Don’t fall out of touch this fall semester: Try these new ways to socialize

Josh Kahen/Staff

This summer isn’t what we expected. Instead of jumping in pools or going to the beach, we’ve been juggling group chats, organizing Zooms and sending endless streams of TikToks to our friends. We’ve all been in quarantine for so long that essentially every day feels the same. So, here are some fun new ways — online and in person — to connect with friends this fall!

Game night

Who doesn’t like a party game? Draw against your friends with the free online game Skribbl, or try the team word-guessing game Codenames. The video chat app Houseparty has some fun new games similar to Cards Against Humanity, Heads Up! and more. If you don’t mind spending several dollars, Jackbox Games has multiple party packs with engaging games for everyone to enjoy. Trivia? Got it. Drawing? Check. Fill-in-the-blank comedy? Of course.

Feeling creative?

Grab a pencil and let your imagination flow while talking to friends on Zoom. If everyone’s up for a group activity, choose a picture to draw — a famous painting, photograph or your favorite meme. Divide the image into squares, and assign each square to someone to recreate. At the end of the call, everyone can hold up their papers to their screens to create one single piece of art (although, in most cases, art might not be the right word).

“Zoom-ba”

Zoom is seemingly inescapable at this point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with the platform. The monotony of quarantine and gym closures have made it difficult to exercise regularly, but you can stay healthy by following along with a yoga or workout YouTube video with your friends regularly on Zoom.

Pick up that neglected book on your shelf

Haven’t read a book all summer? Now’s the time to start! Pick any book and form a book club with your friends. Read a chapter every week, two weeks or month — you and your friends can decide your pace.

Think about moving to the kitchen

Since so many of our favorite restaurants are closed, try setting up your device in the kitchen and making a delicious treat while chatting with friends. If you’re feeling up to it, you could even host a Zoom cooking or baking competition.

Music is the universal language

Tired of listening to the same three albums over and over? Find some new music by hosting a playlist exchange. Whether you decide to pair people up or host it Secret Santa style, putting together playlists for friends is a creative way to bond.

Study session

We’ve started to see those dreaded back-to-school commercials, so why not form a study group? Use social media (join Facebook groups, slide into direct messages) to find people taking the same classes as you. In addition to attending helpful study sessions, you’ll also meet new friends!

Watch a movie

If you miss going to the local movie theater and wasting money on buttery popcorn, curl up with some snacks and blankets at home. With a few clicks, you can download the Netflix Party browser extension and start watching a rom-com with your friends in minutes.

Tired of staring at a screen?

With your screen time skyrocketing, it’s important to get some fresh air. Head to your local park and unpack a picnic. Social distance at the beach, bike on a scenic trail or skateboard around the neighborhood. Going outside can lower stress levels and improve mood, but a change of scenery doesn’t come without risks: Make sure to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart and always follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Contact Taila Lee at [email protected].