Pandemic pastimes

With a sudden surplus of free time on their hands, many students are getting creative and picking up new hobbies while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sudden quarantine following spring break 2020 left students with a much earlier and longer summer break than expected. While many people used this opportunity to catch up on sleep (or just spend more time scrolling through TikTok), some students have used this time to try new things.

While stuck at home, Tanvi Kuppachi ’23 started painting as a way to pass time and to decorate her room. 

“It’s something to just calm me down and take time so I’m not bored throughout the day,” she said.

Kuppachi especially enjoys painting because it is relaxing and occupies her mind. It does not, however, require total concentration, so Kuppachi frequently has music or other things going on in the background that aren’t distracting. She also enjoys painting because there are no strict rules or specific guidelines. Her advice to students starting painting or any other hobby is to not compare themselves to other people. 

 

A painting done by Tanvi Kuppachi ’23 of a city skyline.

“Everyone starts off differently… as long as you feel good about your painting it’s a good way to take up time,” Kuppachi said.

Nao Oya ’23 has also been making art, but of a different kind. Oya decided to learn how to sew so that she could make masks for her family and friends. Since learning how to sew, she has also made a dress, a skirt and two bags. 

I think it’s very calming and you obviously need patience.” Oya said. “But I really like making my own clothes because … I like looking at the final product and being super proud of what I made.” 

You don’t have to make your own clothes, you could thrift stuff and then just flip them a little bit so they look cute. It’s not all about creating things from scratch.”

— Nao Oya '23

Oya admits that sewing is difficult, and takes a lot of work, time and practice. However, she also believes that on top of being a rewarding hobby, sewing cheaper than buying expensive clothes from stores and more environmentally sustainable. Another good thing about sewing is that it is very open-ended. 

“You don’t have to make your own clothes, you could thrift stuff and then just flip them a little bit so they look cute. It’s not all about creating things from scratch,” Oya said. 

 

Nao Oya ’23 shows off the flipped shirt and bag that she made.

Helenipa Stephens ’23 also loves to make things from scratch. Since quarantine, she has started baking.

“[I began baking] because I didn’t have anything else to do, and I like eating food,” Stephens said.

Baking, and cooking in general, is a useful skill to have if one plans to live alone someday. So far, Stephens has made various kinds of brownies, cakes and cookies. 

“[Baking] is pretty simple,” Stephens said. “And it has nice results, usually.”

No matter the hobby, it is clear that West students are taking advantage of time spent in social isolation.