Close on Campus to Far Away Friends: How to Transition

I never thought I would miss communal bathrooms. As a Junior who, as a Residential Assistant (RA), has lived in Freshman housing for three years and will continue to do so during my Senior year, communal bathrooms have become a constant in my life since my freshman year at Siena. We all moan and groan about wearing shoes in the shower and having to walk down the hallway just to go to the bathroom. Today though, I wish I was in my pajamas walking down that long hallway just to have to use the 3rd stall because the first two are a mess. No, I don’t miss the smell, or that weird sticky substance that’s been on the wall all semester. But I do miss brushing my teeth with my residents and other staff members. Above all, I miss being less than a mile away from all of my best friends at any given time. 

However, it is in times like these that we realize just how lucky we are. I would give anything to meet my best friends at their townhouse and watch Gossip Girl with some white wine and Stewart’s ice cream right now. But since I can’t do that, this is how I am transitioning to an online campus while keeping my friends close, no matter our physical distance.

Christmas staff picture

 

  1. 1. SOCIAL Media 

    hand holding cell phone with social media apps open

    Social media and I have seldom gotten along in the past. I use all the usual platforms, but I have always felt like it takes people out of the present moment. Today, that is exactly what some people need. I have watched as Instagram has slowly gone from funny posts mocking the Coronavirus to really genuine posts of old pictures and encouraging words. In times of crisis, people can show their best or their worst side. So far I am seeing the best side of social media I have ever seen before. Embrace it! Even if you don’t usually, participate in the silly push up, “until tomorrow,” and drunk selfie challenges. It’s okay to be your real self on social media, especially when you don’t have the option to be you in person.

  2. 2. Keep Pre-Existing Plans

    Do you have a regular weekly dinner with your friends? Is there someone you usually meet for breakfast every Thursday? Keep doing that, just do it over video chat! Routines are so good for us mentally, and they bring some normalcy to the craziness erupting in the world right now. Plus, you have a guaranteed time when you will be able to catch up with that person and keep your friendship strong by supporting each other through this.

  3. 3. Check-In

    One of the positives I have found in this debacle is that I have had the opportunity to catch up with friends that I normally never get to talk to! Take advantage of this time to reach out to that person you have been meaning to get lunch with for the past month and a half or that friend from orientation who you just haven’t seen in a while. It reminds us that we aren’t alone in this, and adds a little spontaneity to days that can sometimes feel mundane.

  4. 4. Be Honest

    If someone checks up on you, don’t feign the “I’m fine!” and move on. This isn’t an easy time for anyone. You aren’t being a burden by sharing yours. You are being an example to your friends that they can lean on you too. It’s much easier to fake a smile and pretend everything is okay, but by being honest you are nurturing a friendship and taking care of yourself and others.

  5. 5. Keep It Interesting

    Try something new! There are so many video chat platforms to play with (Google Hangout, Zoom, Skype, Oovoo, FaceTime….). Plan a spirit week with your friends, pick a pajama day, plan a time Zoom Pet Pageant, start a book club, watch a movie simultaneously, there are so many things to try, and we have plenty of time to try them!

Yes, academics come first, but for me what makes college college is the friends I have there and the time I spend with them. I’m not willing to let a virus get in the way of me and my people, and you shouldn’t either. My friends, we will be together again soon. Until then, call me beep me if you wanna reach me.

6 friends on couch laughing