Pandemic Profs: Passing the Time with Puzzles

Close up of a completed multi-colored Pokemon puzzle.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing. Today’s story is from Olivia Scattergood, a junior psychology major whose season with women’s track and field was cut short due to COVID-19. She is now home in South Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County). Check out Olivia’s track and field stats

Olivia holds a puzzle box for Stranger Things close to her head.This spring break, I was supposed to be heading to Atlanta with my team to compete, but unfortunately things didn’t go exactly as we planned! This left me with a lot of free time on my hands, which is something that I’m definitely not used to.

A completed puzzle for Stranger Things.
The finished product!

So, whenever I wasn’t at work, I used my free time to do something I haven’t been able to do for a long time! I completed a few puzzles over the last couple of weeks, which doesn’t sound like the most exciting activity, but it’s been something I’ve really enjoyed doing. They relax me, keep me occupied for hours on end, and stimulate my brain. 

I used to do puzzles with my mom all the time when I was a kid, and I think she is a big reason that I’ve loved them all my life. Although she is no longer with me, I think of this as a way of spending time with her and honoring her memory. In recent months, I haven’t had a ton of time to relax and do things I enjoy, so I’m glad I was able to take this time for myself to do something that I like to do. 

My cats also like to partake in this activity with me, as you can see.

Brown and gray tabby cat leans down from its perch to "help" Olivia with her in progress puzzle.

Unfortunately, they end up being quite destructive rather than helping me. I also did these puzzles over the course of several days, so despite my best efforts to keep the pieces intact, my lovely cats had other plans.

Black and white tuxedo cat sits on Olivia's in progress puzzle.So unfortunately, they hauled away a few pieces for themselves (and I’ve yet to find them). It’s incredibly unsatisfying to finish a puzzle and still be missing a piece or two, but I’ve accepted my fate as a cat owner!

Cat standing on a puzzle, innocently destroying it.

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