After a long week of online school, freshman Natalie Smith texts her friends, asking if they want to hop on Discord and watch an anime together.
Smith has found ways to stay connected despite the circumstances of the coronavirus.
“I use many platforms to stay connected with my friends, such as Zoom, where my friends and I watch anime together,” Smith said.
Another platform Smith uses is Discord. According to Smith, the app has many accessible features, making it easy to use with all of her friends.
“By far, my favorite way to talk to my friends is on Discord. The platform has various features you can use, such as message, voice call, video call, screen share…” Smith said. “I love it because it’s so much more interesting and engaging than my other messaging apps.”
Besides video calling platforms like Zoom and Discord, Smith also uses video games as a way to communicate. She uses Roblox, a gaming app where people can play with friends and talk in chat boxes.
Before the pandemic, junior Allison Souza enjoyed spending time with her friends through activities such as going to the movies, thrifting and having sleepovers. Like Smith, she has resorted to communication apps to stay connected.
Souza uses FaceTime, Netflix Party, as well as regular group chats. She prefers FaceTime because she likes to see her friends’ faces on video instead of just texting.
“I prefer FaceTime just because it’s overall easier than texting, and it’s more fun,” Souza said. “Especially since I don’t get to see my friends as much as I used to, it’s nice to see their face rather than just typing on a screen.”
Additionally, Souza enjoys having socially distanced hangouts in order to see her friends in person.
“Even though we really miss each other, my friends and I find ways to stay in touch and hang out through social distance,” Souza said. “We have picnics socially distanced, but it’s still not the same as it used to be.”
According to freshman Gabi Soterwood, before the pandemic, she was constantly at her best friend’s house. For Soterwood, staying in contact with her friends has helped her mental health, and she realized how much she needed them.
“They have made me realize how much I rely on them to keep me from going insane,” Soterwood said. “School was the place where I could take a break from my family and now I don’t have that, so it gets overwhelming, and I don’t have a place to take a break.”
Like Soterwood, Smith agrees that staying connected with friends helped improve her mental health.
“Staying connected with my friends has helped me a lot with my mental health,” Smith said. “Hanging out with them makes me happy, and talking to them makes me forget about my problems.”