• Sue Wu

Masks suck but work—and can be fun.

In the beginning, it took us a long time to get used to everything—from having to wear masks every day to being forced to stay at home hours each day. “I made several masks out of old t-shirts at the earlier stages of the pandemic,” said faculty member Dale Hinckley. “Then we began to learn the etiquette and fashion of masking — and learned to live with them.” At first, the masks hurt. Everything from the fact that they make it hard for anyone to breathe to the extra challenge it poses to recognize others’ faces makes the masks phenomenally irksome.

However, after two years into the pandemic, everyone seemed to be accustomed to their masks most of the time when interacting with others. Despite how familiar people are with masks, those small pieces of fabric that cover up our nose and mouth every day still have some unwelcome effects on humans. It is natural for us to dislike masks. The very idea of putting something in front of our nose and mouth to stop us from inhaling the possible germs and viruses in the air sounds wrong. Most sane people agree, though, that to protect both ourselves and those around us, it is essential to have masks on when there are others present.

According to a Tusitala survey of the school, preferences for masks vary among individuals. Surgical masks were the most popular, winning the votes of 64% of all 41 people who took the survey. After surgical masks were fabric masks and N95s, each gaining 22% and 8% support. Regarding mask choices, each person has their own favorite. Some argued that N95 masks grant more defense against the COVID virus, while others believe surgical masks are enough for daily protection.

The time people spend with masks on each day varies from about 6 to 12 hours a day. The side effects of masks should be taken seriously since we spend so much time with them every single day. The most common side effects of masks are sore ears, acne, dry nose, and dehydration. Some also complain of drowsiness and less interaction between people (especially between those who are not familiar with each other).

One resolution to sore ears would be to use your hairbands wisely by putting a button on them to hold the mask, instead of directly using your ears. There weren’t any resolutions to other side effects such as dizziness and pimples, but by far surgical masks are the easiest to breathe through. If using a fabric mask doesn’t feel so good in terms of dizziness, try a surgical one.

Some fun ways to use masks:

  • Turning masks into tissue in the occurrence of a runny nose

  • Dry smaller stuff (e.g. brushes, small pieces of cloth, etc.)

  • Carrying pocket (for candies!)

  • Making them into artwork