Making the most of a strange summer

Students used their extra time at home to pick up new skills and hobbies

Students got creative in their free time.

2020 has proven to be a year full of surprises—many of them not very good. 

With in-person classes ending early and summer jobs and internships being cancelled, many students found they had a lot of extra time on their hands this summer. Strict public health measures and COVID-19 fears meant there hasn’t been a whole lot to do while stuck at home. 

Since nothing passes hours spent at home like learning something new, we asked Queen’s students to tell us about how they made the most of their free time this summer.


For me, running has always been a task rather than a hobby—it was something I would only do if I was going to be late for class. This summer, that’s changed. I took up running to get some physical activity during the day and a bit of fresh air during the initial quarantine period, but it ended up being much more than that! As my morning runs along the lake reach the beautiful mountains, a sense of accomplishment fills me. Running has pushed my determination to new levels. As someone who could barely run a mile at the beginning of the summer, I am now able to complete five miles on a regular basis. This summer helped me find a new hobby that will stick with me for a lifetime, and who knows, maybe next summer might have something special in store as well!

—Santosh Pillarisetty


Throughout the last couple of months, I’ve been looking for ways to get outdoors while still social distancing. I started to look for local outdoor activities and came across the Park City Community Garden. So far, it’s been a great hobby for getting me outside and spending time with my family. There has been a huge learning curve to gardening, but it’s been fun to figure it out together. So far, we’ve planted carrots, cucumbers, herbs, and lots of other fruits and vegetables. I can’t wait to see the seeds grow (hopefully) and enjoy our own grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

—Juliana Brown


At the beginning of the pandemic I resorted to the most reliable form of entertainment: Netflix. One particular evening, I found myself watching The Great Canadian Baking Show (it’s iconic, I would strongly recommend checking it out). Feeling inspired, I started watching more cooking shows and trying some of the recipes in the kitchen. For someone who has literally burned pasta, it was super exciting to learn how to prepare new flavours that complement each other, recipes that are quick and easy, and showstopping desserts. I am grateful to have been healthy during the past few months to be able to use my extra time to learn a basic skill and explore with new techniques in the kitchen!

—Emily Clare


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