Students on campus over break face loneliness and boredom, find new hobbies

Dec. 15, 2020, 7:21 p.m.

Students staying on campus for winter break report feeling bored and lonely, leading many to pick up new hobbies and projects that they can safely do in their free time. 

“Without any classes going on and we are not supposed to be socializing, there is not really much we can do, and most things on campus aren’t open,” said Kheshawn Wynn ’23.

With fall quarter ending on Nov. 20, students staying on campus for the full duration of winter break will be there for a total of seven weeks. According to R&DE spokesperson Joceyn Breeland,  more than 500 undergraduates and more than 5,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers lived in University housing during fall quarter. However, she wrote that only about 150 undergraduates applied to remain on campus during winter break in an email to The Daily, and about 90 applied for a partial winter break stay that ended on Dec. 12. 

Two weeks prior to the end of fall quarter, Steven Li ’24 said that he created a to-do list for winter break that contained various action items that he did not get to complete during the quarter. “I’m really glad I just have a lot of time to really work on it,” Li said.

During this time, Li said he has also been keeping himself busy by volunteering with an organization that he worked for while he was in high school. This work includes assisting current high school interns who work for the organization, giving him the opportunity to interact with interns with whom he used to work and continue doing meaningful work with the organization. 

“I’m excited about just having more time to get back to what I was really passionate about,” he said.

Tyah Roberts ’23 said that, while fall quarter was draining for her, she did not realize that once the quarter ended she would have nothing else to do over break. To keep busy on a nearly empty campus, she has been crocheting in her free time. 

“I kind of sit around and I crochet,” Roberts said. “That takes up some of my time and other than that, I just scroll through Tik Tok.” 

Some students, such as Wynn, are using their time on campus during break to work on personal development and research projects. Wynn said that he is currently working on a research project through the psychology department that “requires a lot of sitting down and concentration.” He added that this long break has allowed him to work on avoiding procrastination.

“I have more of an incentive to do my work because I don’t really have anything else to do,” Wynn said.

Li, who lives in EVGR, said that he is enjoying the company of his roommate but is preparing himself for when his roommate, and many other students who applied for a partial stay, leave campus. He added that he anticipates his sense of connectedness with the small number of students originally on campus will change following their departure. “I’m expecting to get a little bit lonely because I think everyone’s going to be leaving campus by December 12,” he said. “So there’s that aspect to it, but I’m not too worried about it.” 

Roberts said that, while she has been bored on campus over break, she wants to keep both herself and her family safe. She views staying on campus as the best option given her situation. 

“I just don’t really want to expose people to risk and if I were to go home, my grandmother would be there and things like that,” Roberts said. “I would rather just sit here because I do not want to catch something on the plane and give it to my family.”

Contact Nyah Fernandez at nyfernandezz ‘at’  

Nyah Fernandez is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily’s Winter Journalism Workshop.

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