Seniors discover new hobbies with their newfound free time in second semester March 31, 2022 — by Sanjoli Gupta Pictured here is senior Noora Fayad's tote bag made in her newfound free time Students’ newfoundew hobbies include crocheting, creating food-based Instagram accounts, photography and visiting the beachSenior Wesley Chen enjoys art in the form of photography. When Chen became a second semester senior, he found more free time to pursue his interest in taking photos. Besides planning trips to San Francisco to sightsee and snap pictures of the sunset, Chen tries to go to the beach at least once a week and hikes twice a week. “I don’t want to burn out from doing [photography] too much, so some days I’ll just relax at home,” Chen said. “I have friends who want to [photograph with me] so I make an effort to plan outings.” During the first semester, Chen found himself drowning in work, and committed weekends to writing college application essays. After that intense work, he said he is trying to take a break and enjoy his last semester of high school. Since the course load of a senior is still time consuming, Chen tries to maximize his work efficiency during tutorial and other small breaks. “I’ve been going up to the skyline, looking at the sunset and taking pictures because it’s one of my hobbies and I’m trying to tap into that,” Chen said. Increased free time has enabled senior Ashley Ko to start her own foodie instagram account, a hobby that currently takes three hours every week. The idea first came up in her Anatomy and Physiology class. Her teacher wanted her to pursue a project she was passionate about, and she realized one thing on her bucket list was creating an Instagram foodie account. Ko usually drives around the Bay Area and local shops in Saratoga to rate their food and support small businesses. To pick a restaurant, Ko either references what’s popular or seeks friends for input. She tries to rate food that both appeals to her audience and also appeals to her own taste. “Even if I can’t understand every single culture, having a way of understanding why they use certain types of ingredients or why they eat something is really fascinating,” Ko said. “It’s not only because places are different agriculturally from one another. It’s that everyone has their own culture.” At first Ko was apprehensive about creating an account, but growing up with parents who encouraged her to try new foods, she said she believes food brings people together. She said her newfound free time motivated her to start the account. “Not only is it important to me to maintain my account, but it’s also a great way of hanging out with friends,” she said. “I think my free time is being used productively instead of [wasting time] looking at my phone.” Senior Noora Fayad’s first semester was crammed with college applications and a variety of other commitments, including teaching at her local Sunday school, working as a wellness center helper, participating in the Anti-Racism Task Force and working in Sources of Strength. She had little time to pursue hobbies such as knitting and crocheting, but when the spring semester began, Fayad resumed these activities. Like Fayad, many seniors are pursuing hobbies that were put on hold because of the hectic nature of their first semester. Fayad currently spends about eight to 10 hours a week crocheting scarves, coasters and head and ear warmers. She first learned how to sew from her grandmother, and her passion continued to grow with the support of her art-oriented family. Along with crocheting, she also knits, makes jewelry and sews tote bags. “I always loved pursuing these hobbies, but I just never had the chance to do them because of how busy I was throughout high school,” she said. “I enjoy it because it’s a silent activity that I can do by myself or with friends.” 1 view this weekAbout the contributorsSanjoli GuptaSanjoli Gupta, Class of ‘24, is a News Editor of the 2023-24 Falcon staff. Previously, she was the School Scope Editor between 2022-23, Head Photographer between 2021-22 and Reporter and Layout Artist between 2020-21. She has attended the Stanford Daily Summer Journalism program as well as The School of The New York Times Inside the UN/Journalism/Law program where she interviewed a Holocaust survivor and learned about libel. She has won a Silver Key in Scholastic Art and Writing for her feature story on being both South Asian and Christian. Some topics she has previously covered include bioethics, intimidation, future professions and religion. Some things she enjoys outside journalism include reading, baking and photography.