Students find ways to relax during self-quarantine

Students have found fun and productive ways to cope with the adjustment to online classes ever since El Camino College shut down its campus in response to COVID-19 concerns.

Devin Grijalva, 21, history major, has been using his newfound spare time to practice his cooking skills. He picked up cooking last December and has set his mind to making various dishes from poached eggs to pasta.

“Recently I’ve gotten better at making this one dish,” Grijalva said. “It’s a pasta dish made with spaghetti, garlic and oil. It’s really good.”

Grijalva mainly cooks for himself, usually during times when he’s got no work to do for his classes.

He also believes that cooking has relieved a lot of worry about his classes, during all this change.

“It’s a little bit [of] getting used to, said Grijalva. “[But thanks to cooking,] I’m not pulling my hair out [with] concern, and I get a meal out of it too.”

Alison Rojas, 21, anthropology major, sees staying home for online class as a chance to also work on some art projects she’s been wanting to do.

“Mostly what I’ve been working on [are] random sketches and paintings,” Rojas said.

Along with drawing and painting, Rojas is also using her extra free time to redecorate her bedroom.

“I started hanging up various paintings and artwork I’ve done over the years. I’ve also been painting some of the mirror frames in my room,” Rojas said.

While she’s not fully used to classes being online yet, Rojas believes that there is some good to come out this whole situation.

“I find it very satisfying to be able to actually do [things] while I’m home, instead of just having to worry about what I need to do next for my [classes].” Rojas said.

Some ECC students have also found that catching up on the latest video games is a good way to relieve some pressure.

Isaiah David, 23, physical therapy major, recently bought the latest installment of the Borderlands games as a way to distract himself from problems with online school.

“It’s been super stressful lately with my professors,” David said. “They’re not exactly used to the changes yet, so I’ve been having trouble with one of my classes.”

David said playing video games is a great way to calm someone’s nerves; especially in crazy times like these.

“[Video games] help distract you from the issues that are going on right now,” David said.

Keeping in touch with his friends through Discord, a popular communication app among the gaming community, lets David check up on them and ask how they’re handling everything.

Practicing crochet is a skill that anyone could easily pick up to help pass the time, according communication studies major Alyssa Cates.

She has been practicing crochet for about three months and uses her time in self-quarantine to refine her skills.

“I saw a tutorial on how to make them on YouTube, and it seemed easy,” Cates said. “So, the next day, I just started doing it.”

Cates has become proficient in making stuffed animals. She said that she has made five of her own, so far and believes the time and effort she puts into making these stuffed animals have helped her worry less about her classes.

“It’s just been difficult understanding, [all] of the change,” Cates said.

While the ECC campus remains closed to the public, Cates plans to crochet more stuffed animals to help pass the time. She also mentioned starting an account on Etsy, where she plans to sell them someday.

Most professors at ECC have been using video conferencing to keep in touch with their students during this difficult time.

According to Maryalice Jordan-Marsh, associate professor at USC and an expert in exercise and health, interactive media, intergenerational connections and self care, these calls provide essential social time.

“I think it’s more critical than ever to maintain connections,” Jordan-Marsh said. “[This time is] also a golden opportunity to rebuild old friendships and bridge the gaps between generations.”

Social distancing can become stressful for students who are used to being on campus.

“I would recommend connecting with others to do a virtual meal through either Facebook, Google Hangouts, or Zoom,” said Jordan-Marsh. “Even if it’s just over the phone, agree to have lunch or dinner together.”

Jordan-Marsh also suggested for students who may be experiencing loneliness or depression during self-quarantine, to immediately reach out to school resources, family, and friends for help.

Emergency hotlines students and other readers can reach out to include:

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1(800) 273-8255
  • ECC Student Health Services – 1(310) 660-3643
  • Crisis Counseling – text HOME to 741741

If you are a student at El Camino, and want to share other ways to relax during this difficult time, feel free to share. Get in touch with us on Twitter at @ECCUnion.