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As someone who always needs to be doing something, I found that my boredom during the stay-at-home order peaked once my classes ended. With so much unexpected free time on my hands during the last five months, I found myself looking everywhere for something to keep away throughout the day. Fortunately, I discovered and re-discovered some things that have become my new favorite activities!

Film Photography

I still can’t believe that one of my current favorite hobbies came from watching a Youtube video one day and finding my dad’s old film camera in my basement. Something about having one chance to capture a moment and having to wait until the photo is developed to see it is so special and brings such an artistic component not only to photography, but also everything being captured. Taking photos around Chicago during the summer, I began to see the city in a different and more artistic way.

Guitar

Because of quitting piano after taking it for eight years, I never really considered taking up another instrument. However, after seeing how good my friend Christina got at playing guitar over the course of a year by teaching herself, I decided to try it out. I have always loved the sound of the guitar and besides the occasional pain that comes from letting the finger calluses go away too quickly, I have loved learning how to play some of my favorite songs.

Reading

While I always loved reading in grade school, it felt like my busy schedule during the school years in high school and freshman year of college allowed me to forget about how much I enjoy books. With so much free time during quarantine, I decided to re-take up reading and I was instantly reminded of how much I love being able to enter into a different world. I forgot how different the experience on a page is from that on a TV screen.

Working Out

During the entire time stuck at home, I found myself looking to exercise to keep me busy. It was nice being able to use the treadmill and dumbbells we had in my basement and going on runs in the neighborhood, but the best part was definitely being able to blast 2000s throwbacks on the speaker while doing it all.

Driving Downtown

One of the many places the virus impacted was downtown Chicago. With the usual, busy streets of shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions deserted, streets that were impossible to find a parking spot on were now completely empty. In the first few months of quarantine, the city creepily resembled a ghost town. However, it was the perfect time for me to get comfortable driving on the highway and in an urban area. I found myself heading downtown with my sister a lot while listening to music with the windows down along the lakefront and city lights.

Painting

One of my favorite things to be able to do at home was paint. Having all of the art supplies from grade school projects in my basement was somewhat therapeutic, as well as being able to listen to music while painting canvases, old records, and even a pair of jeans.

Decorating My Room

Right when we got home from school, I really enjoyed taking up my free time by redecorating my room and making it more personalized. Leaving for college, I always had the mindset that my room at home didn’t really matter because I would just be spending breaks there. With the unexpected time at home, it was fun being able to add vines, paintings, records, a nook with lights, and more to make it more me. I found myself spending a lot of time in my room after doing so.

Cooking/Baking

I will definitely admit to jumping on the bandwagon of banana bread this quarantine, and I can’t say I regret any of the many loaves my sister and I made, switching it up each time with chocolate chips, nuts, and more. Being able to have a kitchen was something I didn’t realize how much I would miss. I have always loved cooking, and being able to wake up and make whatever I wanted definitely helped keep me busy while stuck at home.

Making Playlists

At all times of the day, whether it be working out, reading, painting, or doing homework, I often found myself listening to music more than ever before. I really enjoyed having so much time to find new artists and music I might not have thought to listen to before. It has become one of my favorite things to be able to make playlists for my friends and exchange them with each other. I have found a new love for music during quarantine and being able to share it with others has been awesome.

Allison
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