Logan’s Guide to Safe and Socially Distant Activities

In the crazy times we have had in these last few months of following mandated COVID-19 rules and restrictions, I’ve found it can be rather difficult to be social and to form bonds with other students on campus. I would be pretty surprised if you confidently told me you liked meeting with students through Zoom, especially in breakout rooms. I find that every time I’m assigned a breakout room awkward silence fills the air and crickets chirp.  If you’ve been struggling to find activities to do with your friends safely, here are a few ideas that are COVID-19 safe and socially distant that may help things feel more normal around here!

  1. 1. Outdoor Movie Night

    If you have any friends that live close by with a backyard, you could have an outdoor movie night! Over the summer, I was able to host a backyard movie party with my friends- and it was definitely a success! All you need for this is a projector, any decent-sized white sheet, some comfy blankets, and pillows, and you’re all set! Just hang the sheet up in the backyard and you’re ready to go. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even hang up string lights for some cute decoration. 

  2. 2. Socially Distanced Picnic and Study Sesh

    Another easy and fun socially distant activity is to have a picnic! You could sit at one of the picnic tables on campus, or you could spread out a blanket on the mall. Having a picnic is a perfect way to talk to friends, eat, and even study together! It’s just like sitting in a dining hall, only safer and a little colder I guess (just bring a sweater)!

  3. 3. Online Gaming

    Something I’ve personally wanted to try more of is playing online games. You know those phone games people play through iMessage? Those are actually super fun! I play them a lot with my boyfriend, my personal favorite being 20 questions! There’s also an app called Psych, which is a game where you try to outwit your friends. I played it with my friends a while back, and we had lots of laughs! Another game I suggest that is now offered online is called Cards Against Humanity. This is a very famous card game that is basically an inappropriate version of Apples to Apples (If you know what that is!). Online gaming provides a nice way to hang out, especially when winter comes around and everyone wants to stay huddled in the comfort of their dorms. 

  4. 4. Biking or Walking the DeMeritt Forest Trail System

     If you and your friends brought bikes to campus, then you’re in luck! There are a plethora of trails behind the New Balance Center where you can ride your bikes, they are part of the DeMeritt Forest Trail System. Not only is this a fun way to hang out with friends but it’s also a great way to stay healthy this school year! If you or your friends don’t have bikes, you can still go on a walk maintaining social distance on these trails. I find that getting outside and doing these types of activities with other people benefit you both physically and mentally!

  5. 5. Netflix Party

    My last idea is throwing a Netflix Party with some friends, or maybe even do it as a bonding activity with the people on your floor. Bonding with your floor mates will help you develop friendships early on in your transition to college.  I personally haven’t tried throwing a Netflix Party before, but I have only heard good things about them! It seems like a great way to get connected with people while in the comfort of your own room.

Those are all of my *hopefully* helpful tips on how to hang out with friends and meet new people in our socially-distanced world. Even though it may be hard, I encourage you to find ways to be as safe as possible while growing friendships. Mentally, it can still be challenging to adapt to these new situations, but as we all know this is the only way we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and make sure the University of Maine community is as safe as possible. These activities will allow you to create bonds, and hopefully will show you, as I have learned, that you can still maintain healthy friendships while being six feet apart. We all must understand it’s about making adjustments to ensure the safety of others.