What are students doing to keep their sanity while social distancing?


Senior couple Abbie Kozel and Coby Hutter are trying their best to stay connected during the statewide lockdown. Here they are practicing social distancing hammocking.

Harper Zondlak, Staff Writer

Quarantined for 50 something days now, cabin fever is kicking in. Plus, with temperatures rising, everyone is itching to get out of the house. People are stuck doing everything at home, and having the same old conversations with the same old family member– the days seem to repeat themselves. So how do we keep this Groundhog Day from turning into The Shining?

Milford High students are getting creative, active, and connected to keep their sanity. Social distancing has posed a problem for many friendships and relationships. It can be challenging and rather effortful to catch up with your favorite people without seeing them on a daily basis. Students have been utilizing social media and video call apps such as FaceTime, House Party, and Zoom to connect with their peers. Although a video call is no replacement for the joy of being with your friends, it is a good substitute under these circumstances.

While continuing friendships in isolation is tough, continuing a relationship is tougher. Not being able to see your significant other for an extended period like this can be mentally draining. Senior couple Abbie Kozel and Coby Hutter express that the most difficult part about maintaining a healthy relationship in quarantine is not being able to see each other in person as often as they were used to. “We’ve been FaceTiming a lot and going on wholesome walks in Kensington (taking proper health precautions of course),” Kozel said. While this certainly isn’t any couple’s dream scenario, it is definitely a manageable one. To the other high school couples separated at this time, whether it is online or six feet apart, Hutter advises, “Get as much time with your person as possible and remember it’ll all be over soon enough.”

Connecting with your peers is one thing, but creating for your peers is another. Sophomore Maddie Feltmate has spent her quarantine developing her business. To keep her sanity, she started making necklaces to sell to her friends. She got the idea from her mother, who used to make necklaces when she was younger. Making the necklaces is calming for Feltmate, and getting paid is an added bonus! Her business has helped her avoid less productive quarantine activities. She explains, “Whenever I’m bored and have nothing to do, instead of going on my phone, I go and make the necklaces.” Felmate found a way to stay sane by building a business out of boredom.

Spending time with the same people in your house everyday gets boring. For everyone’s sanity–and with siblings for their safety too– finding new, fun ways to connect with family is essential. Rather than the same old talks at dinner, pull out a deck of cards! That is what Junior Sammy Knapp and her family have been doing nightly in quarantine. It is something fun and easy to incorporate into an everyday routine. Family time in this abundance is a once-in-a-century experience! Switching things up with a daily game night, nature walk, or movie can make this time more memorable and tolerable. The Knapps have made the best of this situation; Sammy expressed, “I’m lucky to have a great relationship with my family, and I think quarantine has helped us all grow even closer. You don’t realize how busy you are until everything stops at once, so being able to relax and spend time with my family is really refreshing.”

One of the most common ways students have stayed calm, cool, and collected is through exercise. It is a great release for stress, sadness, or anger. Junior Ben Coloske, with varsity letters in both Football and Track & Field, has been working out daily. “To keep my sanity, I’ve definitely been trying to workout more because it’s one thing that I’m used to doing every day. It makes things feel more normal, even when things aren’t so normal.” Students’ dedication to athletics has allowed them to stay sane, and avoid negative thinking.

To stay occupied, some students have been spending their time improving their art skills. Senior Austin Maiberger has been spending his quarantine drawing. The future College for Creative Studies student disclosed, “Art has helped me mentally in quarantine by just giving me something to do that allows me to just get sucked into a project for a while. It allows me to not think about the outside world and everything that is going on and just focus on that one project.” He explains that drawing helps him keep his sanity. Maiberger pulls inspiration from pop-culture and likes to add his own flare to already-known phenomena. He has been able to put more detail into his projects with the added free time. Like Maiberger, many Milford students have used art to preserve lucidity. However, not everyone is an expert illustrator. Other students have been fulfilling their creative side through music, painting, and cooking.

One theme stays constant: keep busy to keep sane. There is a lot of time to think while social distancing. Being occupied with various activities can bring joy and happy thoughts, rather than dwelling and thinking about everything bad in the world right now. Students across MHS have the extra time to pick up a new hobby or fine-tune an old one.  To at least six quarantined Milford students, keeping busy with activities that interest them and staying connected with the people they care about keeps them sane. Following their passions and goals in isolation, students have found peace and sanity.