With COVID-19 affecting currently affecting most countries, social distancing is an important step in slowing the viral spread. Because of this, many students are now engaged in remote learning. However, it’s easy to feel isolated without seeing your classmates and friends in person, and this can lead to negative feelings. It’s important to find ways to maintain connections while limiting contact. Fortunately, it’s now simpler than ever to stay connected virtually with your friends, family, and classmates. Whether studying, hanging out, or just leaving messages, there are lots of options.
Remote Learning Through Virtual Study Sessions
Virtual study sessions are a great way to connect with friends and stay on top of remote learning. They provide real-time social connections along with accountability. Using software like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Facetime allows you to have face-to-face conversations, send resources, and share screens. When combined with a well-organized study schedule and good study habits, virtual study sessions can be very effective. Structure is necessary so that you don’t lose track of your days while staying home or fall behind in your work. Doing virtual study sessions regularly helps maintain structure in your whole week, not just your remote education.
Keeping your momentum while at home is important. Learn more about it here.
Staying on top of your studies is important, but it shouldn’t comprise your entire daily schedule. If all you do is study with your friends and never simply hang out with them, life becomes pretty dull. There are lots of ways to hang out with your friends virtually in real-time. Think about what you might normally do, then modify it to work in virtual space. By using software like those mentioned above, you can still do lots of things together.
Video chats are also a great way to hang out, but why stop there? Use Zoom and Spotify to host a virtual dance party! If dancing isn’t your thing, organize a movie night with your friends. You can synchronize viewings on your own, or use Netflix Party. Of course, for gamers, online play is already a well-established outlet for connection.
Remember to schedule your hangout sessions to make sure you actually do them. Don’t just say you will do it and then keep putting it off. If you don’t schedule them, you run the risk of complacency, and becoming too isolated.
Passive connections are another route to consider, especially when it’s hard to synchronize schedules with your friends (for example, if you are in different time zones). Letter writing may be ill-advised right now, but you can still leave notes for your friends. Beyond email and text messaging, apps like Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Marco Polo make it easy to connect with friends through mixed media.
Another option is to create Facebook groups for your friends. Private Facebook groups allow you to come and go, leaving messages, photos, videos, and links for friends, without letting strangers into the conversation. These methods allow you to stay connected without the stresses of having to sync up in real-time.
Don’t forget about extracurricular activities. Lots of students connect through after school programs, which are currently on hiatus. Fortunately, virtual connecting provides workarounds. For athletes, use video calls or Snapchat to play games like HORSE or Around the World. Use Google Sheets to keep track of workouts and challenges with your friends. Engage in virtual challenges to see who can run the most in a week, or do the most pushups in an hour. Do virtual yoga.
Creative activities are great for virtual connection. Musicians can co-create through sending each other recordings. Dancers can send each other choreography and challenges. Hold virtual script read-throughs, poetry readings, or open-mic nights.
Professional development is an option as well. Remote internships allow you to get experience under your belt and develop connections without having to venture out or deal with in-person scheduling conflicts.
A Little Bit Everyday
There are lots of ways to stay connected if you get creative. Virtual connection might not be the same as in-person, but it keeps your connections fresh. Fight the malaise of social distancing; schedule some kind of social connection activity every day.