Baldwin students and staff take up new hobbies to deal with the Pandemic


Cassidy Williams grabbed the new plastic brushes and blank canvases she had just bought. Finding a tutorial on the internet, she took the paintbrush in her hand and painted her first stroke.

“I taught myself to paint after getting bored of doing the same thing over and over again,” Williams said. “The skill of painting is difficult to fully grasp, but I am glad that I was able to learn and hone my skill with all of the extra time I had.”

The year that has passed since the pandemic shut down the region has provided students and teachers with the opportunity to work on their skills, their fitness, and their relationships. All of that free time led to creative ways to combat boredom.

Many worked on their health and fitness and in the outdoors.

In addition to picking up painting, Williams spent time outside, in her backyard.

“I have a pool and a hot tub, so I spent a lot of time in them throughout the warmer months,” she said.

Senior Dipseka Timsina started a walking club to encourage others to go out and exercise. 

“My friends and I went for socially distanced walks so we could stay connected and get exercise at the same time,” Timsina said. “We promoted the club through social media and let other people join us if they wanted to.” 

Teachers also used the extra time to enjoy the outdoors.

French teacher Kathryn Streets participated in outdoor activities with her children. She and her father would take her kids to different parks every week. The event became known as “Adventure Day.”

Streets also worked on her own fitness goals throughout the quarantine.

“I am a marathon runner and so quarantine just really allowed me the space and the time in the day to dedicate myself more to my running and my training,” she said.

Others picked up hobbies and skills.

Senior Emilie Rechtorik used the shutdown as a chance to take a hobby to the next level, so she started her own Etsy shop for handmade jewelry.

Quarantine has me trying almost every different craft on the planet.”

— Emilie Rechtorik

“Quarantine has me trying almost every different craft on the planet,” Rechtorik said. “It’s motivated me, since I could always spend my spare time making my jewelry.”

The shutdown provided time to improve not only on her jewelry making skills, but also practical things like time management, Rechtorik said.

Starting a new shop came with some struggles, but Rechtorik believes her business will continue to grow.

“I’ve struggled with sales since my shop is still new,” Rechtorik said. “Still, I try to make as many new things as possible to grow my business as much as I can.”

The shutdown provided Rechtorik with the perfect opportunity to open an online shop, and now that restrictions have been lifted she can take it even further.

“During the shutdown there weren’t any craft shows for me to show my work at, but now there’s one coming up in April,” Rechtorik said.

Senior Riley Jones, meanwhile, taught herself how to crochet to keep herself busy. 

“I found tutorials on YouTube and bought the materials and it ended up being really fun,” Jones said. “I made hats and scrunchies for myself and my friends.” 

Baking became increasingly popular throughout the lockdown.

Streets said she ended up baking with her kids a lot. This activity allowed them to bond while creating delicious treats.

Jones also learned how to bake. 

“I found recipes online and started making fresh bread, bagels, cinnamon rolls and cakes out of boredom,” Jones said. “My parents even bought me a KitchenAid because I was baking almost every day.” 

When it came to family interactions, people typically split into one of two camps: Those who could spend time with extended family in person due to certain exceptions and those who were not able to interact with family members in person.

Streets was able to visit her family quite often due to location.

“Both my parents and in-laws live within 10 minutes of us,” she said.

Others were not so lucky and were unable to visit extended family.

Williams was unable to spend time with family due to her relatives’ health conditions.

“I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with my family because some suffer from health issues, so people were strictly quarantining,” she said.

However, technology allowed many families to stay in touch over the internet. 

Senior Mark Bosco and his family found creative ways to stay in touch with each other. 

“My family is spread out between many different states and with all of the limits on travel it was impossible for us to visit each other,” Bosco said. “We arranged Zoom calls for our birthdays, Christmas and other occasions that we would typically be together for. Technology gave us the opportunity to stay connected and celebrate holidays together while still being safe.” 

Social media became a popular way for people to disconnect from the hectic world. Many participated in trends and posted on the popular app TikTok.

One big TikTok trend at the beginning of quarantine was whipped coffee, also known as Dalgona coffee. Williams was one of the people who participated in this trend.

“I thought it was a fun thing to do and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about,” Williams said. “It was a really fun and easy way to pass the time.” 

Others, though, strayed away from social media.

“I tried to stay away from social media and focus on the extra time I had with my kids,” Streets said.