High school, especially Marlborough, provides students with more than just an education, but also opportunities for social interaction and building lifelong friendships. I believe that it is important for classmates and friends to find ways to stay connected during our period of distance learning. Online learning doesn’t include Healthy Start, break, Community Time or lunch, all of which are times when Marlborough girls could interact and form relationships outside of class. Additionally, online learning hinders the amount of social interaction within classes because there are fewer discussions, debates or group projects. Although we can no longer spend time with each other at school, and also need to maintain social distancing outside of school, there are plenty of ways that you and your friends can stay connected during the quarantine.
My favorite way to stay in touch with my friends is through FaceTime or Zoom. I prefer video chatting; it feels the most personal because you can see and talk to your friends in real-time. One suggestion is to set up Zoom calls or FaceTimes with your friends during lunch and eat together as if you were at school. I have been video calling my friends as often as possible to talk about our day and usually just complain about quarantine. It may not be the same as in-person interaction, but these calls are as close as it gets until the quarantine is over.
Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Tik Tok are great for staying in touch with your friends and the wider Marlborough community as well. Although it is less personal than a video call, social media allows you to stay connected through other ways. I use Snapchat and Instagram to casually text and exchange photos with my friends. I have also discovered Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension to Netflix which allows you to watch movies and shows with your friends with a chat room attached. I have yet to try this, but I think a virtual movie night with friends could be really fun.
Another option is to create a collective journal between you and your friends. This could be any shared documentation of your experiences used as a means to stay connected. Some of my friends and I have created a Google slideshow that we all contribute to by sharing recommendations for music, movies, recipes and home activities. This has allowed us to stay connected and give each other ideas on how to make the best of quarantine.
Although technology plays a big role in our connection during this period, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with your friends that don’t have to be technologically driven. For example, you can consider becoming pen pals with your friends and exchanging letters. Writing letters is a good way to communicate with your friends if you or your parents are restricting technology usage, or if you just want to try something a little more unconventional. This could be a good opportunity to unplug, practice your handwriting and learn how to send real mail.
These various methods can help you and your friends stay connected until we are reunited, whenever that may be.