Faculty and staff share their quarantine hobbies

Without on-campus learning, faculty and staff are finding other ways to stay busy

Patricia Hobbs is transforming different areas of her yard in her free time. Photo courtesy of Hobbs.

Patricia Hobbs is transforming different areas of her yard in her free time. Photo courtesy of Hobbs.

Virginia Laurie

While no one should beat themselves up over not “doing enough” in a global pandemic, some faculty and staff members have shared hobbies old and new that are keeping them occupied in quarantine.

Director of Student Activities Kelsey Goodwin said she has been using her time to bake bread with her husband, as well as invest more time in her yoga practice.

“I am a newly-certified Buti Yoga instructor — I taught in W&L’s groupex program this year,” Goodwin said. “This has given me more time to practice, attend a virtual teacher training workshop, and develop skills.”

Buti yoga is a high energy practice that incorporates cardio and dance moves into traditional flows.

Goodwin acknowledged that work-life balance can be difficult in quarantine.

“It’s been a challenge trying to juggle my job with homeschooling,” she said. “[This time period] is definitely making me learn new things about technology and how to adapt to the current environment.”

Patricia Hobbs, the art and history curator for the Department of University Collections of Art and History, has been busy adapting campus art exhibits to an online setting.

“I’ve been working long hours to mount three new virtual exhibitions, including one on artist Louise Herreshoff,” Hobbs said. “The exhibition of her watercolors titled ‘To See Color First’ was supposed to open this spring in the Staniar Gallery and has been postponed indefinitely.”

However, she says that the exhibit is now “open” virtually and will be accompanied by a digital catalog.

“You’ll be able to access them on both the Museums at W&L and the Staniar Gallery’s web pages,” Hobbs said.

With the rest of her time at home in Virginia, Hobbs said she has been working on her gardening.

“At the end of my work day and on weekends I have been working on two new gardens in my yard,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot of weeding, which is quite therapeutic, and transplanting wildflowers from elsewhere in my yard. Right now, the two areas don’t look like much, but soon they will be lush with plants and blooms.”

Several faculty members are keeping busy by
gardening. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hickey.

Hobbs also acknowledged the strain of devoting energy to creativity due to the stress of the pandemic and long-distance work.

“My real desire is to devote time to my own artwork, especially my printmaking,” she said. “But it takes more focused energy than I have at this time. I’ve not yet been able to manage more than thinking about my artwork.”

Jennifer Hickey, the director of Dining Services, has also been busy outside in the garden as well as indoors.

“I’ve enjoyed spending time on a few old hobbies actually… reading, puzzles and gardening,” Hickey said. “My family just finished a puzzle together…it’s the first one we’ve done together in a few years.”

Old hobbies have also helped her stay motivated during the stress of the pandemic.

“I haven’t felt like starting new things, but have really enjoyed having time to invest more in the things I already love to do,” she said. “It’s also been great to spend even more time with my husband and son and daughter-in-law who live with us.”

She said she is maintaining a positive outlook about her position.

“While this time is challenging and brings its own difficulties,” Hobbs said, “it’s also made me realize how blessed I am to be able to have family around, be healthy and work for an organization that cares about their people when so many do not have these opportunities.”