Finding a new fun: discovering hobbies during quarantine


Provided by Aditi Khanna, Shounak Ghosh, Gabriel Yang and Arissa Huda.

Students have found creative outlets to spend their extra time stuck inside during quarantine, ranging from playing an instrument to BMX biking.

by Sabrina Zhu, Reporter

As she gently presses on the strings with one hand, Arissa Huda (9) strums her acoustic Hohner guitar with the other, playing a version of Selena Gomez and Kygo’s “It Ain’t Me.” She smiles and nods her head to the music, which has quickly become her new hobby and form of escape during this period of isolation.

When spring break started, Arissa’s mother encouraged her to begin playing the guitar again, something she hadn’t done in over seven months. She chooses her favorite songs and learns them online, where she can find sheet music written in “tab.”

“I’m playing a lot of Ed Sheeran, like ‘Photograph’ and ‘Happier.’ His guitar songs are just really great,” Arissa said. “I learn online, and they tell you which string, which fret, and which finger to use.”

In these stressful times, returning to her old hobby has brought a lot of comfort to Arissa. 

“I think music in general provides a really good solace and escape. Because my hands have this muscle memory, I don’t have to think when I play: I can just listen to the music.”

Senior Aditi Khanna (12) has recently discovered a new activity, as well: knitting. She began by following YouTube tutorials from the internet, and she’s quickly learned to make her own pieces. Currently, she’s working on a scarf, designed with the colors of her friend’s college.

“During the quarantine, I got bored of doing the normal things I was doing, like watching TV,” said Aditi. “I was looking at the screen all day, so I decided to do something new that was creative and that could also take my mind off of things.”

After finding some old string and needles, Aditi dove into this new hobby, asking her sister for help when she needs it. She’s found that it’s been really simple and something you can do without thinking, which has been especially helpful and soothing during the past few weeks. 

“I feel like it really enhances my focus on my main tasks,” said Aditi. “It’s a great stress-relieving mechanism for me – one that I wouldn’t have started if there wasn’t this quarantine. But I think I’ll definitely continue [even past quarantine].”

Gabriel Yang (10), on the other hand, has recently gotten into cooking. With his older sister home and ready to share her favorite recipes, he had been improving his skills and making dishes all throughout spring break.

“I was really bored over the break, and my sister came back from college,” said Gabriel. “She just really wanted to teach me a lot of the recipes that she’s learned.”

Gabriel and his sister look together online for YouTube tutorials and videos with recipes, exploring the foods they enjoy. Most of their creations have been successes, with only a few bumps along the road.

“We made some pretty easy and simple desserts, like soufflés, pancakes and peanut butter cookies, things like that.”

Cooking has helped to relieve the boredom Gabriel has been experiencing over spring break by occupying him with tasks and by bringing him some delicious food.

For some, like Shounak Ghosh (10), physical activities have quickly become new parts of their daily lives. 

Shounak recently started BMX biking, a style of biking that specializes in jumps and tricks. He learns by watching online tutorials and by building small ramps with cardboard boxes and wooden planks. Then, he moves onto real-life courses, in the streets of his neighborhood.

“When you’re just walking down the street, there are a variety of obstacles that most people don’t notice,” said Shounak. “But when you have a bike, you start to notice that you can hop onto and off of this curb, and hop onto and off of this bench … little things you can play with and just have fun with it.”

Although he falls frequently and faces difficulties when learning new tricks, Shounak still thinks that BMX biking is worth it. And now that school has moved online, he has a lot of time to practice.

“A lot of my classes are being let out early, so if it’s 11:45 on a B/D day, I can go out biking until 1,” he said. “I’ll go around my neighborhood and bike and just enjoy being outdoors.”