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Coronavirus Features

Social Connection During COVID

“Normally I would meet the people that are in my classes and build friendships with them, but it is impossible to get to know people over a class on zoom,” Digital Media Production major Kayla Hartman said.

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus global pandemic has changed the way people are living their lives. By adjusting to CDC guidelines and rules of the state, business, or school, social events and opportunities for social gatherings are limited to almost none.

We used to study on campus until late at night, but we were no longer able to do that because the building hours stopped allowing access very early and the library closed earlier,” Junior Marketing and Data Analytics double major Jordyn Conard said.

Drake University’s guidelines for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year included no gatherings in dorms and masks worn at all times. Classes moved to a hybrid setting, social events were cancelled, welcome week for the freshmen was moved online or with limited attendance, sport seasons were either cancelled or no fans were allowed, plays were moved to livestreams instead of live audiences and much more was disrupted. 

This, of course, was for the safety of Drake students and the faculty. Ultimately though, it has changed how and with whom people interact. 

“Before coming to Drake, I was unable to make new friends due to quarantining,” Acting and Accounting double major Nick Mohammadi said.

Whether it was with new or old friends, the way people interact has altered.

“I think group Facetime and Zoom have been helpful to stay in contact with friends and family,” Hartman said. “My friends and I go and get coffee or food and hang out. We also are going to try and do Netflix Party and have a virtual movie night.” 

Like Hartman, many students are turning to virtual events and social media to connect with their friends. For some, communication has actually increased with their friends and family since the beginning of the restrictions. 

“Communication has definitely improved because so many things that held people back are no longer happening,” Acting major Davey Newell said.

However, for some people, virtual communication just isn’t the same as connecting with others in person.

“I enjoy quality time in person to a much higher degree than I like texting,” Mohammadi said. “Not being able to see people in person pushes me out my usual groove and forces me to go weeks without having a true interaction with my friends.”

Maintaining friendships and relationships when you can’t see them in person have their obvious struggles. Although, for Conard, her relationship with her boyfriend is still going strong. 

“We live five minutes away from each other, so it is very easy to see each other and hang out,” Conard said. “We still do homework together, get dinner, and just relax. We do more at-home dates to limit how often we are in public places.”

Whether the relationship is romantic or platonic, coronavirus safety regulations have caused growing popularity of new forms of communication and new struggles. 

“I think my biggest struggle would be keeping things fun and interesting,” Newell said. “When things become stagnant you lose interest and then the relationship or friendship fails.”

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