A college student’s guide to personal entertainment during a hurricane

While Hurricane Ian just narrowly missed Tallahassee last week, hurricane season is well underway. One of the biggest fears college students had as the storm headed their way was the idea of being trapped at home with nothing to do, and possibly no power. Many FSU students decided to pick up hobbies they may not have thought to try before while others spent time with pets, or enjoyed the free time alone.

With most students not earning an expendable salary — or at least not able to work during a serious storm — options for entertainment seem seriously slim. Luckily, creative young adults all throughout Tallahassee are finding new ways to pass the time without breaking the bank.

For people who have a bit of money to spend, Five Below is the perfect store for hurricanes. There are almost an endless number of crafts, art projects, puzzles and games to try — all for under five dollars. A personal favorite of mine from the store is a “make your friendship bracelet” kit since it has allowed me to learn a new hobby and have a form of wearable art to show for it. Other Five Below projects that will let time in a hurricane slip away include a “make your own succulents” kit, coloring books and multiple 1,000-piece puzzles. 

While new “hurricane hobbies” are relatively easy to find in stores, there are also some hidden gems hiding right under your nose. There are likely quite a few college students who would not list ‘reading’ as one of their main hobbies, but that might just be because they have not been able to pick up a book they were genuinely excited about since grade school. The easy solution is finding one of your old favorite books and rereading it. This transports you from the middle of a hurricane to the sixth grade scholastic book fair. My friends and I have recently decided to start a book club during the storm, rereading the original “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” All of us agreed that we have never had so much fun reading and could not put our books down. This nostalgia was free for so many of us, since our parents had kept these books in storage for so many years.

Other students were preparing for the hurricane with hobbies of their own. “I got into building Legos this semester,” said Jackson Englund, a fourth-year music education major. “It’s been a fun hobby to collect and build with friends, and is great for moments like this where you could be stuck in the house. You can save up money for bigger [sets] for if you want to get into it more casually, you can find sets for $15 to $20.”

Legos can be a nice project for those who want to be able to stop and start their hobby at their leisure, without losing their place. It can be handy to keep an unbuilt set on hand for a rainy day, or even just a slow weekend.

Other students wanted to take the opportunity to be a bit more productive. “I actually used this opportunity to catch up on some schoolwork. I also played with my cat and taught her new tricks,” said Skyler Miller, a third-year psychology and criminology major. “I did a 10-page lab report and I taught my cat Olive how to come [to me], touch her nose to my hand on command and walk on a leash.”

Arguably the most important thing a person can do during a hurricane is to try and stay up to date on storm information and its projected path. While it may not be the most entertaining activity, it is the best way to ensure your safety and make sure you and your loved ones will be able to get through the hurricane.