July 17, 2020
Since Ashesi closed its campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned to online classes and working from home, several students, faculty, and staff members have taken advantage of the extra downtime to build new hobbies and brush up on existing skills.
From gardening to free-hand sketching to making music, members of our community share some of the things they do to stay occupied.
Computer Animation and Sketching
Whether they are purists or ‘iPad/tablet sketch’ converts, many people have turned to art as an outlet while social distancing. For Admissions Officer, Lena Korsah who before could hardly make time for her hobby, the increased downtime has been significant to get in some more practice.
“It was quite challenging combining art and work, especially with the long daily commutes,” shared Lena. “Now that I’m all working from home, I have a lot more time to focus on drawing.”
For Lena, drawing is also an escape from reality; allowing her to temporarily shield herself from some of the dreary realities of the pandemic.
Others like Tobe Woode ’22 and Paul Owusu Yeboah ’20 have been exploring tools and applications for 3-D modeling and user-interface development.
“Right now, I get to make fancy and cool things I’m excited about,” shared Tobe. “However, it’s a skill that could definitely come in handy on my CV.”
Gardening & Horticulture
Growing up, Araba Botchway hated watering her mother’s plants. However, she did it so often that she grew to love it, becoming quite the florist herself. How passionate is she about gardening today? She calls her flowers “my babies,” and she sure is glad she grew to love it.
“Gardening can be therapeutic,” she shared. “During this period, I get to spend every single day taking care of my babies. Even though the Admissions team has shifted all its work online, I know I don’t have to wake up early to rush to work, so I spend some time nursing my flowers and even sometimes do this before retiring to bed at night.”
Reading periodicals, learning new skills
For some, it may be hard to keep up with the news these days, and the barrage of information thrown at them can be overwhelming. But for Edel Togboto ’21 and David Boateng, they’ve found that making time in the day to stay updated helps keep things in perspective and also learn new skills from platforms like Masterclass.
“Being at home, I’ve been more inspired to read the news a lot more, and make some sense of it, instead of depending on people to interpret the news for me,” shared Edel.
Likewise, David Boateng ’20 deliberately sets aside time in the day to read on making smart business decisions from periodicals like the Harvard Business Review.
“There’s no better time than now to stay abreast with the industry through investing in reading further about it,” as he plans to venture into entrepreneurship after graduating.
Starting a side business
Initially, Mensima Thompson made clothes just as a hobby. But when her friends starting complimenting and asking for dresses themselves, she knew she could turn her hobby into a side business.
“I was pretty happy just being able to complete one outfit, wear it, and then explore new designs and patterns,” says Mensima who founded Kukua Kwaffo clothing. “Slowly, I’ve been able to build a little business, and I have grown from sewing bags to dresses and gowns. Though now, I’m learning to balance it all out, especially with online classes now, and pursuing my Ph.D. on the side, and being a mother of one energetic toddler.”
Ask anyone at Ashesi about baking, and they’ll surely point you to Aba Enyimayew. On the weekends, switches roles, from HR to chef, baking for friends and family. “Working from home has also given me the space to try out new recipes,” shared Aba. “Though with all this food, I’m seriously considering a gym membership.”
Playing an instrument
Music may be food for the soul, but for faculty member Heather Beem, and David Effah ‘21, it’s that and more.
“Whenever I need a distraction perhaps after prepping for a class and going through my emails, I pick up my violin, and play away,” says Heather who has been playing for over ten years.
David, who is also the President of a music-focused club on campus has taken to making music to while away time.
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