Enjoying hobbies and staying social during distancing

HTML tutorial

To limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), people around the world have been “social distancing” or self-quarantining themselves in their homes. Since the closing of New York City public schools, many students have been isolated, with limited social interaction.

Teenagers are known for wanting to leave the house and go out with their friends. However, today they are also the first demographic in generations that physically can’t go out to socialize. Social distancing guidelines prohibit close contact of fewer than 6 feet with any other person and mandate that if you’re going out, you must take the proper precautions. 

While students are still receiving school work through remote learning to occupy time and make up for this lack of social interaction, they are also turning to technology and new hobbies. 

Many students expressed that they had more time to spend on creative hobbies than they did in school. Senior Victoria Jameson said that she “started painting” and also found time to embroider her converse and work out. These “minor little things and activities… give me something to do,” she said. Sophomore Lynda Izarray has been spending time writing songs to express her feelings. “[Music is] my way of venting… [and] my songs are like my diary,” she said. 

Other students have been taking advantage of online entertainment by playing games, creating social media content, and watching shows and movies. Freshman Matt Cantor said, “I have been binging Netflix shows and movies every day.” Other students pass the time on the popular app TikTok. Whether it be through watching or creating content, many have spent countless hours scrolling through the app. Yet senior Emily Tan warns, “TikTok is like entering a black hole. There’s an endless stream of content and you lose track of time.” She adds, however, that “it’s a really addicting way of alleviating boredom.”

Online games like Minecraft and the recently released Animal Crossing: New Horizons game have also been student favorites.  Senior Idalia Dinapolis also recommended that students looking to satisfy their inner child play Club Penguin Rewritten.

In this time, it’s also important to keep in touch with social circles. “I’ve been trying to put time aside to facetime my friends,” said Lynda. “The hardest part about quarantine is probably the lack of social interaction,” she continued. The abrupt change, from being in school and interacting with friends every day, to being limited and isolated at home, has been difficult for students to adjust to. Junior Natalia Gierlachowski said, “Even though I have the technology to keep in touch with my friends, it doesn’t feel the same and makes me feel isolated.” 

Maintaining communication with friends can alleviate stress and provide a sense of normalcy, especially when everything feels uncertain. Natalia adds, “Netflix Party has been a great help. Watching my favorite tv shows with my friends helps us stay connected and it feels like we’re all together again.” The Netflix Party Chrome extension has helped students combat the feeling of isolation by allowing them to watch movies and tv shows simultaneously alongside their friends. 

During such uncertain times, it’s important to keep high spirits. Students, while subjected to work assigned through remote instruction in quarantine, also are getting more sleep and have more chances to engage in activities that they wouldn’t have otherwise. “I can go to bed… and wake up when I want for the most part, since we can work at our own pace,” Lynda said. 

In these difficult times, Victoria urges all students to “just find something [their] interested in.” She adds, “You have so much time right now to experiment and see what you like. You might be interested in something you never thought, who knows.”