Staff Picks: Our social distancing activities

By The Pitt News Staff

There’s nothing wrong with using some of your extra time these days to catch up on TV and movies — and you can check our past recommendations here. But you can only spend so much time streaming. Here are a few other new or old hobbies some of our writers are choosing to fill their time.

Spending way too much time on TikTok  // Elizabeth Donnelly, Senior Staff Writer

With social distancing being an absolutely pertinent aspect of staying healthy during this pandemic, I’ve been spending a lot more time on social media. It’s really fun to stay connected with friends and family digitally, but something I was not expecting was to get sucked into the world of TikTok. If you don’t know, TikTok is a social media app where people can upload short videos and share them with followers. A really common trend on the app is what is known as TikTok dances, which are becoming increasingly popular. With all of the spare time I have had while social distancing, I’m trying to learn some of these dances (not very successfully). It’s a fun way to spend time and express some creativity while also being active. So far, I’ve only been able to master the easiest of the dances. However, I am going to try to challenge myself to learn harder ones, and I want to challenge you to do the same. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the world of TikTok!

Going for bike rides // Brenden Rearick, For The Pitt News

Cycling has found its moment in the sun through the pandemic by providing a way to be active without being tethered to a treadmill or whatever makeshift exercise area you’ve created since being shut in. Since I am no longer biking to class or to the grocery store, I have had more free time to explore my neighborhood by bike and get some fresh air without risking close contact. The lack of drivers makes for an interesting change of pace too, as you can ride wherever you want without worry. If you haven’t biked in the City before, now is a great time to try it out. Mapping routes is made easy with apps like Strava, and Pittsburgh’s parks make for great places to explore on an uneventful afternoon. Nothing feels better than getting some leisurely miles in on two wheels and escaping the confines of your apartment. 

Journaling // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Contributing Editor

Staying inside and social distancing has made me a bit stir-crazy recently, and something I’ve used to combat those feelings is journaling. I’ve kept a journal off and on since middle school and have always found it to be a fun and creative stress reliever. This past year I’ve found less and less time to journal due to my busy schedule. However, now that classes are online and I can’t leave my apartment, I have plenty of time to write in my journal, and I think that this is the perfect time for people to start journaling. Write about your experiences during the pandemic — where you are, how you’re feeling, how it has affected you and your friends and family. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve also doodled, written out my ideal Coachella lineup and made a list of albums I want to listen to. Make your journal your own, and who knows? Maybe decades from now, your descendents will find your journal and be able to read about your perspective during this historical time.

Baking experiments // Sinead McDevitt, Staff Writer

When I was 7 or 8, our teacher asked us what you could use as a substitute for eggs in brownies. As it turns out, the answer was applesauce — about a quarter cup per egg — and from then on, I made it a personal mission to discover all the substitutions you can make in baking. While my track record is a little spotty, I’ve had more time recently to experiment with substitutions and more reason to, given I can’t just run down to the store to pick up extra eggs. I think it’s really fun to pick out a recipe, go look around your fridge and pantry for what you have and then check the internet to see what you can use in place of what you’re missing. If you have all of the ingredients, you get to try making a new recipe, and if you don’t, you can mess around and end up making something that tastes surprisingly good. Either way, you end up with something nice to eat and the joy of having actually completed a task. I’d definitely recommend these rolls to anyone looking for a place to start.

Growing a mustache // Brian Gentry, Contributing Editor

I first started growing facial hair in eighth grade. I refused to shave, so instead I just let my mustache grow to unacceptable lengths before my mom eventually bought me a razor and forced me to remove the caterpillar-like fuzz above my lips.

Now isolated in my home, I am reliving the glory days of when I was 13 — this time with more oomph. I still cannot grow a solid beard, but instead of wallowing in my self-pity, I’m taking matters into my own hands and growing out my mustache. It’s day seven, and my facial hair is now at a solid quarter-inch, almost enough to be seen in public if I were allowed to leave my house.

My method is simple. I wait for three days before my beard stubble starts to become a little bit more than stubble, and then shave it all off, leaving only the prickly hairs of my ’stache. I know, it’s a lot, but you too can bask in the glory of a rockin’ mustache if you follow my routine.

It’s gotten rave reviews from my friends, too. “LOVE IT,” says one. “You look like a gay porn star,” says another. I can only hope for the same comments from random strangers as I search grocery stores for a single 5-pound bag of flour.