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Things to do Instead of Going to a Party

We all saw what happened at UNC Chapel Hill and it could very easily happen at Virginia Tech. Even though our in person semester has been shortened, it is already under threat. From students at busted parties being suspended to people in residence halls not wearing masks, if we all don’t do our part there will be no in person semester left to have. Being away from home usually means less responsibility and more time to do what pleases you, but this year is very different. The actions of just a few individuals can have very large repercussions and are a major threat to the life and well being of all residents of Virginia Tech and the overall New River Valley community. PLEASE, don’t go to parties. [bf_image id="qb05vt-4rn85s-81clab"]

Just a quick disclaimer for this article, some of these events do involve being with others. At all times when possible, please be responsible, wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing. If you or anyone you have come into contact with tests positive for COVID-19, please do your part and self-isolate for two weeks until you are able to get tested. If you haven’t already downloaded the COVIDWISE app, it is a super easy way to self-report a positive result while remaining completely anonymous. The app automatically alerts you if you have come into contact with anyone who has self-reported a positive result. 

If you are of legal drinking age and still want to have a good time, a great alternative to a traditional party is to have a movie and wine night. Either by yourself or with your roommates, a wine night is a great way to unwind and relax at the end, or beginning, of a stressful week. Plus, you don’t even have to dress up. Stay in your PJs all night and watch the classics or a new movie you’ve had your eye on. If you live alone or don’t feel comfortable having a movie night with others, another great option is to use the new Netflix Party function. Netflix Party synchronizes the playback of a movie or TV show with everyone you invite to the party and it has a cool chat feature so you can talk throughout without having to pick up your phone.

[bf_image id="q2y185-uxsg8-f9a99o"] If you’re someone who likes to be outside, a great alternative for you is a socially distanced picnic. Invite a few -- no more than ten -- of your close friends and plan a place to eat outside. Each person can bring their own blanket and food so there’s no possibility of contamination. Place your blankets six feet apart and then enjoy a beautiful afternoon in the ‘Burg. One of my personal favorite spots is along the Duck Pond. With all the rain that’s happened lately, a sunny afternoon with friends is the perfect way to relax. Of course, wear your mask when not eating and make sure to pack hand sanitizer.

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Did you have a bunch of cute outfits planned, but have no place to wear them? I definitely did my fair share of online shopping during the quarantine months, and something I liked to do was have impromptu photoshoots. Nothing too serious and nothing too professional just myself, my sister and a few super cute outfits. You don’t even need a professional camera, your phone camera works just fine. If you have a roommate and need to get out the house, this is a great way to get out some pent up energy while also remaining safe and being responsible. If you don’t have a roommate, grab a friend, stay socially distanced and have him or her send you the pictures afterward.

[bf_image id="q4s6il-gd0h4-akaglm"] Luckily for us, we go to school in one of the most beautiful areas. The New River Valley has some of the most beautiful -- and not so difficult -- hiking options. From Bald Knob to Cascades, the options really are endless. Being the outdoorsy type, I was definitely struggling with keeping myself occupied indoors. Hiking has become a great go-to for me now that I am back in Blacksburg and have tested negative. A morning or afternoon hike in the mountains is a great way to destress and get a new perspective. There’s nothing like an early morning sunrise hike to give you a quick refresh. Bring a roommate with you or go alone -- if you know the trail well -- and make sure to pack lots of water and your mask.

[bf_image id="q2wioz-cdl1mg-8eqwl1"] With the ongoing pandemic and long quarantine period, a lot of small businesses are hurting. A great way to help support the Blacksburg community is to try a new restaurant or a tried and true favorite and either order to-go or eat outside. Most of Blacksburg relies on the foot traffic of students so they were reeling when we were abruptly sent home during the spring semester. I’ve definitely been craving a Cabo taco since March and can’t wait to get one again soon. Just make sure to tip, wear your mask and sanitize your hands. Food service workers are people too and they have been working so hard to keep their businesses alive.

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Another great option if you are missing the company of friends is to have a game night. Whether you have roommates and can play physical board games or you’d prefer to have an online game night, there are plenty of games just waiting for you to try. If an intense game of Monopoly is your go-to or if you’re a Quiplash type of gal, game nights are a great way to spend time and catch up with friends. One of my personal favorite things to do is to host a skribbl.io game and a Zoom call at the same time so you get the best of both worlds.

I’ve definitely been missing my friends, and as they self-quarantine for 14 days and wait for their test results we have been planning a lot of Zoom nights. Obviously it’s not the same as being in person with them, but if it means being safe and doing the right thing then it’s worth it. Plus, we always love laughing at the ridiculous backgrounds that some of us can find. If you’re getting tired of constantly texting and checking in with people, maybe planning a Zoom night for your friend group is a good option for you all.

Jumping back into the active theme, another great option in the NRV is tubing on the New River. Spending the afternoon with your roommates floating downstream -- for only $6!!!!!! -- sounds pretty much perfect to me. After the first week of classes it would be a great way to check in on friends, debrief about the first week and to look toward the second week ahead. I definitely plan on taking advantage of the nice weather while it lasts and creating some memories with my friends that I will cherish forever.

[bf_image id="q71pyc-8xxvc8-ginrx4"] One of my tried and true favorite activities is a very simple self-care night. A face mask, a warm bath or even just painting your nails is a great way to unwind after such a stressful and uncertain season. Taking care of your mental health is so, so important and not something that should be neglected. Journal for a little bit, draw a picture or read a book. Not everything always has to be go, go, go. Sometimes it really is best to take some time and give yourself a little breather.

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If you have gotten anything from this, I hope it is that there are so many other options out there than a house or dorm party. It isn’t worth risking your health, the health of others or your academic standing just to have one good night. There are plenty of other alternatives that allow you to have just as much fun, but in a safer way. We can’t make it through this school year if everyone doesn’t do their part. It is up to each and every single one of us to be responsible and do the right thing to support the community we are in. Parties will always be there, but your life and the lives of others may not; PLEASE don’t go to a party.

Ashley Son

Virginia Tech '21

A little bit about me: a senior at Virginia Tech studying Business Information Technology who enjoys watching sunsets, driving with the windows down, having the best laughs with friends, and writing for Her Campus :)
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