One year later

Three students share what they’ve been doing in the year since in-person school ended


Ally McAfee

Finding a new hobby during quarantine, freshman Hannah McAfee types up a short story. She always loved reading, but found a new love of writing during quarantine.

By Ally McAfee, Intro to Pubs

As the Coronavirus pandemic reaches it’s one-year anniversary, students share some of the hobbies they’ve taken up or revived during “quarantine” to stave off boredom.

     Last spring the nation was shut down to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Since then activities open to the public have become few and far between.  Without the need to attend school and with most popular haunts closed, teenagers have found themselves with a lot more idle time to fill. 

     Some teens have discovered new ways to pass the time, such as freshman Hannah McAfee who shares one of her new favorite pastimes, writing short stories.  

     “I have always read, but writing is new. I normally don’t like to write, but I have been getting a lot of ideas that I have to write down before I forget,” McAfee said. “Last quarter for homework I had to write an Icarus story, afterwards, I got carried away and kept writing.” 

     She explained that while writing can be an enjoyable creative outlet, she may not have discovered how interesting she would find it if not for the pandemic. However, even as it stretches on and becomes “the new normal,” the pandemic has not improved her school year.

     “It’s become routine, but I’m ready for it to be done.” McAfee stated. 

    She elected to do 100% Online Learning, but is unsure whether it’s an adequate introduction to high school. 

     “It’s hard because I don’t get the freshman experience that most high schoolers get, and it makes me more nervous for next year.” 

Senior Riley Gish enjoys photography. In the past year, she has found time to renew her hobby of taking photos. (Courtesy of Riley Gish)

     Other teens, including Senior Riley Gish, have chosen to view the pandemic as a chance to take up old hobbies once again and are reigniting their interest in activities such as photography.

     “I’ve been into photography since about freshman year but have gotten into it a lot more since the pandemic started.” Gish said.  

     It has been exactly one year since the much anticipated but abruptly canceled Unity Day signaled the unexpected end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

     “I definitely didn’t expect it to last this long, but I’m also grateful because I’ve gotten to spend more time with family, and I feel like I have grown a lot as a person,” Gish said. She has also elected to do the 100% online option, and, despite being surprised that the chaotic confusion of Unity Day lingered as long as it had, doesn’t regret her decision to stay home in the slightest.

     She’s taken advantage of the opportunity to not only spend time with her family, but also to learn more about the art of photography, and hunt out new scenery. 

     “I have always loved how photography looks and then learning the tips and tricks behind actually taking a good picture was super interesting. The beach and the mountains are probably my favorite places [to take photos] but [I like]  really anywhere that has pretty landscapes.” 

     Senior Mackenzie Walsh has found her passion for dance rapidly becoming easier to enjoy as the Tigerettes resume in-person practices. Until recently they had been dancing and working out over Zoom, which she said kept her busy, but was nowhere near as fun or rewarding, not to mention the difficulties of dancing at home. Walsh also opted to participate in 100% online learning for this school year, and the new addition of dance practice has increased the tempo of what had become a very slow-paced lifestyle due to the pandemic’s effect on her day-to-day activities. 

     “I got bored easily really fast with the pandemic so I started to miss certain activities or try to find more to do or to do them more often to stay busy and entertained,” she said. 

     The physical activity and routine brought by dance has been a welcome way of battle boredom, and her previous lack of social activities make her extra grateful for the time she gets to spend with her teammates. 

     “It’s better being with the team in our new studio space.”

     2020 and 2021 will likely go down in history as the most isolated and chaos-ridden years of these teen’s lives, but many people will be moving on with new hobbies, knowledge, and appreciation for social interaction.