My expectations for the conclusion of my fourth-year of college have been completely warped due to this quarantine period. I had held the impression that I would be walking across the stage at graduation in the first week of May, yet that week has come and gone. The University of Florida, along with many other universities across the country, have made thoughtful and successful decisions to cope with the changes for their graduating class. After a pleasant virtual graduation ceremony, I began to realize that I had already been incorporating strategies to “play hard” and enjoy the final weeks of college within the current social distancing parameters present. Throughout the process of quarantining, I have sought to find unique activities to participate in from the comfort of my apartment. This process includes connecting with friends and utilizing the multitude of technological resources I have to create experiences that faintly resemble “normalcy,” in order to “play hard” during the quarantine.
Online Story Time
I have always had a love of reading and discussing books with my friends or family after I finish them. As well, reciting prose aloud is something that I have always done to help me understand the works better and to add emphasis to the dialogue. Dramatic readings of literature have been a key part of my ability to absorb character emotion and plot development, as hearing the words out-loud facilitates my partial, auditory learning style. One of my friends decided to create a daily “Story Time” segment on Facebook Live and YouTube in which he reads chapters from books to people watching from their homes. I mentioned that he should readDracula, my favorite novel by Bram Stoker, so one night he texted me and announced that the darkened room and candles meant that it was time for the first chapter ofDracula. Currently, he readsDraculathree days a week, another book two days a week, and fairytales along with his own work on the weekends. The live-streaming readings begin with shout-outs from the people viewing, liking, and commenting on the video, which creates a sense of personalization when he acknowledges who is tuning in. This activity allows me to hear literature, participate in an evening event, and feel connected to other people. Online “Story Time” provides a space for enjoyment while social distancing.
Another activity I have engaged in during quarantine involves TV/movie viewings and commentaries via FaceTime and/or Facebook video chat. One of my close friends from my English course this semester is also interested in discussing literature and film. We had an advanced creative writing class together in the fall and decided to take this literature course in the spring semester together, as well. She liked to hear my commentary aboutDracula, so we decided to watch the new Netflix adaptation ofDraculaover FaceTime and pause to discuss plot points and overlaps with the novel. Netflix Party also can make watching with a friend more synchronized. This was extremely interesting and engaging because we both felt more immersed in the experience through interacting and sharing thoughts. After we finished theDraculaseries, we decided to watch the movie,The Social Network, next and discussed it at length, as well. Watchings shows and movies with my friends, even via video chat, has really improved my experience while social distancing. This mode of interaction resembles movie nights that my friends and I would have prior to the quarantine.
While going out to the movies, restaurants, and other public venues are not possible right now, there are still other ways to maintain a semi-normal social schedule by implementing activities that utilize the technology already present in our lives. Sometimes, I will even study while video chatting, simply to mimic studying with my friends. “Playing hard” during quarantine is challenging, but there are definitely ways to mitigate the changes and make the process more bearable.
WRITTEN BY Hannah Lamberg University of Miami School of Law
Hannah Lamberg is a recent graduate from the University of Florida where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology on a Pre-law track. She was very involved on her campus as a U Matter We Care Ambassador and Public Relations Coordinator within the Dean of Students’ Office, as well as involved on the leadership boards of the English Society and Relay for Life at UF. She is now a student at the University of Miami School of Law. You can most likely find her talking to new people or writing poetry in her free time.