Nothing about the last year has been “normal,” but even though I missed out on the last part of my freshman year and the start of my sophomore year was all online, I’ve still made lasting memories with friends (in virtual spaces, of course).
We might not be able to do usual activities like watching and performing in GUTS shows, going downtown for a movie or to browse through the shops or going to basketball games, but we’ve adapted and found new ways to connect.
Right before the pandemic hit, my friends and I had just started playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), my first time playing as well. We would go to an open classroom in College Hall on the weekends and stay there late into the night playing the game, then go to late night COG for some snacks.
Of course, everything changed when we all got sent home after the pandemic hit, ending my freshman year at GU early. Even though my friends and I weren’t in the same physical space anymore, we still kept the game going, playing on the weekends over Zoom. Now almost a year later, we’re still playing the same game of DnD, and I always look forward to the rare nights when our schedules line up and we can get together on Zoom and get into character.
Another tradition that began last year and has evolved for today’s times is watching “The Legend of Korra” with my friend group. I had never seen “Avatar: The Last Airbender” or its sequel, “The Legend of Korra,” but one of my close friends is a huge fan of both shows and insisted we all watch them both, so we started watching the shows last year when we could still gather in person.
This semester on Wednesday nights, a small group of my friends and I use the browser extension “Netflix Party” to watch a few episodes of “The Legend of Korra” each week (what we call “Korra night”). “Netflix Party” allows us to watch episodes at the same time, and it also has a chat feature so we can discuss our thoughts and share our reactions. Having something like Korra night on Wednesdays is a welcome break in the middle of the week where I get to spend time watching a good show in good company.
Online games are another fun way I’ve been spending quality time with friends, especially if the games are competitive and everyone gets invested in who’s winning. “Among Us” is always a popular choice — although be prepared to test your friendships once people start accusing each other of being the imposter. “Jackbox” games are also competitive, but in a more lighthearted way, and they come in a pack of multiple games so there’s lots of options to fit any type of game the group wants to play.
A personal favorite online game of mine that always sends my friends and I into fits of laughter is called “Broken Picturephone.” Players alternate between writing sentences and drawing pictures based off of another player’s previous sentence or picture, until everyone has written or drawn something in each person’s “book.” By the end of the game, the stories and drawings that come out of it are both absurd and hilarious, and you can even save the PDF file of the book to look back on it later.
While I miss seeing friends in person like everyone else, the memories I’ve made over the past year and the connections with friends that have deepened even though we’ve been hanging out virtually for a while now are things that I will look back on as what got me through quarantine.