obtained from spark

Staying Busy and Happy During Quarantine

By Gina Samec

[3 minute read]

For many of us, this summer, which was once full of travel plans and internships, has been reduced to three months of uncertainty. It’s been a strange transition for me to go from a structured week of class and extracurriculars to feeling directionless. Everywhere I turned this semester there was an irksome reminder that I was falling behind. When I checked Linkedin, my peers were posting about their remote summer internships. When I checked my inbox, I was receiving emails from career websites about how to stay competitive in the current economy. At first, I felt overwhelmed and defeated that I wouldn’t have something to put on my resume for this summer. However, I realized that most people I know are in the same situation as me. Instead of stressing over something that I have no control over, I can put my energy towards doing things that make me happy. For those of us who have the privilege to relax this summer, this is a great opportunity to do things we haven’t set aside time for in the past because we were too preoccupied. Here are some ways you can pass the time during quarantine.

Dance Workouts

Sitting or lying down all day has become the norm. However, it isn’t ideal for our health. If you hate the gym and don’t have motivation to work out, a dance workout is a really fun way to stay active without it feeling like a chore. Thanks to Youtube, there are plenty of free workout videos which are a great replacement for attending a real class. Here are some youtubers I enjoy who have been posting fun dance workouts: MadFit, The Fitness Marshall, and MYLEE Dance.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash


After a workout, you probably have worked up an appetite. If you are quarantined with other people, trying out a new recipe is a fun way to spend time together. If you’re terrified by the idea of cooking, there are plenty of simple recipes that you can make. Everyone, including me, has hopped on the trend of baking banana bread which never disappoints. One of my personal favorites things to make during quarantine has been tapioca pudding, which I make with my mom. Making something from the heart is always rewarding (even if it doesn’t turn out quite right). 

Photo by Theme Photos on Unsplash

Start a New TV Show

Once you sit down with a bowl of pudding or your own dish of choice, don’t feel guilty about binging a show you haven’t had time to watch yet. If you need something to cheer you up, the sitcom Community has just been added to Netflix and is criminally underrated. If you’re located elsewhere and are missing Los Angeles, Insecure on HBO has a hilariously relatable protagonist and features several local spots which are worth checking out, including Leimert Park and the California African American Museum (which is right next to USC!). 


Once your brain feels fried from watching too much TV, you can always ask friends for book recommendations or find a curated list of books online. Reading is the most satisfying pastime for me because I feel more productive.  If you’re looking for something educational, The New Jim Crow is a great book to learn more about institutionalized racism, which is especially relevant amid the recent tragedies of police brutality. On the other hand, if you are daunted by a long book, The New York Times also has a list of quick reads for this summer. 

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind during quarantine is staying healthy and happy. Even if your summer has not turned out the way you expected, you can use this time to try something new or even to just relax. Have a great summer!

Additional Resources: https://virtualstudentlife.usc.edu/

Featured image by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Gina is studying Communication at the USC School of Annenberg.  She attended five schools but mostly grew up in Piedmont, California. Although she only attended a French bilingual school for two years, she has continued to pursue fluency in the language. She loves playing volleyball, watching movies, and going thrift shopping. Never having left the country has fueled her love for learning about other cultures and meeting people from different backgrounds. She is excited to help anyone who needs help improving their English and getting to know them in the process!