What would we do without friends?
Before the pandemic, as we talked in the halls, warning each other about pop-quizzes and laughing at inside jokes, we might have wondered. It would have been difficult to imagine that there would come a summer without pool parties and sleepovers, a school year where our classmates appeared as black boxes on screens, and a winter when the cold kept us from seeing our friends. Living this reality, the importance of friendship has never been clearer.
This school year has been unlike any before. First quarter began all online, and since then the school has adopted a hybrid model in which some students zoom in from home, and others attend in person. Between online learning, the condensed school day, mandatory social distancing, and division of classes into morning and afternoon, students’ interaction with one another has been limited.
“The pandemic has made me realize how much I rely on school for how much I see people every day,” said CHS junior Anna Streeto.
Reduced socialization during the pandemic has impacted everyone differently. Extroverts have been forced to limit their social circles, and many have become more lethargic and less motivated to spend time with others. Some introverts may have enjoyed the time to themselves, at least in pandemic’s earlier months, but many have begun to miss the opportunity to interact with their peers.
“I didn’t even think of myself as a super extroverted person before, but it’s been almost a year without class and I do really miss the environment and interactions I get at school that I took for granted,” said Streeto.
Despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic, students have still found ways to interact with their friends. Many have stayed in touch through text, social media, video calls, and by social distancing. Some students have come up with ways to bring their favorite activities outdoors.
“I’ve definitely had to get creative about it,” said Anette Martinson, a junior at CHS. “I bought a projector so I could watch movies outside with my friends while remaining socially distanced.”
Before the pandemic, many friends bonded by going to the movies and watching shows. Now, many do not feel comfortable going to theaters or inside other people’s houses. Setting up a projector is one solution, but for those who do not have the space or technology to watch movies outdoors, there are other options. Friends can watch movies and TV together through groupwatch options on streaming services or computer installments like Teleparty and Scener.
“I think watching movies with people has been really helpful just because I can hear their voices; texting can be draining just because if you can’t see or hear someone, it’s easy to feel like they aren’t there,” said Streeto.
Though the pandemic has put a strain on some relationships, it has made others stronger. Friends have relied on one another for support during this difficult year. Calls, streaming parties, and socially-distanced get-togethers have helped break up the school week, giving students the chance to smile and laugh.
“Quarantine has made me realize how much I care about some people and how happy I am to be able to talk to them everyday,” said CHS junior Alyx Schlegel.
The distribution of vaccines has provided hope for the future, but the return to normalcy will take time. During the wait, friends can keep their spirits up by making plans for post-pandemic life. They can create shared journals, brainstorm their favorite stores and restaurants, contribute songs to shared playlists, and plan out movie-watching parties.
“I love my friends and I can’t wait until we can spend time together in a more conventional way,” said Schlegel.
Going through a global pandemic has allowed us to realize all we have taken for granted. When we can finally spend time with friends the way we used to, the perspective we have gained will make our time together even more valuable.