Aurora University

What Hobby Did You Discover During the Pandemic Shutdown?

When the COVID-19 crisis first began, the stay-at-home order and the closure of all but essential businesses left many of us at loose ends in the evenings and on the weekends. Attending movies, plays, sporting events, concerts, fitness classes, and even hosting large parties at home were out of the question, so what could we do to unwind? We asked several Aurora University faculty and staff members how they passed the time.

“One unexpected pleasure for me in this stressful pandemic time has been developing the practice of taking long walks with my husband almost every day. We had to find a different way to get some exercise, since all the gyms were closed, and the walks not only fill that need but also give us time to talk and process all of the national events and the new challenges in teaching and parenting.”
Sara Elliott, associate professor of English

“I kept busy by completing a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and two paint-by-number projects. I also planted flower seeds to germinate for planting in May. I tried some new recipes in the kitchen too.”
Alison Arendt, associate professor of social work, director of graduate studies, School of Social Work

“What I am most proud of is my focus on walking long distances to tone up my body and lose weight. In July I walked over 1 million steps, the equivalent of more than 500 miles, and lost 30 pounds. That’s in addition to the 100 pounds I have lost since 2009.”
Andrew Carr, assistant professor of business and finance

“For the past several months (years really) I have been working on a book titled “7 Highly Effective Police Leaders.” The time during the quarantine allowed me to work toward completion of the last chapter, which coincidentally connected with the mass police protests. I also added research related to the 1918 flu pandemic to a chapter that I wrote on August Vollmer, the first police chief of Berkeley, California, and the father of the police professionalism movement.”
Brandon Kooi, professor of criminal justice

“Friends and I started doing informal readings of plays once a month on Zoom. We don’t do it for an audience. We do it as a social gathering. People propose shows they love and that are hopeful and inspiring. We read them for no reason other than to speak the words and hear them out loud. Some plays we have read for absolutely no reason include Kate Hamill’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and Lauren Gunderson’s ‘The Book of Will.’”
Stacy Joyce, associate professor of theatre

“Spending more time at home gave me an opportunity to complete some house projects. I built a storage bench area in my garage to house boots, coats, and sports gear for my kids. I constructed a lofted bed for my daughter and a couple of tables for my back patio. All in all, I’ve had many productive evenings!”
Ryan Lakin, head men’s soccer coach

“I learned how to use Zoom in new ways to connect with friends and family, from Greece to Los Angeles.”
Penny Petropoul, assistant vice president for alumni relations and student success advisor

“I developed a passion for getting fit with jogging and weight training. As an added bonus, I lost 75 pounds and feel 20 years younger.”
Richard Boniak, associate professor of environmental and general science, assistant academic dean, and assistant chair of biology, George Williams College