Quarantine Hobbies: New and Rediscovered Pastimes of UCSB Students

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Illustration by Esther Liu

Daniel Ku
Contributing Writer

California’s stay-at-home order means the loss of jobs, classes, and community activities. Many students are using their spare time to adopt new, rediscovered, or existing pastimes. Whether for fun or for self-development, hobbies are outlets to express individuality and satisfy the need for excitement and growth. 

Through online interviews, The Bottom Line asked three students at UC Santa Barbara to share with us how they’re spending their time indoors, including tips for those interested in following their steps.

Streaming

Paul Lee, a fifth-year communication major, started streaming “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and “League of Legends” during spring break, a pastime that mirrors the work of a content creator.

“I’ve been streaming and have tried the whole content creator thing [by] creating multiple avenues to grow my stream,” Lee explains. Streaming is a process in which content is created through the use of live footage, whether it’s someone playing video games, reacting to other content, or just chatting with their viewers. Using platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to increase his viewership, Lee talks about the enjoyment he gets from streaming.

“Creating [an] image and brand and trying to market through Twitter and Instagram feels like a business,” says Lee. “Trying to be better than other streamers is fun and interesting. It feels good when I’m randomly streaming and people come watch and talk to me.”

For Lee, simply trying to grow his streaming community is a rewarding experience. For those interested in getting their foot in the streaming community, Lee suggests first turning off your viewer count.  

“You don’t want to get too focused on how many viewers you have and instead want to focus on creating the best stream possible. Just have fun streaming. Try not to just stream [just] the big games but games you actually enjoy playing. The people who enjoy watching those games will find you.”

Follow Paul Lee’s stream at twitch.tv/paulman00103.

Gaming

Second-year Ebony Givens spends her spare time during quarantine playing video games, namely “Pokémon” and “Animal Crossing,” to relieve boredom and stress.

“’Animal Crossing’ happens in real time and there’s not a linear storyline to follow, so you can play it during different times of the day and see how time changes,” Givens explains. “You can also do things like fish and catch insects, which I find relaxing.”

Amid lockdowns, game sales have grown 44 percent due in large part by recent releases like “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” As Givens says, playing the game is a great way to pass the time when there’s nothing else to do. 

 “I usually play a game for about 20 minutes before switching to something else, but will play for an hour or so if I enjoy it at that moment. ‘Animal Crossing’ is getting really popular now and many people seem to like it, so I’d recommend looking into that if people are curious.”

Drawing

Hoang-My Tran, a first year studying physics, expresses her creativity through art and comics. Although she’s been drawing for a long time, she’s only recently had the time to get back into her hobby. The lack of stimulus during spring break as well as the trending art challenges on Twitter motivated her to start drawing again.

“The stay-at-home order reignited my passion by giving me more free time,” Tran explains. “It made me feel more locked up in my mind. I usually relate my thoughts and feelings to stories that I write in my mind and I feel like the quarantine gave me more free time to think.”

For Tran, drawing is more than just pencil on paper. She enjoys conceiving art because it allows her to use her imagination to create and recreate characters and situations in the way she envisions them. 

“I enjoy the storytelling, world building, and making my experiences and feelings come to life. I feel like I can understand myself better if I question my own ethics, morality and perspectives [and] apply those thoughts to the characters I create.”

Tran has some advice for those interested in learning to draw: don’t hesitate, just start drawing.

“Don’t look at [your art] and be like ‘oh my god, my art is so shit compared to everyone else.’ The audience isn’t thinking that. For example, let’s say you’re drawing a cake and another person also draws a cake. The audience is just thinking there’s two cakes. Practice makes perfect.”

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