The Power of Puzzles While Staying at Home

Authored by Taryn Akiyama (MEM Candidate, Class of 2021)

COVID-19 has altered many aspects of life for Yale F&ES students—attending virtual classes, wearing masks to the supermarket, staying six feet from others on the street—but it has especially transformed the nature of social connections.

F&ES is a uniquely close-knit community, so the global pandemic has significantly shifted how students engage. Forestry Club, which organizes community-wide social events, brainstormed ways to bring joy to students in lieu of Tacky Prom and the End of the Year Party, which had to be cancelled.


Figuring that others like me might turn to puzzles as a form of relaxation while indoors, I decided to create puzzles for the student body. It began with an F&ES-inspired crossword puzzle with references to campus locations, research centers, student groups, and more.

After receiving enthusiastic responses from my peers, I created other puzzles, such as a Kroon Hall sliding puzzle, where one moves rectangular pieces until one achieves the correct order; May The Forest Be With You word search, where one spots different types of trees; and The Knob jigsaw puzzle, where one arranges puzzle pieces to reveal the pleasant study space.


As we approach finals, I hope these puzzles serve as entertaining breaks and stimulating activities for students. Xueyin Tong (MEM-5 Candidate, Class of 2020) reflects, “Super nerdy, very fun. Great way to feel like an F&ES student while being stuck at home.”