animal crossing

Animal Crossing has a low-risk, high-reward mentality that has provided a sense of calm and nostalgia for many players. (Sara Kurfess via Unsplash)

While a typical summer for University of Georgia students usually includes internships, study abroad trips and summer jobs, this past season was thrown a curveball with the impact of COVID-19 forcing students to have to make last-minute changes in their schedules.

All over social media, students have been sharing their latest projects and newfound hobbies such as bread making and stitching, which have been used to occupy their time and provide stress relief. Here’s a look back at some of the most popular trends students have partaken in to fill their time this summer.

Animal Crossing

These virtual villages have a low-risk, high-reward mentality that have provided a sense of calm and nostalgia for many players. Ben Janes, a senior entertainment and media studies major from Flowery Branch, found that returning to Animal Crossing was his form of self-care.

“The game’s been around for so long and now we’re all stuck at home again,” Janes said. “I can’t think of a better release for it. I also love how it’s a creative outlet but it doesn’t take hours to finish like painting or anything.”

Once Janes realized how many of his friends had joined the virtual world again, he saw it as a way to connect with them while apart and enjoy a way to be freely creative, he said. While going through a stressful time with current events, he saw Animal Crossing as a “free way to receive dopamine,” he said.

“I love the fact that I can just log on to this game and the little villagers can send you a sweet message,” Janes said. “One time a squirrel in the game told me ‘I love you and I think everyone on this island loves you’ and I just can’t believe how much this virtual squirrel cares about me.”

Bread baking

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, stores sold out of bread baking kits and yeast as patrons were feeding their hobby of quarantine baking. From sourdough to banana bread, people were introduced to the art of dough forming and rising yeast with their new free time spent at home.

After anxious shoppers hoarded staple items at the grocery store such as loaves of bread and toilet paper, due to quarantine panic, many saw the opportunity to avoid the mass hysteria at the store and take it into their own hands.

While some have failed and some have found a new talent, bread baking has provided a source of serenity and calmness while continuing to teach patience with its time-consuming process.

Dalgona coffee

This creamy, whipped coffee topped on an assortment of milk types has taken over social media apps TikTok and Instagram.

Dalgona coffee is a popular South Korean treat that is made by whipping together instant coffee, sugar and hot water. After a few minutes of stirring by hand which typically leaves your arm a little sore, coffee in the form of stiff peaks appears.

Most prefer it over almond or oat milk of different varieties and flavors while others have experimented with different types of the treat, such as matcha and golden milk flavored.