Letter to the Editor: Getting through these strange times alone

Submitted by Brenda Higgins, associate vice president for student health and wellness

Social distancing really isn’t the correct terminology for what we should be doing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it is a pretty depressing expression and it’s fairly inaccurate. The more precise term is physical distancing. Yes, we need to stay in our home with only those who live with us except for going out for essential activities like grocery shopping. But socially, we need to stay connected to one another and the world around us. Fortunately, there’s a multitude of ways to do that.

It’s important that we connect personally with those outside our home that we care about, those we miss and those who can bring some entertainment or joy in our lives. For those we’re missing, reach out via texting, social media or phone. Or, take a break from Zoom coursework and instead use it to connect with a group of friends. Or, really surprise a friend with a homemade card! For you gamers, it’s easy to find a number of free online gaming options.

Free entertainment abounds. A number of museums from around the world have free online tour options, performers of all varieties are putting on free concerts from their homes and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals are streaming free on YouTube for theatre fans. Many streaming services, like HBO GO and HBO NOW, Sundance Now and CBS All Access are offering content for free right now. There are also free streaming sites like Tubi that offer free content all the time. Watch with a friend by Zoom or FaceTime. Use Netflix’s new feature, Netflix Party, to watch and talk about movies with your friends and family remotely. It’s still possible to be a critic! Sports fans can search for the best free sports streaming sites.

Don’t forget that it’s also a good time to reconnect with those with whom we live. It might be time to go old school with your family, significant other or roommates by working on a 1,000 piece puzzle, playing board games or watching a movie. Pull out the old photo albums (or digitized ones), or keep a journal. You are living history! One day there will be demand for firsthand testimonies about this time in history. Maybe your story will be one that young people study in school. This pandemic is an event that will be remembered for a lifetime. Let’s make some of those memories positive ones.