The past ten days of my life could have come straight from a young adult novel. I’m still processing that classes will be online for the rest of my semester, that I can’t go back to my dorm, that I won’t see many of my friends until August at the earliest… assuming the virus has run its course by then. These measures are in place to protect us, our community, and our country, and I am so glad that we are taking the issue of the pandemic seriously. However, nothing changes the fact that our everyday lives have changed completely.
Some of these changes aren’t so fun. I’m not a fan of the social distancing and resulting isolation; I miss my fellow TWAMPS and the Williamsburg community. However, it has been incredible to see how the world and my peers have so quickly adapted to this new lifestyle. Throughout the week, I’ve received multiple emails from each of my professors, who are clearly hard at work moving their classes online. Even my major advisor reached out to schedule Zoom meetings with her advisees. My sorority has created a semester plan for online meetings and socials, and has provided all members with access to an online tutoring service. OK Zoomer, a dating website designed for dating in an era of social distancing, has gone viral. The site connects college students looking for friends or potential partners, and, instead of meeting in person, couples meet over Zoom. To me, Zoom is the true MVP.
My favorite adaptation thus far derives its name from Zoom. Zeta Omicron Omicron Mu (ZOOM), a Facebook group created just a few days ago, is serving as an online platform for fraternity and sorority life. Despite being online, ZOOM is flourishing and functioning similarly to a traditional, in-person fraternity or sorority organization… aside from its size. The group already has over 8000 members, as well as unique apparel, bylaws, committees, and a website. Elections for officers are scheduled to take place this weekend. ZOOM has already facilitated friendships leading to group online gaming, networking, and even partying. I hope the platform will continue to grow and serve as a social outlet in this time of isolation.
A member shared some tactics that her sorority, and now ZOOM, are using to maintain human connection, and I’d like to share them with you. In my opinion, these are the real social distancing MVPs.
- Netflix Party – this Chrome extension synchronizes video and adds a group chat to Netflix shows, allowing friends and family to watch their favorite shows and movie together despite being apart
- Houseparty – this app allows for group video chat. It’s perfect for friend groups with a mix of Apple and Android users
- TwoSeven – this extension is similar to Netflix Party in that it synchronizes video, but it works for a range of services including Amazon, Vimeo, and Youtube
- Skribbl.io – online Pictionary
- playingcards.io – online card games (including Cards Against Humanity!)
- Chess.com – online chess
- Zoom – last, but not least, the software that will save us all from failing our classes this semester
I hope you and your family and friends stay well, and are able to put these resources to use. Although the situation we’re all in right now is far from ideal, I have faith in our innovativeness and resilience. We’re going to put this behind us, but, in the meantime, who wants to Netflix party Gilmore Girls? 🙂