As the University of La Verne has hit week seven of its campus-wide shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, students are stuck at home with more free time to kill than ever before.
Students like sophomore political science major Daniela Lemus said she has used websites like Zoom to group chat with her friends. However, she said she and her boyfriend have found more creative ways to continue with their date nights.
Almost every night Lemus and her boyfriend log onto the popular free-world video game Minecraft to complete daily missions together. Their adventures include creating virtual villages and slaying dragons.
“We have our own village and usually we’ll go mining together,” Lemus said. “Recently we had to defeat the Ender Dragon.”
Lemus, who never usually gamed in college, saw her extra free time as an opportunity to start up her old Minecraft account and interact with others online while still practicing social distancing.
“I used to play when I was little and then I found out he had an account too. If you just FaceTime and talk while you do it, you will be entertained,” she said.
Lemus highly recommends online gaming to other couples to fulfill their adventurous side during this time.
Other students like junior educational studies major Daniella Martinez said she switched up her old ways of doing classwork by moving the activity outside.
“I’ll do homework and lay out in my backyard during the week. On Friday nights I do my homework by our firepit,” Martinez said.
The outside seems to offer a lot more activities for Martinez when she wants to take a study break.
“My dad made a cornhole set and I painted it,” Martinez said. “I’ll also take breaks and play ping pong with my brother.”
There seems to be a common trend among guys when it comes to finding their own ways to stay busy: video games.
Senior biology major Chase Pasos said he streams his video gaming on the live stream website Twitch.
“I started in high school and I just kind of did it for fun as a hobby and tried taking it seriously before quarantine started,” Pasos said.
However, since quarantine offered a lot more free time at home, Pasos said he took the opportunity to intensify his gaming hours nightly. To his surprise, Pasos discovered his main audience is from the other side of the globe.
“The game that helped me grow a lot was Battlefield 5. I don’t know why but a lot of people in Italy love Battlefield 5,” Pasos said. “At 1 a.m. I get a lot of viewers and they ask me what time it is and I tell them ‘1 a.m.’ and they tell me ‘Oh, it’s 11 a.m. here in Italy.’”
Pasos recently celebrated his 22nd birthday by hosting a live stream gaming event and accepting donations, which can be accepted through the website from his audience, for the Feeding America’s CHOICE-19 relief fund.
“I raised $95 so I just threw on the extra $5 to round it up to $100,” Pasos said.
Sophomore business major Isaiah Diaz said he also games when he is not busy with homework, but he was also able to pick up another practice he started experimenting with while in high school: meditation.
“Sit down, play my meditation music, focus on the breathing, that’s about it,” Diaz said. “I usually do it before I go to bed. It helps me stay grounded, be in more tune with myself and it allows thinking time.”
Diaz was blindsided by sudden stress when the coronavirus pandemic caused the school to physically shut down and move online, as well as being cooped up with his family at home for months.
“I was losing my mind during the school year. My stress levels were through the roof. It carried into quarantine. But as soon as I started meditating, it went away,” Diaz said.
Diaz said mediation has helped him a lot and will continue the practice even after quarantine has ended.
Aaron Arellano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.