Colleges all over the country have shut down and millions of college students find themselves back home. Hillsdale College is no different.
Several Hillsdale students, however, have found unique ways to embrace their time to make this new adventure memorable.
Joshua Pautz, a senior art and math major, built a chicken coop and is now keeping three chickens. “I knew I would have the extra time on my hands, and I thought the extra source of eggs would be nice,” Pautz said.
He had been wanting to keep chickens ever since spending a month homesteading in Alaska with the Arete project, but never had the time during school. “With online classes, I figured I’d have the flexibility in my schedule to be able to tend to them well,” Pautz said. “So, about two weeks ago I bought some 2x4s, picked up some old palettes, and started building.”
Pautz used an A‑frame design for its simplicity and mobility and spent a full week of evening and a full Saturday building. Pautz was highly pleased with his success. “I’ve now got three hens, and I’m getting about three eggs a day,” Pautz said. “The coop has made it through one pretty intense rainstorm now too, and it held up and kept the hens dry.”
Pautz is also interested in possibly keeping chickens again after graduation. “Now that I know the daily work required, it seems a lot more feasible to keep them even with a full-time job,” he said. “I’d love to learn about different breeds of hen next, to see if I can find an optimal one for the space or time that I’ll have.”
Josh Peroni, a sophomore exercise science major, streamed a workout with his younger brother on the Hillsdale Charger Instagram page. It was a circuit workout lasting around 45 minutes. There were three rounds of 10 exercises and each exercise required 10 reps.
“The goal is to do as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes,” Peroni said. “It was a workout that required no equipment so everyone could do it.” Peroni decided to undertake this task because he enjoys fitness and saw this as an opportunity to help others.
When asked about his favorite part of the activity, Josh replied: “My friends did the workout along with me and they said that I did a good job and that the workout was really good so that is memorable.”
Finally, Peroni encouraged Hillsdale students to take advantage of their time away from campus. “Don’t develop bad habits with all of the free time,” Peroni said. “Try to stick to a schedule and make your days as productive as possible.”
Kasidy Carson, a sophomore biology major, started taking one Bible verse each day and using watercolor paints to bring the words to life. “I’ve always loved being able to paint and be creative, and I saw the idea done by someone online and was inspired so I decided to put my own spin on it.” Carson said.
She decided to also reach out to others during the project. “I try to incorporate new designs and I’ve taken suggestions from people on social media, asking me to send in their favorite verses in,” Carson said. “I’ve decided to paint one page for each day of quarantine, and my goal is to make the Word vibrant and full of color!”
Carson has experienced much success and also support from others. “I’d say it’s been a hit so far. When I asked people to send me their favorite verses, I didn’t expect this many to flood in! People have been super excited to see their favorite verses in this way and it makes me happy to be able to provide that for them.”
She described her favorite part as seeing the reactions of people when they see their favorite verses. “There’s a kind of joy that I haven’t seen in others before and to know that they get it from scripture coming to life is inspiring,” Carson said.
She also spoke encouraging words to fellow students. “Do what you love! Now is the time to take something you like to do and become even better at it… you’ve got the time!”
Parker Thayer, a junior, decided to make a playhouse for his younger sister. He was challenged with finding the needed resources for his project. “I had to use only scrap wood and materials from around the house since I had several of the corona symptoms and didn’t want to go to the hardware store,” Thayer said.
Since woodworking and building projects had always been a hobby of his, it made sense for Thayer to undertake this unique project. “My little sister Ellen was very bummed that school was canceled and she couldn’t see her friends, so I wanted to give her something to distract her,” Thayer said.
“The highlight of the projects was working on the design and building with my other younger sister, Hope.” His advice to his fellow students is to “try not to watch TikTok endlessly.”