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Campus news: Reconnecting for “Refreshers” despite COVID restrictions

In case you are not updated with the latest Covid restrictions in Scotland (it’s hard to keep up at this point), there are still some significant restrictions on social gatherings and permitted events. Although Scotland’s rules are supposed to relax in the coming week or two, these restrictions, which prevent clubs from opening and large events from taking place, do not exactly align well with the timing of the first week of our semester. As I’m sure we’re all desperate to see each other and catch up after time away from St Andrews, here are some ideas for reconnecting and refreshing at the start of a new semester, despite the inevitable obstacles presented by Covid.

Dinner parties

My favourite way to gather people together is hands-down around a big table of food. Inviting over a small group of friends and asking them each to bring a dish or drink to share is an easy, inexpensive way to enjoy each other’s company (and adhere to Covid guidelines). It’s an especially fun opportunity to introduce new friends, as well as reconnect with old ones. Plus, the January weather makes a cosy game or movie night particularly enticing. 

Sports matches

I am definitely not the most knowledgeable about the sports scene at St Andrews, but I do know that most sports teams and clubs are back up and running for the start of the semester. Bundling up and watching a sporting match here in town is a fun way to support your friends and be involved in the events that are permitted to take place. 

Exercising with friends 

Along the same lines, exercising with friends is the perfect opportunity to reconnect and catch up after some time away. Outdoor exercise can definitely be off-putting at this time of year, but having an accountability partner to accompany you on a run, beach walk, or trip to the gym makes the experience a thousand times more enjoyable.

Work dates 

Although undoubtedly less productive than grinding in the library alone, getting some work done with friends is a great way to reconnect while our options for socialising are more limited. A night out in town is probably a more preferable option, but for us extroverts who are dying to maximise time spent with friends, catching up over work is a chance to reconnect as well. 

Joining online groups

I’m sure we’re all very well-versed at communicating online by now, but the start of a new semester is a great opportunity to join Facebook groups for classes, clubs, and socials to feel connected to everyone we are not able to see in person yet, as well as stay updated with events when restrictions ease. 

After a long break, it can be tough to begin a new semester without being able to see friends, go to classes in person, attend larger events, or perhaps most devastatingly, go wild in 601 on Sinners. In the meantime, we have to be creative with how we reconnect until restrictions lift in the upcoming weeks. Although I’m sure we are all sick of being torn back and forth between rules as they ease and tighten, things do seem to be looking up as the spread of Omicron potentially reaches its peak and infection rates slowly but surely decrease. With that said, here’s to a fulfilling, enjoyable, in-person semester ahead. 

Peyton is a fourth-year Psychology and Art History student at the University of St Andrews. She grew up between London and San Francisco, and speaks like Peppa Pig despite being 100% American. As a proud foodie, she loves creating recipes out of ingredients that really shouldn't go together, and will never be caught dead without a tasty snack in hand.
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