Ben Lutz’s free time is filled with community and self-expression


Ben Lutz

Ben Lutz is using his time in quarantine to find community through new means.

For sophomore Ben Lutz, quarantine never really ended. As one of the students who chose to enroll in the remote learning program for the first semester of the school year, Ben has had more time to himself than the average high school student; with the previous months of lockdown under his belt, he has used this time to change as a person and find new activities to fill his schedule. 

Unlike many people who lost important conversational skills due to the months shut indoors, Ben became more outgoing which allowed him to find new communities to surround himself with. 

“I’ve met a lot of people in the last four months,” Ben said. “As I’ve changed as a person, the people [I’ve chosen] to be around have also changed.” 

These changes in his interpersonal relationships all stem from his recent experiences with trying any new activities that come to mind. Not only has Ben recently found many projects to take up, he has also realized he maintains the motivation and tenacity to stick with them—an attribute that many people lost as soon as restrictions started to lessen. 

Music, a constant in his life before the pandemic, is just one of many things that Ben has been focusing on recently.

“[I like] how much stuff there is [in the music community],” Ben said. “I think there [are] always so many possibilities—you can always be learning new things, and you’ll never run out of things to create.”

Inspired by the musicians that flood his playlists, Ben has used his free time to turn himself into an amateur musician, and he’s starting his musical ventures on one of the most widely-respected and adored instruments. 

However, his reasoning behind his first practice session was less about the instrument and more about making himself happy.

“I play the guitar, poorly,” Ben said jokingly. “[Because I’ve been] getting into a bunch of music stuff, [I’ve been learning guitar] for about five months. I needed something to keep me sane [during quarantine], so I picked up [the guitar].”

Though the guitar itself is unapologetically mainstream, the music community that Ben has found himself a part of rests more on the alternative side. With indie and rap genres being some of his most-streamed tracks, it’s no surprise that Ben’s other newest hobby is just as idiosyncratic as his music taste. 

“I’ve started skateboarding,” Ben said. “It’s something I picked up out of nowhere. It’s a fun, individual thing you can do that also has a culture and community around it—which is amazing.” 

This culture of skateboarding is quite literally established on blood, sweat, and tears, which make for strong bonds not only between Ben and his fellow skaters but between Ben and his skateboard as well. Although the difficult nature of skateboarding elicits many trials and tribulations, Ben continues to employ his persistence in order to improve every day. 

While it’s apparent in the new activities he partakes in like playing the guitar and skateboarding, Ben’s persistence in the face of adversity is not something new. 

You find yourself while rowing—you feel that a lot. [When rowing], you feel amazingly comfortable [with] what you’re doing in life. Despite the pain and hard work, you just feel good.

— Ben Lutz

Ben’s resolute disposition has also been showcased through his membership on the FHC Crew team, and despite his affinity for trying new things, Ben hasn’t quite stopped thinking about returning to rowing since his season was cut short last year.

“I like crew [because] I like working with other people and being around other people who all have the same goal as you,” Ben said. “You find yourself while rowing—you feel that a lot. [When rowing], you feel amazingly comfortable [with] what you’re doing in life. Despite the pain and hard work, you just feel good.”

Even though Ben won’t be returning to the boathouse until springtime, he will no doubt be finding new activities that satisfy his eagerness when it comes to giving everything a shot, no matter how daunting the task. 

With his guitar in his hands, his skateboard beneath his feet, and new opportunities forever littering the horizon, Ben’s next project will certainly meet his short list of requirements: being captivating, a means of self-expression, and a means of meeting new people. 

At the end of the day, Ben’s distinctive hobbies are just a reflection of his own uniqueness.

“I like being able to do things that I find interesting,” Ben said.  “I like doing things that I can use to express myself—different things that differentiate me from others to stand out.”