How I keep busy amidst a global pandemic

Emma Langer, Contributor

Like most high schoolers, I eagerly welcomed our first week off. A week to just take a break, catch my breath, and handle everything I’d been pushing aside because of school. I caught up on sleep, binge watched Netflix, and worked on the yearbook. Those first two weeks were a perfect break. But then our break was over.

Now we were back “at” school, and it set in that we may be stuck at home for a lot longer than anyone would have initially thought. The first few days of school seemed overwhelming, but it quickly turned the other way. Finishing school by noon was no longer exciting, it meant I had to fill 10ish hours of my day without leaving my house or seeing anyone outside my family. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but there is definitely such a thing as too much family time. Sometimes all of us being bored worked out for the better. My dad liked to kill time baking cakes, but had no idea how to decorate them. I ended up decorating 3 cakes in the first 3 weeks of quarantine for him. Each week I’d try some new technique I saw online, or just some random idea that I thought might work. I made sprinkle flowers and powdered sugar hearts. I decided for Easter I would try and step it up a notch, and my brother was eager to help. 

I spent almost 2 hours teaching my 14 year old brother how to bake cake from scratch. After baking and letting them cool for 2 more hours, I started leveling them and teaching my brother how to make frosting. After a couple failures, we had some very sweet frosting that just barely managed to do what it needed to. My brother learned to just add powdered sugar until it looked right, and I learned I should not leave my brother unsupervised. After cleaning up many messes, I spent over an hour stacking and decorating the perfect Easter cake. In the end, I had a cake that looked like a basket with a nice Easter egg hug scene on top. The surprise came when my family cut into it and it was filled with jelly beans. 

Another way I’ve been killing time while helping those in need is sewing masks. My mom taught me how to sew many years ago, and her and I both have a sewing machine. After a cousin asked my mom to sew masks for the nursing home he worked at, we knew what we were going to do with our extra time. Now everyday after I finish my schoolwork, I spend hours cutting, ironing, pinning, and sewing masks. We’ve been able to send out over a hundred masks to nurses, cancer patients and their families, and people in elderly care homes. Right now, we have 90 more that are being finished. We were able to get free nose wires from a company and my mom found elastic online so all our masks can be as safe as possible. We plan on continuing to make masks until we run out of fabric or they are no longer needed. We donate all of the masks we make, asking only for the shipping to be paid for if people can. 

In order to try and keep a balance between work and play, I also got the new Animal Crossing game two days after it came out. I’d be lying if I said my hours played were under 130. I’ve also been doing all my homework, preparing for AP tests, reading books, getting things ready for next year’s yearbook, and trying to figure out the logistics of this year’s yearbook. In times like these, it’s important to be able to find things to focus your time and attention on. It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. I hope everyone is staying healthy and finding ways to keep themselves happy and busy.