Students find ways to pass time during Wildcat Wellness


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

The two-week isolation period during Wildcat Wellness has given some students more time to explore their interests.

Joanna Hou, Copy Editor

Weinberg freshman Jisoo Kim received a DJ deck for his birthday last summer and started creating his own mixes. Now, with the extra time from Wildcat Wellness, Kim practices DJing from his dorm room.

Students like Kim have turned to hobbies to cope with Wildcat Wellness, Northwestern’s mandatory two-week quarantine period during the first two weeks of January. Others have engaged in virtual programming hosted by NU and some clubs.  

“I can (practice mixing) for hours without anybody watching,” Kim said. “(Mixing allows) me to enjoy the music even more because I’m playing and adding in a little bit of my input to songs I already like.” 

While isolation has made it harder for Kim to engage in classes and spend time with friends, he said DJing provides him with an outlet to express his creativity and have fun. 

McCormick freshman Liv Brown also said she finds Wildcat Wellness isolating, especially as an extrovert. She added the below-freezing temperatures and COVID-19 concerns make it difficult to visit friends across campus. 

Because of virtual classes and activities, Brown said she now has more time to read regularly. She said she is reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” As a civil engineering major, Brown said reading adds contrast to her typically mechanical work.

“I really enjoy stories (and) I think they can give you a lot of different perspectives,” Brown said. “I like hearing about worlds that are different from the world that I’m living in.” 

NU and some student clubs have been offering social programming for students looking for activities around campus. 

McCormick junior Emma Estberg lives off-campus, but she said she is respecting the quarantine period by isolating with her roommates. Estberg is the president of Knitwestern and said the club provides a sense of community as well as knitting instruction for beginners. 

Knitwestern plans to host a virtual meeting next week, Estberg said. In the meantime, she’s working on knitting many articles of clothing, including hats, socks and a sweater.

“It’s a very relaxing thing to do,” Estberg said. “So with the stress of NU, it’s a nice way for stress relief.”

Rifka Cook, a South Residential Area Faculty-in-Residence, said residential areas are also hosting social events to facilitate student bonding during Wildcat Wellness. She said she understands how difficult it is for students to come back to NU and spend their first weeks alone. 

The South Area hosted multiple events last week, including a hot cocoa night. While they followed social distancing practices, Cook said she could tell students enjoyed in-person interaction during events. 

“(Students) were so happy, even though you could see them with masks and they couldn’t eat in the same room,” Cook said. “It was really nice, I was happy.” 

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Twitter: @joannah_11

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