The art of being together while apart

Illustration by Monte

For Georgia State students entering or returning to classes this fall, student life will be different. 

This semester, classes will be either online, blended or face-to-face, and students will walk around in masks and sit several feet apart from friends and classmates. These scenes used to resemble a sci-fi movie, but today, these measures are used to decrease the spread of COVID-19. 

With campuses and businesses opening back up, the college experience and its social aspects have been adjusted in order to follow safety precautions.

Maintaining a social life while taking proper CDC-approved preventative measures means physically distancing, wearing a mask and finding alternative ways to interact with friends and family. 

The CDC says virtual interactions yield the lowest chances of COVID-19 infection, but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Fun activities such as Zoom game nights, group painting sessions, virtual dance parties, gaming and interactive video servers like Twitch and Discord are great ways to interact with others safely. 

Sophomore Alejandro Gorricho has been catching up on shows and enjoys watching TV through screen share with friends. 

“We’ve almost finished an entire show together,” Gorricho said. “It gets us excited to watch when we’ve been watching the whole show together at the same time without any spoilers.”

Concerts and nightlife were once an important part of many students’ lives, and it looks like it will be awhile before it’s safe to mosh and crowdsurf again.  

While venues and clubs remain closed, many performances from BTS, Megan Thee Stallion and Yungblud, to symphonies and theatre productions have made the switch to virtual concerts and live streams in order to entertain fans from their couches at home. 

Small groups of close friends and family can enjoy each other’s company while following preventive measures and maintaining small groups in “social bubbles.”

A social bubble is a group of people with whom you have close physical contact. The idea was first introduced in New Zealand, and the concept works with the bubble’s agreement to interact only with that small group and practice social distancing with everyone else. 

This works best if you limit your interactions to only people within that small group, wear a mask whenever you’re outside and avoid places that are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection.

Many students have found ways to safely socialize in the city and on campus via socially distanced picnics or tea parties, visiting parks and going to drive-in movies.

Sophomore Hadassah Jones has been keeping very active and safe during this pandemic. 

“I’ve been walking around and exploring my city with a mask on, like going to parks, little downtown squares and different things like that,” Jones said. 

Students can enjoy local Atlanta spots around Little Five Points, Piedmont Park, Krog Street Market, The Starlight Drive-in and local eateries with takeout or delivery.  

One can venture outside the city with activities like the drive-through zoo at the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, Georgia

College will look different for students across the country, from home or on campus, but there are still plenty of ways to stay active and in touch with loved ones, all while still minimizing the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.