In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our world has been turned upside down. Large in-person gatherings such as backyard barbecues and pool parties are events of the past, as we now rely more heavily on technology in order to see loved ones.
Likewise, the way that Salisbury University students have been socializing reflects the changes in our pandemic-driven present. Many students are relying more heavily on digital communication rather than in-person communication in order to keep in touch with friends and family.
For Elli Larsen, a freshman with a double major in early childhood education and elementary education, a recent move across the country has complicated her ability to get to know the town she moved to.
“I’m from Southern California, and I just moved to Delaware, so it’s [her social life] definitely changed with the pandemic cause it’s kept us inside more and not able to kind of go out and explore the area … it’s definitely made it harder to do things in person, and everything’s been so technology-driven …” Larsen explained.
Larsen also pointed out that she relies on Facetime, text messaging and the website Zoom, the platform which hosts SU’s online classes, to keep in touch with others.
She is also looking forward to joining the staff of The Saunterer, the newsletter of the Clarke Honors College. Like many organizations, The Saunterer will be holding its meetings online.
“I think, the first thing that I’ve really started to get into is … looking to join The Saunterer staff … I feel like it will be interesting to communicate in that environment virtually.”
She additionally expressed a desire to get involved with SU’s other virtual activities, which provides a safe way for students to be entertained and social with their peers.
“I know SU’s had a lot of online activities that have been trying to get everyone involved … I really enjoy trivia, so I’m hoping to do some of the virtual trivia events sometime in the future,” Larsen said.
In addition to changed modes of socialization, students such as Larsen are also having to deal with the challenges that come with remote instruction for classes.
“Being at home is difficult because there’s a lot more distractions, so just trying to be able to focus on my work is definitely a little bit more difficult …” Larsen added.
Sophomore nursing major Jada Jackson had similar experiences. She noted that the pandemic has changed her social life too.
“I definitely don’t get to see friends as often, or ever. I haven’t really seen anybody that I don’t live with, so it’s [her social life] definitely changed a lot,” Jackson stated.
Like Larsen, Jackson has also used the website Zoom to keep in contact with loved ones.
“We’re having family Zoom calls and stuff like that, so that’s a good way to stay in contact with people now,” Jackson said.
She added that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused her to have difficulty making new friends on campus.
"I haven’t really been able to meet anybody because you’re staying six feet apart from everybody,” Jackson stated.
Students like Jackson have also taken precautions, especially when it comes to socializing in person, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I know my roommates and I aren’t doing guests, so I guess we’re being super safe …” Jackson added.
Larsen and Jackson may just be two of SU’s many students, but their stories echo a truth about the time we’re living in: Students, like anyone else, have had to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though that adjustment looks different for everyone, many students have found new ways to fulfill their social needs while keeping themselves and others safe.
By ALLISON GUY
Featured image: Salisbury University Facebook page.