A Zoom Call Six Months in the Making: Clinging Onto a Social Life

When quarantine first began, I had the utmost confidence that my friends and I would maintain our relationships with each other. We were used to hanging out in person, of course, but we spent so much time texting in group chats and talking on the phone that it shouldn't have been some big shift for us. And I had some experience with these kinds of long distance friendships, too—my best friend from high school goes to college a plane ride away, and my best friend from college studied abroad last semester. So, I figured I was well equipped for this!

I was wrong.

woman on a conference call with 3 others Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels I'm a planner, so while adjusting to life during Covid-19, I had consumed countless articles about how people made it work. A social life seemed very realistic, even while adhering to strict guidelines and caution. People talked about Zoom calls, phone calls, virtual game nights, and more. Back in March, two of my friends and I started planning a video call or even a group phone call. We all had the same on-campus job, so we had seen each other nearly every day on campus. I also had classes with one of them, so we were really almost constantly with each other. But quarantine had kept us all apart, and the separation anxiety was setting in.

Staying in touch is hard. Our Zoom call, six (almost seven) months in the making, has still yet to happen. We have all the tools at our disposal—devices, apps, a maybe unhealthy addiction to our phones—but why is it still so hard to adjust?

Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop. Photo by Yan from Pexels

My college best friend, who had been my roommate before she went abroad, had only called me once. We had once started and ended our days together, studied at Mugar Library and explored Newbury Street together, and even accompanied each other to office hours. When she went abroad, we talked over the phone almost on a weekly basis. But now, other than seeing each other over Zoom for a weekly class and exchanging a few texts each day, we interact very little with each other. We're both home, and thinking about returning to campus in the spring, but I need some semblance of a social life now.

Most of my friends from my hometown are at college. My best friend flies home semi-frequently, and we always get together to do homework or just drive around the area, but it's such a huge change from pre-Covid times. Back on campus, I never went into the dining hall alone. I would only ever go with friends—that's how my social behavior played out.

Home is good, of course. I'm savoring the time I get to spend with my parents and little sister—time that, if it weren't for Covid-19, we probably would've never had. But my social life has disappeared. A million little obstacles have sprouted up: navigating time zones and class schedules, not wanting to wake up parents who go to bed well before 1 a.m., and even just having no will to spend more time than necessary on Zoom.

As I settle into my academic and extracurricular commitments this semester, I'm trying to cling to this social life. Scheduling weekly calls, texting back in a reasonable time frame (I may or may not have over 500 unread texts currently), tagging people in Facebook meme pages...the works. Hopefully, something will stick.

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