What Stuy Students Are Doing When They're Doing Nothing

Exploring various hobbies students have delved into, and what they entail.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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By Serena Chan

Though most people are using their time in quarantine to sleep, eat, and surf the internet, some students have taken advantage of the freedom and used it to explore new hobbies and passions. From pursuing a new type of yoga to returning to past hobbies, people have used their time in quarantine in various different ways, making positive experiences even during this difficult time.

Sophomore Lina Khamze began using an app called Charity Miles. “[It] pledges to donate money to a charity of your choice for every mile you run,” Khamze explained. She chooses to donate to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As for her running routine, she shared, “I usually run around Forest Hills for about two miles, and if I feel like doing a distance run, I’ll end up doing around five to six [miles] to Corona Park.” Khamze often runs for half an hour to an hour in the afternoon, and sometimes she’ll try to see the sunset by the lake.

For senior Lena Farley, quarantine has been an opportunity for her to get into jewelry making. “I’ve been beading a lot, making earrings and necklaces. I decided to start because I never have time to be creative, [but] now that I am a second term senior in quarantine, I have a lot more time,” she said. “Beading is also a mindless task, so I can do it while listening to a class or something. I have a lot more busywork now, and it’s good to do while doing busywork. I’ve also been making earrings for my friends and mailing them; it’s a nice way to stay connected,” she shared.

Just like Farley, sophomore Nora Archer has immersed herself in crafts and creating wearable pieces using sewing and embroidery. “Right now, I’m sewing a tanktop together. I embroidered some lettering on T-shirts and also some flowers,” she shared in a phone interview. Her decision to involve herself in these projects arose from her familiarity with sewing as well as the fact that she already had the means to make items: “I’ve had some sewing practice as a kid. I’ve sewed before, but I’ve never made [things] from scratch. I’ve never embroidered before, but I had the materials to do it. [Plus,] I was just bored.”

Archer also discovered a newfound love for skateboarding: “I started learning how to skateboard, so I’ve been going outside most days and practicing, just on empty lanes. I had no idea [how to skateboard]; two days into quarantine was my first time standing on a skateboard.” Though Archer had never skateboarded before, she credited her peers for introducing her to the sport: “My brothers had skateboards, and my friend already knew how to skateboard, so it’d be cool to skate together after quarantine,” she said.

Sophomore Neve Diaz Carr was inspired by her mom to take up Ashtanga yoga. “My mom has been super into [yoga] for a few years now, and she is getting certified to teach it now. So she’s been trying to teach me yoga and get me to go to her yoga studio with her for a long [time] now, and I’ve always put up a fight,” she recalled. “But with quarantine, I don’t really have anything else to do […] I’ve been doing lots of Ashtanga yoga, and my mom has been assisting me in all the poses.” Carr finds Ashtanga yoga rejuvenating: “It honestly feels really amazing. It’s a nice way to stretch and get your blood moving […], and it’s super calming if you’re stressed out. I wake up every morning, and the first thing I do is my sun salutations,” she said.

Senior Alyssa Pustilnik has also immersed herself in working out and strengthening her body but has enjoyed baking as well. However, the two go hand-in-hand: “I started making pies every day. Because of that, I also started working out a lot more because I wanted to enjoy my pies, but it’s not healthy […] So every day I find a new YouTube workout [to follow],” she explained. Pulstilnik has also begun painting: “I also started painting a lot and bought new paint and canvases,” she added. “I started doing it because I was very bored, and I just had most of the materials around the house already.” So far, she has painted “Starry Night” and some portraits of her family.

Sophomore Ian Graham has been using his programming skills to code a game: “I’m making […] an arcade game. It’s multiplayer, and the player goes around, moves a little spaceship, and shoots people,” Graham explained. Though he is an experienced programmer, Graham usually programs websites or problem-solving algorithms rather than creating games. His decision to undertake this project came from the games he has programmed in the past, such as Minesweeper. “I’ve made some games before, and they were all very rewarding, so I just wanted to try to make another one and have a tangible accomplishment following the quarantine,” he said.

Similar to Archer, sophomore Semoi Khan has also returned to skills she’s explored in the past, specifically drawing and baking. “[I’ve been] drawing, mostly shading, people and anatomy. I like drawing people, weird abstract graphic designs, and shading. I’m also baking a lot more, and I knew [the quarantine] was coming, so I bought a lot of baking materials when I was stocking up,” she explained. Khan jokingly added that she has also started making TikToks and likes to learn the app’s dance, However, she was sure to specify, “I don’t upload them for the public.”

Though senior Lu Xi has also explored cooking and crafting, she’s used the time to focus on creating clothing and baking breads and buns from scratch, in contrast to other students who have baked pies and embroidered clothing. “I have a little sister who really misses the pork floss bread from Asian bakeries. We have pork floss (rou song) at home, so I looked up some recipes and found that all the Asian bakeries’ breads have the same “base,” which is this tanzhong (flour roux) milk bread. The pork floss bread specifically is just a milk bread bun with this condensed milk and Japanese mayo spread on top (to make the pork floss stick) and then some pork floss. I’ve made hot dog buns, raisin twist buns, pineapple buns, and coconut buns. There are honestly so many variations, and I’m having a lot of fun trying to recreate them,” she said. Xi has worked on clothing projects in addition to further exploring cooking: “I bought a lot of clothes patterns (which you’re supposed to trace onto pieces of fabric and cut out), and those come with instructions. It’s become a really expensive hobby, though, so I’m slowly trying to wean myself off of making clothes. I’ve made two jumpsuits, two dresses [...], and two pairs of pants.”

Newfound hobbies will not only be useful during quarantine, but they may also come in handy during the summer or school year. Those yoga poses and skateboard tricks might be more beneficial than meets the eye. Minutes gift ideas, anyone?