’s too much to take on by yourself, try roping a sibling or parent in for a good old bonding session. Oh, and if you really want to challenge yourself, try not to ruin your walls, or at least hide it from your parents well. The point is, building a multi-functional blanket fort, for everything from zoom calls to not-so-productive weekends, could be an enjoyable way to help get back that Minicourse spirit we lost this past year.

Minicourse is a time where we can all enjoy being outside and take our minds off of school and other stresses; that might be tough just sitting at home, so why not go out? This time of year is perfect for a picnic, with rare blue skies and pleasant weather, and parks have plenty of space to socially distance ourselves while eating. Put together a little picnic basket and take wine glasses for water– purely for aesthetics, of course. Just spend one day of the would-be Minicourse week and go out with a small group of friends, enjoy a picnic and walk, and most importantly, distract yourself from school for a bit. Try and disconnect from devices for a bit, have some good conversations, and enjoy this bit of nature that we don’t often see these days.

Last is something you can do right at home (in your blanket fort, even) or at on-campus school: talk to new people. Especially during the pandemic, it has been easy to disconnect from people outside your immediate friend group, and Minicourse usually forces you to make those new bonds with people you don’t typically interact with. So, around spring break, try and reach out to a classmate, whether that be through social media or in school. It’s always good to get to know more people on a deeper level. Simply have a conversation or find something in common, because that’s what you would do on Minicourse.

We have all had to give up things through this pandemic, but we don’t need to sacrifice all the happiness and lessons Minicourse provides for us. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but this year, let's try to make the best of our circumstances and find ways to honor Minicourse – and all the joy it brings – safely.