Connecting with People During Virtual Term Time

Oxford

Sarina Chandaria

‘This is a strange and difficult time’ - a phrase we’ve all heard time and time again. 8 weeks in lockdown has become the new normal and I, somehow, have become a person for whom the Tesco shop is the highlight of the week. Being stuck in one place has in some ways been a positive experience; I’ve gotten to more time with my family than I have in years (this also sometimes a negative), I finally had more time to tackle my huge ‘to be read’ pile and since I’m not constantly rushing about everywhere I’ve been able to commit to changing habits that I previously would always forget about like a twice-daily skincare routine or tracking my water intake.


While all these introspective moments, the self-care and the endless games of Monopoly Deal are making my lockdown experience much more bearable, I still need a social life - or some form of it at least. I miss the ritual of chatting on the way to lectures, cups of tea together and even just calmly working together in whoever’s room we deem ‘the library’ for the evening. In some ways the pandemic has improved my connection with people, as we seem to all have more time in our lives to finally have that catch-up we’ve been mentioning for months but never quite had the time to fit in. In one case this led to a call, with a group in 4 different timezones that hadn’t been together in two years, lasting about 7 hours (it felt like no time at all).


So over the past two months, I think I’ve figured out a happy medium between enjoying some time alone without any social commitments and working out new ways to connect with my friends scattered across the globe.


Games Night

There are so many good options for online games right now, the more internet-savvy of my friends have been using Steam to play various games as well as playing Fortnite and Minecraft. Several JCRs have a Minecraft server you can join, if your JCR doesn’t have one - set one up!


I however, have stuck to some old favourites:

  • You used to be able to play Remote Insensitivity (Cards Against Humanity) online but it got taken down recently. Playingcards.io have some other great alternatives such as Joking Hazard as well as other classic games.

  • The app Psych! or the game Qwiqwit are good fun for putting your sense of humour to the test.

  • Undoubtedly my favourite game of lockdown is https://skribbl.io/ - online pictionary that guarantees hilarity.

  • A quiz! My mum hates these but I’m personally a big fan. Either make it a more conventional pub-quiz style affair with different categories or personalise to your group of friends asking people things like ‘match the Instagram caption to the person’ etc.

Face-to-face Calls

Of course not for everyone, but I think just setting aside an hour or so for a chat with a friend every few weeks is a great way to catch up on everything that has been going on or vent about work. Sometimes texting can feel a little bit superficial even if you’re doing it often whereas a voice or video call leaves me feeling happier and more connected with the person I’m talking to. Add in face masks and a glass of wine for a sleepover vibe during late night chats!


More coming soon!

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