Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The official student newspaper of Methodist Ladies' College, est. 2020

How to Outwit, Outplay and Outlast lockdown

I’m a huge Survivor fan and I’m not afraid to admit it. An ideal holiday involves curling up in my bed with a mug of tea and watching past seasons, even if it means my friends and family scorning me for loving a TV show which will ‘rot my brains’. Personally, the best part of Survivor is lauding players who come up with innovative tactics to advance in the game and yelling mentally at those who fall for them. Having been fascinated with these tactics for many years, I’ve begun to see overlap between winning at this reality TV show and winning (metaphorically) at online school. That being said, here are my top tactics for Outwitting, Outplaying and Outlasting your online studies. Although these strategies aren’t guaranteed to win you a million dollars, they’ll certainly earn you respect from the tribe.  


Outwit is the strategic pillar of Survivor – how are you going to make it through as many days as possible unscathed? In our lockdown lives, working all-day-every-day to succeed isn’t going to get you very deep into the game. You’ll become irritable and erode your relationships with your tribe of friends and family, which is only going to get you voted out. How to outwit lockdown and come out on the other side of these six weeks better than ever? Self-care is key.  

Personally, I like to take care of my mental health by doing something each night which rewards the hard work and perseverance I put towards my work during the day. However, as I’ve learnt, there’s a fine line between ‘self-care’ and watching one video on YouTube before you realise it’s 10pm and you have no idea why you’re watching a video on how to make a 30-pound burger. Seeing as my screen time has hit record highs recently, I’ve tried to find non-digital ways of practicing self-care. So far, I’ve fallen in love with my Harry Potter books again, I’ve lost many board games to my dad (but had fun doing it) as well as unearthed and tested skincare which hasn’t seen sunlight in six months. Some other ideas I’ve loved are: listening to new podcasts (I highly recommend CutThroat Inc by ABC Audio if you’re intrigued by murder mysteries), learning to bake the perfect cheese soufflé, teaching myself how to knit and, naturally, watching old seasons of Survivor. 


In a Survivor setting, Outplaying meaning assimilating and exploiting other players to achieve your desired outcome. Although we shouldn’t be manipulative of people in our lives in this way, we can certainly use the people in our lives to our advantage. Ok, that still sounds fairly Machiavellian, but what I mean is that we have some amazing resources at our disposal as MLC students even while learning online.  

As we find ourselves studying at home and going without human interaction a lot more than we are used to, reaching out to others has never been so important. Scheduling an online bake-along, Netflix session or simply a game of with friends after a long week is a great opportunity to touch base and see how everyone is travelling in this strange time. If you or your friends are struggling with work while in lockdown, there so are many people you can reach out to, including (but not limited to) your favourite subject teachers, Home Group teacher, house teacher and parents. All of these people are on your tribe and want to see you succeed, and learning from home doesn’t change that.  

Not only can you find support for your studies while in lockdown, but the MLC PE department is also offering online fitness training on Teams during Term 3. Join up with a few friends and do a Thursday afternoon Yoga session together – not only will you release endorphins, but your back will also thank you after being twisted into a pretzel as you sit at your desk each day. 


Finally, Survivor is about the long game – making alliances with everyone the second you arrive on your Fijian beach and promising to take each person to the final isn’t going to bode well with your tribe once they figure out what you’re up to. Like in so many other endeavours, slow and steady wins the race – finding people who you can trust and flying under the radar is often key to winner gameplay. So, how does this relate to your approach to online schooling? Although it may be tempting to set yourself ambitious goals in lockdown 2.0, a New-Year-Resolution-style failure often follows. Instead, make small and achievable goals each day which you can build on, rather than setting yourself mammoth tasks which seem impossible to complete and, as a result, probably will be.  

Micro-goals are my favourite to set as they make a task so easy to complete that you’ll feel compelled to start. Once you get going, you’ll be motivated to continue and will achieve much more than you would with a large, scary goal. For example, I play percussion and set myself the micro-goal of practicing for just one minute each day. Sixty seconds is a tiny amount of time, which makes my goal achievable and, once I start playing, I feel motivated to continue and almost always end up playing for much longer. Some similar micro-goals you could integrate into your life could be stretching for one minute, drinking one bottle of water, cooking dinner once a week, all goals which are will inspire rather than discourage you while learning in lockdown. 

Hopefully, these strategies will get you through lockdown with your torch burning brighter than ever.  

The tribe has spoken. 

P.S. If you need help getting your cheese soufflé to rise, feel free to contact me at 


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