Staying Social (and Sane) During a Pandemic

By Mia Arciniegas / STAFF WRITER

I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that these last few months have been
bizarre, and I think I can speak for many when I say that it has been a crazy experience
trying to adjust to this new reality. If this virus has taught me anything, it’s that
there are many ways to do things, such as working, learning, and communicating whilst
maintaining distance. In the past few months, we have been forced to figure out how to
make things work with the resources available to us. In many ways, people have figured
out that sometimes an online meeting is easier and more convenient to begin with, and
like it or not, this pandemic is undeniably reshaping our social culture.

Since the initial lockdown in March, I have witnessed the most interesting ways in
which people are maintaining their social life while at a distance. To begin with, people
have already been utilizing social media prior to the pandemic, and no matter how you
look at it, we were already dependent on different apps to communicate with each other.
Even before this pandemic, in-person connections were on the decline; ultimately,
COVID-19 fast-forwarded an impending reality.

Beyond texting, or social media messaging, there has additionally been a rise in
the use of virtual meetups through zoom and google hangouts/meets. I have grown
even closer with some of my friends through quarantine because we have found new
and unique ways to communicate and spend time together, even virtually! One of the
first applications I learned about was a chrome extension called “Netflix Party” where
you can watch Netflix with anyone with a link to your private room, and this has honestly
been a lifesaver, and I’ll admit I have spent far too much time on there. The next is a
little less common, but if there is content you want to watch on youtube, there is a
website called “watch2gether” where you can enjoy videos with anyone you send a
private link to.

Now, If you are wanting face-to-face time with someone or a group of people,
and don’t necessarily want to be talking the entire time, I have found that virtual study
sessions are just as great. If you miss meeting up with your friends and working on your
respective projects or studying together, then group facetime calls or virtual meeting
apps offer a great way to collaborate while also motivating one another to get through
our individual work. It is possible to do almost anything this way, from working out,
attending talks, yoga classes, etc!

On a final note, despite these new circumstances having influenced the way we
interact with one another and forcing us to become more dependent on digital platforms,
it is just as important to have time for yourself. It is okay to close your laptop, get away
from your phone, and relax. I hope this article was helpful, or that it at least gave you
some ideas, or new thoughts relating to how we connect during these strange,
confusing, and uncertain times.

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