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How to Celebrate Your Sign Night While In a Pandemic

Every little girl dreams of her big day. A beautiful dress, the people she loves most and all the attention on her as she pukes into the grimy, uncleaned dive bar’s toilet. With mascara running down her face and mysterious bruises covering her body, this is the night she will never remember – and that’s how it was always meant to be. She’s now 21, and it’s her sign night, b*tches!

Sign nights are a rite of passage in Gainesville (seriously, it’s a Gainesville tradition that doesn’t exist anywhere else). And, as someone turning 21 this year, I’ve had to get creative with my big night because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Midtown, parties and risqué challenges are not possible during COVID-19. It’s more important that we are safe and staying home instead of blacking out and spreading disease in a crowded Midtown bar.

Here are a few ways you can make your sign night special while staying in this year!

Order drinks in

Thanks to the pandemic (well, I don’t know if “thanks” is the right word), food delivery apps such as UberEats and Postmates can bring the experience of dining out to your apartment. Consider ordering margaritas for you and your roommates to celebrate. Why stop there, though? Consider drinking around the world exercise and order in all of the restaurant cocktails you’ve wanted to try! Just because there’s a pandemic, doesn’t mean your 21st has to be dry.

Zoom call your friends

Zoom isn’t just for lectures. Schedule a meeting with your friends to get a virtual party going! There are a lot of fun websites for games such as Cards Against Humanity and Pictionary. These games are a great way to get the fun going while apart. You can also stream a movie or television show on Netflix together.

Photoshop a group photo

Okay, I know that this seems sad in theory, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Is your Instagram looking a bit stale? Have you posted anything since Spring Break 2020 (aka the last time anything felt normal)? Show off your sense of humor and creativity with a photoshop collage with all of your friends. Photoshop them in with either expert precision or sloppily with jagged lines and missing hands – either way, is fun! There is no need to dress up in your going-out gear and face full of makeup; this is a great way to show the world a look into your quarantine routine. The pajamas stay on.

Bake Cupcakes

Nothing says birthday like the wafting scent of Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix! Have fun baking and decorating cupcakes with your roommates or with a bottle of wine. You deserve a splurge. Everyone knows that calories don’t count on your birthday, so go crazy!

Make your common area a club

Why can’t you just party with your roommate or inner circle? Order some LED lights, vodka in a plastic bottle and an SAE flag and boom. You’re now magically at a tailgate with Chad and Austin. Live-action roleplay as someone living in the year 2019 and go wild in your transformed living room.

This is a scary time. There’s a lot of pressure on everyone to sacrifice the fun parts of college to prevent a prolonged pandemic. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have a good time. There are COVID-safe options to celebrate your 21st birthday, and I hope this inspires you to be careful on your big day!

Ashley Hamilton is an advertising and international studies major at the University of Florida. She was raised in Yulee, Florida – a town in which everyone still knows everyone and secrets are seldom secret. Nestled in the marshes of the Amelia River and the tumultuous St. Mary’s river, Yulee was as rural as could be when she moved to the Jacksonville metropolitan area in 2006. Upon arrival, the town had no more than a Home Depot, Winn-Dixie, WhataBurger, and a couple of local feed stores. She has grown with her town and is thrilled to evolve into a gator. Hamilton is a lover of all things creative: literature, poetry, theater, film, architecture, and art. She revels in the pastels of Wes Anderson films and impressionism paintings. She grew up in the south (on the Florida-Georgia border) and would feel most comfortable in the presence of historic southern town such as New Orleans, Savannah, or Charleston. There is an almost magnetic draw to these port cities that she cannot deny. After three concussions and a change in majors, she is heading into her second semester in the College of Journalism and Communications. Luckily, it only took a couple of knocks to her head for Hamilton to decide to follow her passions. Biomedical Engineering lacked the creativity and literal analysis she desired. Through her advertising degree, Hamilton plans to develop an understanding of persuasive speech and the intricacies of the copyright system. She foresees herself attending law school, hopefully, at her alma mater to study corporate law in order to protect the intellectual properties of authors and artists.
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