“Call Me” by Blondie. “867-5309 (Jennie)” by Tommy Tutone. “Whenever You Call Me, I’ll Be There” by The Spinners. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Paul McCartney. These songs about keeping in touch had very different context in the days in which they were popular. But keeping in touch with friends and family who don’t live with us in our current reality, the new normal, is a very different thing. Fortunately, humans have an incredible capacity to problem-solve to get what they need, what they want. And our need to be social is one of these essentials. Oh, that and adapting. We are pretty good at that, especially young people.
Just to set the stage for what was the old normal, here is 7:03 am outside my first-floor classroom. There is a tiled window ledge across from my door (one of the few things remaining from when I went to school here 44 years ago and had Spanish 1 in room 118, the room in which I now teach English). Seven 8th graders are gathered, three sitting on the ledge, four standing, backpack-laden but engaged in a level of conversation and exhibiting a level of energy that so far exceeds most people’s 7 am capacity that it’s almost dizzying, but it always made me shake my head a bit and smile. Knowing how important this socializing is to them, I asked my 8th graders to share a little about how they keep in touch from a distance. Here are some of their responses.
During this hard time, it is difficult to stay connected to our friends and stay in touch, but there are still ways to do so. For example, I have been Face Timing my friends every single day for at least two hours. We do homework together and we talk a lot with each other. I have also been going on a lot of bike rides and picnics. Sometimes we ride like twenty miles around the neighborhood. Other times we ride our bikes to the park and set up little picnics. My sister Olivia’s birthday was a couple of months ago and we drove by her best friend’s house and did a birthday drive by. As you can see, even though we are in quarantine, there are still plenty of ways to keep in touch with your friends.
Since the coronavirus life has definitely changed these past two months. Now the coronavirus hasn't just had us have this “Stay Home” time. It has changed the way we communicate with everyone. We used to go to school every weekday and see our teachers and friends, in real life actually, not how we see them now. We now communicate very differently; we only get to see our teachers through our school iPads using an app called Webex for classes and we can email them if we have questions or anything. But there are many other ways we can keep in touch with our friends during this “Stay Home” time. The ways are texting, Face-timing, Snap-chatting, Instagram d-ming, Zoom, etc. But the way I communicate with my friends during this time is by Snap-chatting them. You can do many things like send pictures of yourself to each other, text them, and you can call or do an actual FaceTime through Snapchat. I also use the other Face-timing way, which is Zoom. I communicate with both my friends from school and my family through Zoom. Communicating through these ways I don't really like it since I want to see my friends face to face. Hopefully soon our world will go back to normal.
Quarantine was very challenging at first because not going to school to see my friends was kind of hard. But as quarantine continued, I did get a little used to it. Although I had to stay inside, I did talk to my friends. Through Snapchat and the Messages app, I have stayed connected with them. Some friends got new pets while others just stayed inside and did nothing. I also FaceTimed friends and family every once in a while, just to see what they’re up to. On Instagram and Snapchat many friends have posted workouts, jokes, recipes and more. In fact, I started working out a few times a day to stay in shape and not fall behind on my basketball skills. One thing I learned from some friends during quarantine was how to cook. I’ve been bored, so cooking breakfast, dinner, and dessert has given me something to do. But hopefully, this pandemic will soon be over so I can finally leave my house to connect with my friends, and do my everyday things.
On Friday, March 13th, when my friends and I found out school was closed, we were devastated. Since this six-feet rule was made, we couldn't even hang out. Quarantine has affected all my friends and me. We do many things to keep in touch. We Facetime almost every day to catch up, spill drama, and just talk about our lives stuck at home. We do loud, obnoxious, and funny singalongs to 2020's Top Hits. We play Jeopardy about ourselves and see who knows who better. If we can't Facetime, we just do what normal teenagers do, text! We send each other Game Pigeons or send Tik Toks. We sometimes Houseparty since they have fun games like Quick Draw, Charades, or Trivia. Every night, my friend and I stay awake and Zoom or Netflix Party a movie. A few weeks back, a friend dropped some cupcakes at my house. Recently, our parent have allowed us to leave the house and start biking with a few friends. I have been doing that with a few friends every day because it gives you and your friends a moment to see each other in person instead of virtually. Many of my friend's birthdays are during this unexpected time. We host surprise birthday parades for them and we get to give them presents, cards, and posters. Just today, we had a surprise parade for one of my friends as she was moving away. We met up in the parking lot near her house and got out of our cars and see each other and make Tik Toks. Then, we drove past her house. Her reaction was priceless!
Living in an era full of technology that only keeps advancing, I’ve found many different efficient ways that I can stay in touch with my friends. In other words, there are 5 main ways. One is, of course, text messaging! Being a really simple way of communication, we just have a simple ole conversation as we would any other regular day. Next, is Facetime! I’ve found this to be my most commonly-used way. It’s as if we were in the same room, but totally not. Speaking of rooms, the next communication method is Houseparty. It’s very similar, but we can play games as if we were at lunch. Continuing on the topic of parties, Netflix Party is another way to interact and chill with friends. Nothing like watching a show with your friend as if it were happening right then and there! You can also comment and chat while you’re watching whatever it is you’re watching. Simply splendid! Finally, there’s Zoom. The best feature of Zoom is the screen share. Because we can screen share, we can watch things other than Netflix such as YouTube. Although this quarantine and social distancing aren’t so nice, we stay in touch and connected!
My friends and I have been keeping in touch by making sure to play online games at least once a week. While we play, we also talk to each other through our gaming headsets so we can communicate our next moves while also being able to catch up with each other on our lives. We play a varied list of games, but most often we are playing, NBA 2k20, Fortnite, Madden 20, and a couple more. When we play NBA and Madden, we have the ability to pick real life NBA and NFL teams to compete with each other. In Fortnite we can team up in a squad of up to four people, and we’re dropped onto a map with other squads. We have fun trying to eliminate other squads and trying to be the last ones standing, while still being able to relax enough to joke around and talk like we always do. Even though it’s not the same as hanging out in person, we are lucky enough to have all of this technology that gives us the ability to communicate online, especially in times such as these.
One of the challenges for many people during social distancing is being away from friends. When in school we don’t have to worry about this problem because most of us see and engage with our friends during the hours of school. Interacting with others besides family is necessary for many people. However, since I am more introverted, I don’t find it as necessary and don’t mind social distancing, but have still been in touch with some friends. For example, some friends and I often keep in touch by text messaging each other. Sometimes our texts are more goofy and fun while other times were are taking about our time in quarantine. Additionally, for Science research we have to complete and present our project online. To complete things for the project my group often has Webex meetings. In these meetings we work on our project but also talk about other topics and have some fun. Moreover, having the project to complete has been an advantage for me with keeping in touch because it provides a motive to have a meeting, which in return allows me to communicate with friends.
Communicating with those who we enjoy hanging out with could be tough during these unprecedented times. This could go for anyone, but particularly one group of people. Friends. How can you communicate with your friends during quarantine? As for my friends and me, we usually use the iPhone app called Messages, and communicate that way. When we want to hang out together over the weekends, or simply during the week when we don’t have classes at the moment, we use the FaceTime feature on the top of our group chat. This helps us see one another visually and could help brighten the mood when times are tough. However, if you want to communicate with those friends who don’t attend the same school as you do, FaceTiming could be a very hard way of talking to each other. That’s why Messages is by far the most convenient way of communicating with my friends during quarantine. All in all, although seeing friends during these unprecedented times could be tough, it’s always best to communicate in some sort of way, no matter the circumstance. Messaging and FaceTiming my friends are the most convenient method for my friends and me to communicate.
During this time, it has been much harder to spend time with friends. Although trying to connect over the phone is not the same, it is an easy way to talk about how we’re handling the pandemic. We love to talk and even sometimes play games! My friends and I have found ways to make each other laugh and smile during this hard time by sending each other funny images and quotes from TV shows. It may sound unusual, but sometimes we even act like we are together by all doing the same thing like putting on face masks and making funny videos as if we were playing volleyball together. To go more in depth into games, we play games like Psych which is a game that asks questions about different people playing. We also play guess what we are holding up to the camera. For example, I might be holding up a pencil and they have to guess what it is. I also Face Time all the teams I am on and do workouts with them. All in all, talking to my friends over the phone is something that I look forward to every day.
As we know, we are all stuck in quarantine, but that doesn’t stop me from communicating with my friends. One way we talk is through Face Time. My friends and I normally talk about what’s new in our lives, and the best thing is we end up having all nighters on the weekend. Also, my soccer coach hosts a Zoom three times a week for my team. That’s another way we talk to each other about the crazy things going on and how we are holding up. In addition, my friends and I also communicate as we play online games together. My friend Tarik and I are playing games like FIFA and Madden together when we are done with our work. Lastly, I like to talk to different family members during this tough time to see how they are doing and to wish them good health. As you can see, even though I can get bored during quarantine, at least I can have friends and family to communicate with through this tough time.