Finding the good amidst COVID-19
From cultivating new hobbies to creating stronger bonds with loved ones, students have sought the light during dark months of the coronavirus pandemic
October 22, 2020
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has taken its toll across the country – costing thousands of lives, disrupting the economy and completely altering everyday life. However, in the face of these struggles, students have sought ways to make the most of these unprecedented times. Amidst long, dark months of isolation, they have found the light in their world by prioritizing the things they love. Extended periods at home have allowed many students to dedicate more time to their families and focusing on their physical and mental health. Others have used these months as an opportunity to pursue their interests, cultivating new hobbies and skills.
Bonding during the pandemic
Though COVID-19 has been forcing people apart since March, from the stay-at-home orders to the new learning models, this experience has also brought people together in new ways. For many students, bonds within their families have grown stronger and more resilient as a result of being forced to stay at home together for months.
During her time at home, senior Navi Kaur was able to connect with her immediate family and cousins in ways that wouldn’t have been realistic in her pre-pandemic life.
When you’ve lost contact with a lot of people… you have to have some social interactions or you go crazy, so the only people you surround yourself with is your family. You just naturally get closer to them.
— junior Taylor Doyle
“I would like to stay over at my cousin’s house for a month. Then, my cousin would come and stay here for a month, so it was really nice because we all just go to chill and sit at home because no one was really working at the time and no one had school,” Kaur said.
Similarly, not being able to spend time with friends led junior Taylor Doyle to build a stronger relationship with her family.
“When you’ve lost contact with a lot of people, you kind of just become friends with your own family,” Doyle said. “You have to have some social interactions or you go crazy, so the only people you surround yourself with is your family. You just naturally get closer to them.”
Between taking walks and watching shows with her brother, Doyle found ways to pass the time with her family.
“We went on a lot of walks which are amazing,” Doyle said. “My brother and I have been watching The Simpsons, which is 30 seasons, which is keeping us super busy. Watching movies, going on walks, occasionally going on car rides to different places … all helped out.”
Sophomore Brianna Coup’s family is often busy with work and extracurriculars, but during the stay-at-home orders, they were able to bond through sports and card games.
“My parents got to stay home a lot more, and we got to be with each other. My brothers and I would all hang out and go outside and all play soccer together,” Coup said. “We also played tennis, went on runs and we played games like Cards Against Humanity many times.”
During the stay-at-home orders, Coup’s aunt organized weekly family Zoom calls that allowed her and her family to talk about how everyone was doing.
“Once a week on Tuesdays at 6 p.m., we would all get together and we’d all Zoom – grandparents, two sides of aunts and uncles – we’d all just talk [about what] we’re doing,” Coup said. “My aunt lives in Arizona, so I never get to see her, but she was able to Zoom with me. We got a lot closer, and now we text every single week because of it.”
Not only have families gotten closer, but COVID-19 has forced StuCo to get creative and find new ways to unite the student body, according to junior Bret Weber.
“[COVID-19] brought our student council closer together,” Weber said. “When we first found out school would be canceled back in March, we knew we needed to do something, so we had virtual spirit weeks with different COVID-friendly activities for students to do from home.”
Pursuing hobbies and skills
The stay-at-home order burdened many students with social isolation and anxiety about the disease, but many were able to find consolation in discovering new hobbies.
During the beginning of the stay-at-home order, Kaur found herself scrolling through Tik Tok endlessly. Through Tik Tok, Kaur explored the realm of painting, whether it was tips about “what type of brushes to use” for strokes or what materials to use. Additionally, Kaur would refer to Pinterest to find inspiration for her paintings, such as space-themed pieces.
While painting has become a fun new hobby, Kaur believes that it is also been a way to help her relax.
“It was nice to do it without being rushed or without being like ‘Oh, after I do this, I have to do my project or something like that,’” Kaur said.
Similarly, for junior Hadley Rupe, the lockdown was an opportunity to finally tap into her creative side – making jewelry and sewing.
“[My rings] are pokey, but I made them, and I’m glad that I learned how to do something,” Rupe said. ”Nobody else will have [the jewelry I make], which is also something cool.”
Alternatively, senior Zachary Botkin pursued a less conventional hobby: studying mathematics.
“I took a differential equations class,” Botkin said. “I took an online course through edX, and I was taught by Professor Matic at MIT, and I did video lectures with differential equations and tests.”
As for Coup, she now considers herself an avid cooker after spending months learning to make different dishes.
“Before [the lockdown], I was the worst cook ever,” Coup said. “I started with making spaghetti. It was not the best the first time, but then I actually became really good at it. I make desserts every week now for my family, like homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.”
In addition to her culinary adventures, Coup also discovered that she enjoys tennis. One day, her boyfriend’s family convinced her to play a game even though she had never picked up a racket before.
“For some reason, I was naturally actually good at it. Then, I played every single day because I became obsessed with it. They told me, ‘You’re really good at tennis’ and ‘You should talk to the team; you’re athletic enough to make the team,’” Coup said. “So, I tried out for the team, and I actually made it.”
By Evan Sherman
Some have spent their time deepening bonds with family, others have explored new hobbies – but for many, the extra free time has allowed them to prioritize their self-care. Without the pressures of school or extracurricular activities, students have been able to focus on themselves.
For Kaur, if she wasn’t baking or painting, the majority of her free time was spent relaxing.
“I thought it was nice not having to worry about anything. It was nice to lay in my bed and do nothing,” Kaur said. “I think people have been narrated as lazy, but I think self-care comes in many different forms; it isn’t always facemasks or taking a nice bath. I just think everyone got to chill for a bite.”
In addition to her newfound passion for tennis, Coup had discovered a new side of herself: her fondness for cleaning.
“The kitchen would be a mess, and I would clean it up. I’d also make my beds in the mornings,” Coup said. “I would do all these things that were unlike me. I became a different version of myself, which was good.”
As for Weber, he has been able to spend more time enjoying the outdoors.
“I feel like I’ve spent more time outside in nature,” Weber said. ”Usually when I’m bored, I’ll either take my dog on a walk or lay in our hammock in our backyard and relax.”
Even though COVID-19 has forced people to stay at home for months, Kaur believes that the time spent in lockdown has allowed her to spend time doing things she wanted.
“I think it was a nice mental break that everyone needed,” Kaur said. “It was nice to stay at home, and I think a lot of people got into new hobbies, and people explored their creative side. I probably would have never tried any of these things until I was locked in my house with nowhere to go.”