By Camille Rasor | Arts & Life Editor
As classes moved online in March and the coronavirus pandemic began to wreak havoc on the American people, students found themselves unexpectedly stuck at home with more free time than they knew what to do with.
For Sioux City, Iowa, senior Isabel Hamburger, and several other students, all this unfilled time meant she found herself reviving her past obsessions with bands like One Direction, Panic! At the Disco and 5 Seconds of Summer.
“I’ve been thinking about it, and I think the last time I had this much free time in my life was middle school,” Hamburger said. “So I think after a while I sat around I was like, ‘what do I do with my free time?’ and I just kind of went back to what I used to do.”
Hamburger, however, was not alone. A lot more Baylor students found themselves returning to old TV shows, bands and book series they invested time in when they were younger.
Waco junior Andy Kanz found himself rewatching “Avatar: The Last Airbender” again, a show he liked in elementary and middle school, when the series was put back on Netflix earlier this summer.
“It’s been fun when we’re all stuck at home to kind of resort to old things that kind of make you feel nostalgic,” Kanz said.
However, watching and listening to things they used to be fans of has not been an entirely solitary activity. These old interests have also been a way for students to connect with people and have something fun to talk about when not a lot of other things are going on in their lives.
“I’m living at home with my sister who’s 14 and is kind of also going through a One Direction phase and listening to all their stuff,” Austin junior Grace Gilmour said. “So together we’ve taken a deep dive into One Direction.”
The Woodlands junior Nganha Nguyen also was able to build deeper connections with her college and high school friends over their interest in One Direction, which she fell back into around the time of the band’s 10-year anniversary on July 23.
“Me and my [sorority] little and some hometown friends have been really connecting over our love for One Direction and just like sending each other TikToks or memes,” Nguyen said. “It was really cool to be able to connect on that level.”
In some cases, reviving childhood interests has allowed new friendships to form over a shared interest that, without quarantine, might not have happened otherwise.
Manteno, Ill., sophomore Camille Casillas rediscovered her old Percy Jackson books when she moved back into her childhood room, and as the love she had for the series came back, she was able to find someone who shared that interest as well.
“I did start talking to someone over the summer who really enjoyed it. And I had those conversations that I’ve never had with anyone else,” Casillas said. “…I can go into a rant about every single book, and I never was able to go about that with Percy Jackson. I finally found someone that did, and it just felt really good.”
Social media also provided a way for fans to connect with each other even if they don’t live near each other. Hamburger said some of her friends have been able to make friends with other One Direction fans online and have spent time growing those relationships.
“I have friends who have fan Twitter accounts who have made really good friends through that and are in all these group chats now and do FaceTimes and stuff,” Hamburger said. “Like on One Direction’s 10 year anniversary, they all were FaceTiming and stayed up all night talking.”
Hamburger herself logged back into her Tumblr account, a social media platform that was popular with people her age back in middle and high school.
“When I got back on my Tumblr, I noticed a lot of the same Tumblrs I used to follow were suddenly back active again,” Hamburger said. “And they all were posting saying they just came back during quarantine too.”
Reviving these old interests has allowed for students to remember what they used to be interested in, and some see themselves continuing to dive into those interests and other things related to them as school and “real life” starts back up again this fall.
“I will read more for fun. I know I really enjoy it,” Casillas said. “I really love historical fiction books, so I think I’m going to get back more into that.”
Kanz echoed that sentiment, and says he sees himself exploring other shows that are popular with “Avatar: The Last Airbender” fans.
“I know that it’s not anime, but that style is definitely really fun to watch,” Kanz said. “I have a lot of friends who are in the anime, so I might sort of veer into that path as I finish this.”