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two friends silhouette camp chairs at sunset

So Over Zoom: Staying Social in New Ways

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Nightfall seems to be creeping up sooner and sooner every day. And with winter headed our way — and the coronavirus pandemic in its height — staying upbeat, staying social and staying safe are increasingly harder to do.

Niche Ambassador Jenna Spray (@jennaspray) is taking advantage of the last few weeks of fall to cram in plenty of last-minute outdoor activities before freezing temps rush in and corner most of us in our apartments and dorms.

But when the time comes when outdoor get-togethers aren’t so comfy, Jenna has a few other ideas for keeping your social life alive.

Her advice for staying social this season amid a pandemic:

  • Finish up fall with your fave outdoor activities. Sunny but cool fall days are still nice enough for a socially-distant picnic. And autumn nights are still comfy enough for a ring of thoughtfully placed camp chairs around a roaring campfire. Hurry up before the last leaf drops.
  • Watch the same TV show together (but apart, and even at different times). Jenna and her friends dish on this season of  “The Bachelorette.” Which, in just a few wild episodes, has had no shortage of shriek-worthy moments. “It still gives us new things to talk about, which can be really valuable in a time [that] it feels like nothing is changing and ever day is the same,” says Jenna.
  • Connect with loved ones. It’s a give-in, really, but it can’t be said enough. Everyone is missing everyone right now. Text, call, whatever. Even write an actual letter or postcard. You’ve got time to kill, right?
  • Take the pressure out of Zoom calls. If you must use Zoom, try spontaneously rounding up some study buddies that can just “be there” while you study. There’s no pressure to contribute, but it’s nice knowing your friends are “in the room” with you for a quick question or an off-topic rant.

Make an effort to stave off the winter blues, and it could help keep you positive in a time where negativity seems to be the mood du jour.

But be sure that you’re not overcommitting.

Zoom exhaustion is real, especially among college students. Don’t burn out trying to be as social as possible. Take care of yourself first before trying to connect with others.

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