Students adjust to new lifestyles in creative ways

How SPU students find balance during COVID-19 outbreak

Hannah Flores, Staff Reporter

a rack of chocolate chip cookies
Photo courtesy of Keegan Daley
Keegan Daley has taken up baking during COVID-19, and has found joy in sharing his creations with his family.

Keegan Daley, a junior majoring in communications, recalls the scent of apples and cinnamon as his mom baked in the kitchen of his childhood home. Whether it was apple pies or birthday cakes, she would craft delicious creations. Daley was fascinated with her skills as a child, and was excited to get back into baking during his down time amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Daley expressed that the activity has brought him peace during this stressful time of his life. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many students have been forced to move home, classes have moved to an online format and each day seems to bring uncertainty. To help alleviate feelings of anxiety, many students shared that returning to old hobbies or picking up new activities in their free time has helped to keep them busy and relaxed during this chaotic time. 

For Daley, the transition to this new lifestyle has been particularly difficult because he enjoys being out in nature. 

“Everything feels completely different because I’ve been in one spot,” he said. 

Daley explained that, because of health complications, he is completely restricted to his home and is frustrated by not being able to take a walk around his neighborhood.

In a time of distress, baking has given Daley a routine to help him get through the long days. 

“It takes time out of my day and, for example, with the sourdough starter I’m making, I have to remember to feed it twice a day so it gives me something to work on,” he said. 

He enjoys the end result of baking because he has a physical product. He added that he feels an overwhelming sense of joy sharing the finished pastries and baked goods with his family.

Rather than baking, sophomore and international business major Grace Meyer practices bullet journaling. Similar to Daley, she shared that journaling has helped her keep a consistent schedule during a time when routine seems to be lacking. 

“Usually, I use journaling as a method to keep track of my schedules. But I have been taking time more recently to write out my feelings about everything happening in the world,” Meyer said. 

Meyer explained that, like many students, her move back home to Mexico has been difficult for her — mainly because she is away from her friends. Journaling has provided her with a positive outlet in this time of transition. 

“I find myself writing about three or four times a week,” she said. “It has been really helpful to sort everything out and process my thoughts, which is something that I usually do with my friends. ” 

Some students have taken to relaxing, finding comfort in more casual activities rather than trying to keep to a specific routine. 

a drawing of two hands touching
Photo courtesy of Jamie Hoffman
Jamie Hoffman has gotten back into drawing as a way to pass her extra time during the stay at home orders.

Jamie Hoffman, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said that she has always enjoyed drawing and is glad to be able to do it once again while in self-isolation. She has also begun painting. 

“I mostly use pencil and sketch very realistically, so it takes a lot of time. Recently, I’ve been using markers and paint because it feels like more of an immediate payoff,” Hoffman said. 

Since she moved back to Puyallup, WA, Hoffman has redecorated her room and is now focusing on making art pieces to hang as embellishments. 

Hoffman concluded that art has been a way for her to relax and take her mind off of the negativity that circulates in day-to-day conversations. 

“It’s just something that I do for fun, but it’s been nice to have something to focus on,” she said. 

For Sydney Hack, a sophomore majoring in integrated studies, returning to gaming has been a great stress-reliever. 

“I am playing a lot more often because I have more free time, but I am intentionally picking games where the characters get to go outside,” she said. 

Hack shared that with games such as “The Sims 4” and “Grand Theft Auto V,” she gets the experience of being outside, which has brought her a sense of comfort in a time where access to outdoor activities are limited. 

She shared that gaming has always been a way that she relieves stress and that, since moving back to Omak, WA, gaming has been the only “normal” aspect of her routine. Playing has helped her to reacclimate and settle in at home.  

While some prefer routine and others enjoy relaxing, students are doing their best to keep busy despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 on their lives and the world. 

“It’s been fun to get back to [my hobbies] now that I have the time,” Meyer said. “And it’s nice to have different activities to occupy my mind.”