COVID Sparks Hobbies for Scranton Students

Over the past year, many Scranton students have picked up hobbies, helping to keep them occupied during the stay-at-home and state shutdown orders. Some hobbies were new, some revisited, but all had a continued presence after the shutdowns were lifted.

Regan Hughes picked up long-distance running during the quarantine. After her gym closed, Hughes said she wanted to continue to stay active.

Regan Hughes running the Hair of the Bear 15k.

“I was working from home and spent a lot of time indoors,” Hughes said. “I was looking for more ways to get outside and see new things while still staying safe.”

Hughes ’21, a  middle-level education major with a concentration in mathematics, said she has seen great improvement in her pace.

“When I first started running, I could only run about six miles at a time and was very slow,” Hughes said. “I have been getting much faster and can now run upwards of 15 miles at a time.”

Hughes plans to continue to run and hopes to races such as the Marine Corps Marathon and the Steamtown Marathon when they resume in person.

Hughes in mile five of the Hair of the Bear 15k.

“Running is when I can relieve stress and clear my head,” she said. “It has helped me check in with my mental health each day and stay sane during this crazy time.”

For the time being, Hughes hopes to continue improving her distance and pace. She said she enjoys achieving new records.

“It’s fun to find new limits and continue to improve and break through those limits,” she said.


Justin Reagan ’21 picked up his guitar again this past year.

Reagan playing an acoustic guitar.

He revisited the hobby after some intense Guitar Hero competitions with his housemates on the Nintendo Wii. Reagan said he wanted to take his guitar playing to the next level. Reagan took lessons when he was in middle school, and his memory served him well once he finally picked up a guitar again. Reagan said this allowed him to stay motivated.

“I already had the muscle memory and finger strength for the basic ‘cowboy chords,’ G, D, C, E and A,” Reagan said. “This allowed me to play several basic songs, in the beginning, to stay motivated.”

Reagan, a biochemistry major, has learned to play a handful of songs by artists such as Eric Clapton, Green Day and ACDC. However, he is focusing on more than simply learning songs, he’s learning about music theory.

“When learning theory, I learn what notes sound good together and what potential notes I could play that will also sound good with them,” Reagan said.

Reagan playing an electric guitar.

His goal is to eventually record and mix his own pieces.

“This basic understanding of music helps me improvise my own songs, play by ear and understand the notes I’m playing in songs I’ve already learned,” Reagan said. “I can now pick up a guitar and just play, I don’t have to think of a specific song.”

Reagan said his favorite aspect of playing guitar is getting to play with others.

“It’s a great bonding activity to jam with friends,” Reagan said, “I actually got to play with my brother a little bit over winter break.”

Another new goal? To pick up the guitar every day, no matter for how long. He said consistency is key in improving his newfound skill.

“I want to get better every day and play more complex songs and solos, but that just comes with practice,” Reagan said.



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