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Sick of Social Distancing? 5 Ideas on How to Stay Connected Online

As a college student, it’s hard to stay in touch with your high school friends on a constant basis. When summer comes, everyone scatters off campus, and you have the same struggle to stay in contact with your college friends. And this year, we had to leave our college friends when campuses closed down.

Luckily, there are many ways to connect with friends, no matter how far away they may be. Here are some of the ways that my friends and I stay in touch with each other over the year to grow our connections.

How to Connect with Friends Online

1. Video Calls

Video chatting with friends is one of the most basic ways to connect with my friends. From individual chats to group calls, it’s a similar sensation to meeting in person, the only difference being you’re not in the same room with everyone. It is the perfect way to catch up and give each other advice in real time, or even watch videos together. There are so many platforms to do it on now with Skype, Zoom, Google Meet. The list grows daily. Sitting down and chatting with the girls is always enjoyable.

2. Social Media

Sometimes, it can be hard to have full conversations when everyone is super busy. With a full load of classes, jobs, extracurriculars, and social life, planning calls can be tricky. Not only can we hold small conversations on our group chats in various apps, but we can send each other posts that will inform, inspire, and make everyone laugh.

3. Netflix Party

Netflix Party is a chrome extension where you can watch Netflix online with your friends. There is a side chat where everyone in the party can chat about what you’re viewing. To activate it, all you have to do is add the chrome extension to your browser, log into Netflix, and click the extension to start the party. Copy the URL given and send it to those you’re going to watch with. It’s a great way to have a virtual movie night, and their wide selection of media to watch will satisfy anyone’s taste.

4. Virtual Book Club

My friends and I all love reading, and one of the perks of being in school together was discussing the books that we would read for class or were reading outside of school. There was one series of books that one of us started reading and it passed through the group, each of us experiencing the story after one another. As an avid reader in my spare time, I missed that experience with my friends. After reading Ohio by Stephen Markley, I resolved that my friends had to read it, and gave it to one of them to read and pass around once they finished.

The beauty of a distanced book club is the multiple ways to carry it out. People can get their own copy of the book, whether print or e-book. Or you can mail around the same copy. No matter how you do it, the joy of a story is passed around and you can discuss it with the people you hold dear.

5. Online Games

There are so many ways to play games with one another virtually. On Discord, you can share your screen and play games with others on the platform. There’s an online service called Jackbox where you can buy a set of games, and send links to your friends to play them in real time. This can be done on phones, tablets, and computers and can be bought online and on Steam. There are also sites where you can play board games or card games with your friends online for free.

No matter the way we stay in contact, it’s always heartwarming to talk to my friends. Despite the fact that we don’t see each other in person very often, we have continued to grow our relationships and cheer each other on from the sidelines.

Maryann Veyon

Maryann Veyon is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Chemical Engineering.  She is passionate about music, writing, and energy sustainability.

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