Some students have taken up reading, while others chose to indulge in a nice glass of wine or beer. Photo credit: Ilona Hlovyak

For most college students, quarantine has meant no school, no work, and no social life. So, what have people been up to while stuck at home for three months?

Some students have decided to take up extra elective summer courses to either get ahead of their studies or to gain some extra knowledge on topics they find interesting.

“I’ve been taking elective summer courses just on topics I find really interesting. I’m taking Yale University’s African American history course, and Harvard University’s introduction course on architecture and design, ” said Mikayla Ramsay, a general arts, science-media and communications student at Algonquin College.

One recent graduate has decided to put her skills to use while stuck at home.

“I am a graphic designer, so I really have taken this time to start brushing up on my skills and teach myself some new things in order to get better,” said Brianna Brooks, an interactive media design graduate from Algonquin College.

Students have also found the kitchen an inspiring place.

Since restaurants have closed, and most only offer delivery and take out during the pandemic, students have found themselves cooking more often and are actually enjoying it.

“I’ve tried getting a lot better at cooking because I learned very quickly I ate most meals out. I’ve found that I actually really enjoy cooking and it does save a ton of money, so I think I’ll keep that one up,” said Ramsay.

Quarantine has also given some students the time they need to look after themselves.

“I am in love with reading the self-help genre, and I realized I didn’t do half as much reading as I did before being in quarantine. I also realized I really didn’t take care of my mental health enough and I will absolutely be taking more time for myself,” said Brooks.

And, for some, the daily routine has not changed very much at all.

“During quarantine most of my time is spent at work because I work at a grocery store. However, I still also hang out with my friends sometimes and we usually try and find new outdoor places to explore,” said Andrea Al-jouni, an esthetician student at Algonquin.

Alcohol has also played a different role during quarantine.

Alcohol sales in Canada spiked during the early days of the pandemic. A poll by Nanos Research, commissioned for the Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), found Canadians 54 and older say they have been drinking more. CCSA also found one in five Canadians staying at home have been drinking once a day since the beginning of May.

Does this mean students have also partaken in more drinking?

“As a matter of fact, I do find myself consuming more alcohol since the virus outbreak. I feel like it does give me and my friends something to do. It’s a fun way to pass time while stuck at home, but I can see how it can impact people negatively during these times,” said Al-jouni.

Some have actually said because they’re usually social drinkers their drinking habits tend to be more casual now.

“I’m usually a very social drinker and I tend to go out to bars with friends or after work. So, being at home I’ve found myself only really having wine with dinner or the odd beer when enjoying the nice weather,” said Ramsay.

But, for the most part, students have found new, healthy ways to keep themselves busy. Many believe they will come out of this with new hobbies, knowledge, and skills.