Exploring creativity

Student’s hobbies acquired during distance learning

Video provided by Jose Godinez

It’s been a total of 223 days since Bonita Vista High (BVH) students were sitting at their desks in school listening to Principal Roman Del Rosario’s, Ed.D., announcement that they would be excused from school until further notice due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It’s been 185 days since students were informed that they would be continuing school from home through distance learning.

As a result of the extended time at home, many students have depended on their hobbies as a way to cope with all the time they have due to the pandemic. Students like sophomore Giselle Geering and senior Yesenia Sandez adopted hobbies in order to fill the extra time distance learning has provided them. Other students such as freshman Jose Godinez and junior Belen Lara-Trejo acquired hobbies to have fun and experiment with their interests.

“Considering we’re in quarantine and we don’t have much to do, I do consider [the video-sharing platform TikTok] a hobby. When we first started quarantine I was trying too hard to post on it, but now it’s just a hobby,” Sandez said.

On Aug. 28, Sandez released a video on her TikTok account sharing her emotional distress. In the video, Sandez wrote, “I heard girls are supporting girls r[ight] [now].” As of Oct. 19, 2020, Sandez’s video was viewed by over 171.7 thousand people and it received over 80.3 thousand likes on TikTok.

“When I posted that video, I was in a bad headspace with this quarantine [and] online schooling [and] I’d come out of a doctor’s appointment [after] breaking my ankle,” Sandez said. “It did give me faith in humanity because there was a lot of love and support on [the video]. I’m still shocked.”

According to Sandez, she posts her art, singing and occasionally advocates for issues, namely body-shaming and social movements like the Black Lives Matter movement.

“When videos would come up on my [for you] page of people body shaming other people or saying racist things, I don’t feel [that] I needed to post something about it, but at the same time, I’m not just going to sit back and watch it happen. Silence is hurting at [this] point,” Sandez said.

On the other hand, students such as Godinez keep active by learning more physical hobbies. After Godinez’s father bought him his first bike to repair, the spare time that Godinez had on his hands due to the pandemic allowed him to get involved in the sport bicycle motocross (BMX). 

The main BMX style Godinez practices is racing; riders race on a dirt track with obstacles, some of which are hills, jumps and turns. The second BMX style that Godinez practices is freestyle, where riders compete rather than race. According to USA Cycling, professionally, riders perform a sequence of tricks on ramps, walls and other obstacles in the park. Afterward, those riders are judged on the quality of the difficulty, style and originality of their performance. 

“[BMX] helps me release stress from school. I would get my homework done and then ask my dad to take me [to the skatepark], and I would go there for hours,” Godinez said. “I’m glad because now that I’ve found [BMX] out, I feel [that] I can do it with distance learning and without. It’s a really fun thing for me.”

Godinez makes use of his bike everyday at Oceanside Skatepark and at Sweetwater Bike Park. However, he describes that his mother worries that he may seriously injure himself. Luckily, Godinez has only received minor injuries such as bruises and a sore neck.

“[BMX] is fun but sometimes you just have to let go [of the bike] because when you fall you don’t want to fall with the bike. Then you’re going to hurt yourself and you’re going to hurt the bike,” Godinez said.

In contrast, other students, specifically Lara-Trejo and Geering, adopted hobbies related to art. For Lara-Trejo, she has pursued a hobby in makeup. She was first introduced to wearing makeup during her time in show choir at BVH. She decided to further improve her makeup skills after watching her younger sister learn how to use makeup.

“I realized that I like [makeup]. I don’t take it too seriously. I’m not good at it, but it’s just fun to have something to do,” Lara-Trejo said.

Lara-Trejo further explains that she does not pressure herself to be the best at makeup because it is more of a fun hobby for her rather than for skill. 

“Sometimes when I’m bored or even a little down, I’ll put on some makeup and it’ll give me a little mood boost. It makes me feel almost productive,” Lara-Trejo said. “You don’t need to be a girl to do makeup. You don’t even have to be feminine to use makeup. I am not feminine at all, but it’s just something fun to experiment with.”

Conversely, Geering adopted a hobby in sewing historical gowns, more specifically, gowns and suits from the early 1700s to the early 1900s. Although Geering has been sewing before quarantine, she didn’t start sewing historical gowns until quarantine began. According to Geering, her first regency dress took four weeks to be finalized. Now that the dress is complete, Geering is planning on wearing her dress for Halloween.

“I like history and recreating it. If you’re doing it historically accurate, then you’re doing the same things that your ancestors did, and you learn from that. You’re put in their shoes,” Geering said.

As of now, Geering plans on keeping all her products and doesn’t plan on selling her gowns or garments. Geering is a self-taught seamstress, but she refers to YouTube videos and books when she has a question about sewing.

“[Sewing gowns] really opened my eyes to a world of sewing and the history of fashion. [When] making women’s clothing, you think about what they had to wear and what society thought was acceptable throughout the years. I just think that’s really interesting and being more informed on that is really beneficial,” Geering said.

As a product of distance learning, BVH has gained a TikToker, BMX rider, makeup artist and historical seamstress, along with the many other unaccounted students who have picked up hobbies throughout the pandemic.

“Try the unexpected. You never know what you’re going to end up liking because I did not expect to like TikTok,” Sandez said.