While being at home may not be the way USF students wanted to spend the end of their spring semester, it is not completely a loss for a good time.
Historically, isolation has brought about some incredible discoveries.
Isaac Newton discovered calculus and William Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while in quarantine from repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague.
While both of those are grand scale examples of how exciting and productive being in quarantine can be, it is proof that our modern-day isolation is not so hopeless.
Write, write, write!
Just like Shakespeare, writing can be a great pastime when there is nothing to do. Maybe you have been dreaming of writing a book or have a love for poetry. Writing in quarantine could be the next masterpiece that the literary world needs.
Some websites, like Wattpad, offer users a free experience to post their writing, and anyone in the world is able to access and read the published work.
Pick up a new skill or hobby
It is unlikely, but not impossible, something like calculus will be discovered on this lockdown, but quarantine presents the opportunity to discover and learn new things.
Udemy is an online learning catalog full of courses that one can take. Though they are not free, there are tons of pricing options to choose from, so everyone can find their perfect course to learn whether it be guitar lessons, art instruction or even underwater modeling.
However, if you are not looking to spend money while social distancing, YouTube is another way to search (mostly) free instructional videos on a plethora of activities and hobbies as well.
Escape reality through technology and gaming
Technology is keeping many people connected and entertained while they’re social distancing. Video chatting is one of the most common ways people have stayed in touch with friends, family and even their classes.
Some USF students have been playing video games to stay in contact with friends and have a good time.
Paul Menendez, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, put together a Minecraft realm that allowed him to connect with friends and family members.
“A realm is a world hosted on Minecraft that anyone with the code can access at any point,” Menendez said. “It allows us to play together wherever we are.”
Menendez said he was upset when, due to graduation being canceled and COVID-19, his brother was unable to make it home. Despite the distance, Menendez said he’s happy he can still connect with him virtually.
“We have been playing together and spending hours on the phone,” Menendez said.
He also said eight other people — a mixture of friends and family members — are in the group too.
“It has definitely been helping give me something to do,” he said. “Also, I’m talking a lot more with my brother since we are both usually so busy, but now we will sit on the phone for two hours playing and talking.”
Technology is endless in its capability to allow for creativity. Geovany Laureano-Cruz, a USF freshman majoring in civil engineering, found that making apps on Unity has been a fun pastime for him.
“Unity is a cross-platform game engine,” Laureano-Cruz said. “Basically, you can make games that can be played across various tablets and phones.”
He said many popular games that he and his friends have played like Monument Valley, Cuphead and Inside have been created on this platform.
“Monument Valley is one of my favorite games,” Laureano-Cruz said. “It’s fun and complex. Also, Cuphead is a really famous game on the Xbox and other consoles, so it is pretty cool it was made using the Unity software.”
Laureano-Cruz also said that the app offers student plans that give greater access to tools in the creation process.
“It’s all free,” he said. “It is definitely worth trying if you are into that kind of stuff.”
Getting organized may not be as fun as developing games and apps, but it can be a rewarding experience to get your home in order. Being in isolation at home for weeks presents the opportunity to do some spring cleaning. Tidying up can also present a way to earn some money.
Selling clothes online is a business for many, and the apps Poshmark and Mercari can turn unwanted or outgrown clothing into money.
The apps allow for a contactless shipping process that transports the sold items from the seller to the consumer with no fears of having to meet in person.
You can never go wrong with food
Many students are still able to access a grocery store, which can allow them to use their Poshmark cash to cook or bake new recipes.
Bread baking and dalgona coffee have been blowing up social media that viewers are trying to make.
Tuesday, reporter Terry Nguyen wrote a Vox article about these new trends.
“Overnight, it felt like every person I knew with an oven began attempting to bake bread from scratch, which helps explain why grocery stores nationwide have temporarily run out of flour, yeast, and other baking supplies,” Nguyen said. “Google searches for ‘bread’ hit an all-time high during the week of March 25, Eater reported.”
Although it seems like a strange distraction, psychologists would disagree.
Nguyen referenced a 2018 New York Times article that said baking can help us “feel skilled, nurturing and virtuous in the present while distracting us from the future.”
Dalgona coffee, or more popularly referred to as whipped coffee, has taken social media by storm and many viewers are trying the recipe themselves.
“Dalgona coffee, which originated in South Korea, requires only three ingredients — instant coffee, sugar and hot water — that are vigorously mixed together until the froth becomes fluffy and aerated,” Nguyen said. “The drink gained steam in the U.S. by mid-March, when parts of the country began imposing shelter-in-place measures.”
This type of coffee has been said to look aesthetically pleasing to many, and is why people tend to not only make it to drink, but also to post photos of.
Being in quarantine is not the ideal way to spend spring semester, but it does offer time to try new things and adopt new hobbies.
These times may be unknown, lonely and frightening to many, but that does not mean the distractions and activities we safely can partake in cannot bring joy and entertainment. Some of us may come out of this learning new skills we may not have known before and creating different art forms for the world to enjoy.