New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Culture Desk Faves: Our Quarantine Hobbies

WSN’s Culture desk shares the ways they found to cope with quarantine.
Reading, roller skating, listening to true crimes podcast or making the best spicy fried chicken sandwich. We’ve all been there this quarantine season. (Photos by Scott Hogan, Guru Ramanathan, Leo Sheingate, Sasha Cohen. Staff Illustration by Alex Tran)

Having spent a majority of 2020 in quarantine, everyone’s had enough time on their hands to become a master baker, handwrite their autobiographies and watch every show Netflix has to offer. It’s no surprise we’d have to find new ways to fill that dreadful quarantine void and help keep our sanity. Here are some quarantine hobbies the Culture Desk has picked up.

Cooking Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Paul Kim, Dining Editor

Every couple of months, I get deeply obsessed with cooking one dish. I repeat this dish over and over again until I’m happy with it. Then I move onto the next thing. Some dishes in the Paul Kim Cooking Hall of Fame include cajun spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches and jajangmyeon. At the start of the pandemic, I got deep into making spicy fried chicken sandwiches from scratch. The learning process was full of hot oil splashes and oily kitchen floors as I picked up the nuances of frying chicken breast. Though I burned the first few and undercooked a few more, that first perfect bite brought me back to a time when I could enjoy a meal with a couple of friends in some chicken joint in my hometown of Atlanta. It made me feel like a person again.

Roller Skating

Bella Gil, Culture Editor

While lockdown restrictions eased up around me and quickly tightened back up again, I did what was most comfortable for me since the start of the pandemic: I stayed home (unless I had to go out). I fell into a routine of going to work everyday, getting home late and doing it all again the next day. I felt really burnt out, especially as my summer job demanded more and more of me. So what did I do? I bought a pair of roller skates. I’ve always known how to skate and decided why not better my skills? My best friend received a pair pre-pandemic, and together we (socially distanced of course) took the streets of our neighborhoods by storm. I picked myself up from the obligatory scrapes, bruises and sunburns that came with learning, and found that my new hobby was to skate for a couple of hours everyday. You know how people go for a run to blow off some steam? I’ve never been much of a runner, but now I guess I can call myself a skater. So thank you, to both TikTok and the pandemic, for allowing me to find a new passion and outlet in the midst of what’s to come. 

True Crime Podcasts

Dana Sun, Deputy Culture Editor

Hear me out on this one. True crime podcasts, or even podcasts in general, were one of those things that I always knew were there, but never really gave a second glance at. So what sparked this sudden interest? My quarantine breaking point came when I started getting sick of my Spotify playlist. It’s what I listened to when I would commute to my summer job, when I showered, when I was doing work on my computer. Simply put, I had the same songs on repeat for hours on end each day. There was an inkling of hatred that I was starting to grow for my playlist and so desperately wanted to go away. I craved something different. Luckily, inspiration hit when I was in the middle of a Criminal Minds marathon. This was it. True crime podcasts would be perfect to keep me occupied, and I did always love a good scary story that kept me on my toes. My usual go-to podcast is Serial, but my favorite podcast story is from Rotten Mango called The Dildo Submarine Murder. Yeah, you read that right.


Addison Aloian, Deputy Culture Editor

My favorite new hobby? Reading. It’s just so underrated. Even if you hate reading, when you find a book you love and can’t put it down, you have to admit it’s one of the best feelings in the whole wide world. It’s just magical. Speaking of magic, seven of the 15 books I read since the start of quarantine in March (yeah, flex) were none other than the Harry Potter stories, which I had never read before. Yes, I am ashamed but a lot of people claim to be fans when they’ve never even read the books. They’ve only watched the movies, which were … fine, if I’m being honest. All of this is to say that books (and reading) are superior to movies. So crack open that dusty book that’s been sitting on your shelf for six months. You know you want to.

Divya Nelakonda, Beauty & Style Editor

I contemplated putting reading as my new hobby for a handful of reasons. Number one, is it not annoying to learn that someone has been reading while your personal accomplishment is putting on an actual outfit for the day? (Not to bash; I, for one, am ashamed to share how little motivation I had to get dressed for the past five months). Number two, there was a point in my life when reading truly was a hobby of mine. In fact, it was probably my only hobby. One summer I read over 50 books for a library contest, though, I should be clear, a good handful of these were from the “Magic Tree House” series, so I’m not sure that counts. I was also seven, so cut me some slack. 

But, in any case, I am currently mourning all the reading time that I am now losing to academic reading assignments. Still, book recommendations would be deeply appreciated, and if you’re looking for a recommendation, I suggest “My Year of Rest and Relaxation.”

Email the Culture Desk at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Addison Aloian, Deputy Culture Editor
Addison is a Tisch-CAS sophomore studying Recorded Music at the Clive Davis Institute and Journalism from Tampa, Florida. When she’s not busy writing for WSN or hanging out with her Zeta Tau Alpha sisters, she can be seen shopping at Trader Joe’s, attempting a good at-home workout for those ~gains~, or complaining about the latest season of The Bachelor (but obviously still tuning in faithfully every week). She is always down to meet new people, try new restaurants or discuss the only sport she cares about, hockey (go Lightning). Find her on Instagram @addisonaloian and check out her blog on
Bella Gil, Culture Editor
Bella is a CAS junior studying Journalism and English. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she still wonders how she made it all the way across the country and back. She is a devoted lover of all things Nintendo and unironically loves a classic round of Fortnite. When not gaming or doing schoolwork, she is roller-skating. Though you won't see her on the street this semester, she's still probably thinking about what she's going to wear tomorrow even though she's just going to be home. If she likes you enough, she'll make you a batch of cookies. She loves to learn and is always open to new experiences and conversations. Follow her on Instagram @bellamaegil, she'll talk with you about (literally) anything.
Paul Kim, Managing Editor
In all the past bios Paul Kim has written for WSN, he mentioned he hates cilantro. This is because Paul hates cilantro. He has also grown to hate everything that even remotely looks like cilantro. Parsley has no right to look so similar to cilantro. When he's eating anything, he can never tell if the little green herbs are pieces of parsley or cilantro, so he has to bite into it to find out. More often than not, it's cilantro. To balance out this very negative bio, Paul will mention something he likes: pre-packaged cotton candy. Paul apologizes that this bio wasn't very informative. If you want to learn more about him, check him out on Instagram @pksmash and Twitter @PaulKimWrites.
Divya Nelakonda, Beauty & Style Editor
Divya is a Tisch sophomore majoring in Collaborative Arts. She’s a little lost — yes, in life — but, seriously, she’s directionally challenged, so if you see her, she could probably use directions. Currently in California, she misses the sights, sounds, and dogs-wearing-jackets of the NYC streets. She spends most of her days watching movie trailers instead of picking one and reading recipes that she’ll inevitably improvise in the kitchen. Follow her on Instagram @tskd, or better yet, add her on Co-Star @divya.n.
Dana Sun, Editor-at-large
Dana Sun is a senior at CAS majoring in Computer Science and Journalism and minoring in Chinese. She's from Brooklyn, New York, and loves to listen to music, particularly EDM. You can find her on Instagram @danasunn.

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