Passing the time

Stamp and penny collecting, woodworking and scrapbook making usually come to mind when people think about hobbies. More unique hobbies can get lost in the clutter of coins, paste and pictures – but they do exist. Some GW students dare to diverge from the norm to pursue their interests on the side.

Many people are fascinated by the Civil War era, but some take that fascination to another level. Junior Steven Hane is one of those people. Hane and other Civil War enthusiasts take a step back into history – literally. Hane is part of a group that historically interprets the Civil War.

“We go to various events where we reenact similar drills, camp-life experiences and recreational battles of the Civil War for the general public,” Hane said.

This hobby may seem out of the ordinary, but it is not as rare as it may seem.

“At major reenactment events there can be over 15,000 different reenactors,” Hane said.

The hobby is somewhat time-consuming and rather expensive. Basic equipment costs about $1,500, and Hane said he puts in about eight hours of practice, plus outside research, before each event. There are advantages to this unique hobby. Not only does Hane re-live some of the most famous Civil War battles, he said it is a great place to make connections and meet people.

Sophomore Andrew Rossi said he likes to blow off steam by cleaning his room.

“At home I got a reputation for being super clean because I took showers all the time,” Rossi said. “When I got to school I picked up cleaning other things.”

Rossi said his cleaning habits are not related to a “germ thing” – it is a hobby. Rossi makes a point of cleaning his entire Schenley residence hall room once a week, from the bathroom to the bedroom.

“I clean because I feel accomplished,” Rossi said. “And when I’m angry, cleaning makes me feel better.”

Rossi lists his favorite cleaning supplies – 409 and Mr. Clean Mountain Fresh – like someone talking about a favorite stamp. It may be strange, but it makes shopping for him easy, Rossi said.

“I received cleaning products for Christmas this year and it was one of my favorite gifts,” Rossi said.

While Rossi is cleaning, his roommate Mike DiSabatino is busy adding to the clutter. DiSabatino collects paraphernalia off of eBay, an online auction site.

“It started last year with cheap Christmas presents and I realized they had all this other cool stuff,” DiSabatino said.

He has purchased everything from a light-up beer sign to accessories for his cellular phone. This sophomore said he goes online about three times a week for 45 minutes to an hour searching for items to buy.

“You can find anything you want or need on eBay,” DiSabatino said. “You never know, you don’t need the stuff now, but you might need it some day.”

DiSabatino’s hobby is a costly one. He has spent more than $200 on cell phone accessories, and estimates that he spent more than $1,000 during the past year and a half. Even so, DiSabatino still goes onto eBay, comparing prices and searching for other possible purchases.

“It’s the excitement of bidding, to see if you can put in a low price and still get it,” he said. “It’s just really addicting.”

While many students boast the usual collections of Absolut advertisements, postcards, shot glasses and jewelry, roommates junior Tia Vaskov and sophomore Erin O’Brien collect revealing tank tops. They call the clothing collection their “skank top collection,” and dedicate a large closet and two drawers to the tops, which range in style from the Gap to Express.

The two roommates said they live by the motto, “if it’s not small and shiny, don’t bother,” but they do set limits on what they collect. The women refuse to spend more than $25 for a tiny top because there is just not enough material for it to be worth more than that, Vaskov said. The students said their hobby can take up a large amount of their storage space and time.

Although the women said they have to devote extra time to find revealing tank tops in the winter, the two take pride in their collection of more than 50 shirts.

Unconventional, different, weird or interesting, hobbies varying from the norm do exist, although they may be hidden among the junk and clutter of more typical past times.

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