The year long lull of quarantine certainly took its toll. Being stuck at home with no school or work outlet for scenery caused burn out for a lot of us. This caused people to start exploring different avenues to make up for the time they would have usually spent outside and mingling. Quarantine wasn’t just for the blues, a healthy amount of people picked hobbies back up again or found new things to use their spare time on. 

Stan State is rich with students that are not only in the thick of academics but work outside of courses. On top of the usual expectations required of them, one might forget hobbies that they’ve neglected while mixed up in the world outside their homes.

Olivia Larson shared some of her personal experiences in returning some lost attention to a love of handmade items. Larson started her leatherworking in 2018, it began as a project to attend the Renaissance Faire we’ve all missed going to this past year. 

“I was just making a few things for myself, never really did a lot of great work. I made myself some shoddy armor...I was in way over my head trying to make a full suit of armor as my very first project.”

Olivia Larson Workspace

Photograph by Olivia Larson. April 20th, 2021. 

With quarantine allotting time to hone the craft, Larson has gained a curious commission crowd for her items. The people she gets to talk business with are usually seeking a more personalized piece than most would order.

“I think one of my favorite pieces was a horse harness I made for a woman. Her daughter had Ehlers Danlos syndrome and had a service miniature horse instead of a dog, and she needed a specialty harness so her daughter could grab onto and lean on the horse for support," Larson said.

Among the commodifying crowd, some just picked up interests from a spark of inspiration. Social media tends to ignite trends, whether it be sourdough taking the masses by storm or the homemade sticker scene. The Signal's Jocelyn Burke made a purchase over quarantine entirely enabled by ‘crickot’ or cricut TikTok.

“I fell down a rabbit hole of videos showing people using the Cricut for all types of crafts," Burke stated.

Jocelyn Burke Workspace

Photograph by Jocelyn Burke. April 17th, 2021.

Despite having time to indulge her crafty side, Burke doesn't foresee having the room in her busy schedule to take this charming hobby to the small business level. Burke doesn’t plan on shelving this leisure any time soon however, and there might be room in the future for different opportunities!

We’ve covered crafts by machine and hand, but what about other spare time activities? Quarantine had an umbrella effect on most businesses and institutions recalculating how they reach people. Lots of things that would normally require in-person appearances have turned remote. Marissa Seaman saw an opportunity for free time between courses that involved internships. What originally was a suggestion became a reality and she set her sights and efforts on looking for one.

“I didn’t really think that there were going to be that many opportunities because of the pandemic so I just did some research online. I applied and I got a position,” said Seaman.

Seaman mentioned that internships look excellent on applications and resumes. They also offer some previously unexplored skills that could serve you well in a professional setting.

“Honestly I feel like because of quarantine it’s caused me to go outside of my comfort zone a little bit and do things without having that solid social aspect to it,” she added. 

The barriers that lockdowns and quarantine erected in our usual social environments paved the way for new and interesting pastimes. While we’ve all been affected by this, there’s still something positive to say about how people can overcome a lull in motivation. Opportunities to explore ourselves pop up in the most unprecedented times, might as well go for them!

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