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By Mazey Servin

COVID-19 has made it hard to find activities that can ease the mind during such an uncertain time, but students are using TV shows and movies to take the edge off.

Samantha Crotty, a fourth-year student at Western, has been using shows like Parks and Recreation and Bob’s Burgers to help her after working in a medical clinic all day.

“I have definitely been watching a lot more comfort TV, so shows like ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Bob’s, Burgers,’” Crotty said. “I work at a medical clinic, so I'm dealing with the fallout of this every single day. So when I get home I don't want to do anything on the darker side.”

Crotty said she and her roommate prefer to find comfort from the entertainment they choose to indulge in.

“My roommates and I've been watching a lot of movies. We watched all five Twilight movies a few weeks ago with the help of a lot of wine,” Crotty said.

During Crotty’s work day, she takes calls from patients talking about their symptoms and their worries.

“I love what I do, but it's taxing after a while,” Crotty said. “You’re just kind of spending the entire day feeling tense because you're just kind of working with these fears all day. So when you do come home, it's just really nice to relax.”

Emma Nixon, a fourth-year Western student, has used this time to revisit some old Disney favorites.

“I've been kind of revisiting old movies that I loved from my childhood just because this is a really stressful time right now and that really has been giving me a lot of comfort,” Nixon said. “We're living in a dystopian story right now. I don't really need to be watching one.”

Nixon uses these movies to connect with people despite minimal physical contact.

“This sounds like a weird statement, but it kind of feels like a hug right now,” Nixon said. “In a time that we're really not connected to each other. This is something that kind of connects me to other people because it's something I remember watching with my family.”

Some people are using shows for human connection. Claire Nickols, a second-year Western student, said Steven Universe has given her boyfriend and friends something to talk about.

“So it's another way to connect with each other when we can't see one another,” Nickols said.

While finding comfort through entertainment can be a good distraction, Nickols said her motivation is low.

“With everything that's going on right now, I've had a very hard time finding any motivation,” Nickols said. “So while I am distracting myself, I'm not sure if it really is having a positive effect on my mental health.”

Nickols said she doesn’t know if it is healthy to not be addressing what’s going on.

“Because while it could be that it's helping me get through this tough time, it could also be that I'm just avoiding the inevitable and keeping myself from really addressing what's going on by just burying myself in comedy,” Nickols said.

Other students are looking for more structure. Emma Stumbough, a third-year at Western, said she needed more intellectual stimulation through her entertainment.

“If I'm really honest, I think that I'm trying my hardest to not fall into just watching and consuming,” Stumbough said. “I want something that I can think about and that I can do if I want to. So for the cooking shows for example, I'm trying to do a whole bunch of recipes and get inspiration from it.”

Stumbough said she is a structured person that needs a routine and something to do. She said she wants the sense that this is actually part of the school year that has a routine.

“This is like school that I'm doing. It's not the end of the year. I'm not here for summer,” Stumbough said.

Mikayla Porter, a first-year Western student, said she was busy during the school year so she needed something to keep her mind busy.

“I definitely find comfort,” Porter said. “I think it is kind of a way to keep my mind down because like I said, I'm a really busy person, so it does drive me crazy that I am sitting at home pretty much doing nothing.”

Porter said staying at home hasn't bothered her too much and she said it’s helped her find comfort in doing nothing.

During the year, Porter takes on many leadership positions and is very involved with school so she rarely has time to take time for herself.

“I think it was something that I kind of needed, that lesson to know that I can not be president of this or that and I can relax and I can watch a movie during the day and not do my homework. Or I can literally say, you know, let me go home and I can, like, not leave the house and be perfectly fine,” Porter said.


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