Arts & Life, Features

CSULB students learn how to maintain a social life during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is still challenging Long Beach State students to get creative with their social lives.

A girl sits by the beach with birthday balloons
CSULB graduate Marilyn Chouy has a picnic on her 23rd birthday this year. Photo Courtesy of Marilyn Chouy.

Marilyn Chouy, a spring 2020 graduate, has felt the weight of carrying two social lives, one during college and outside of college, all amid a pandemic. 

Still, she managed to make the best of her time in both situations. 

Over my stay at CSULB, I gained a few quality friendships that would last me more than a lifetime,” said Chouy. “Towards the end of undergrad I stayed in touch with my friends and one of the ways we did was visiting each other’s island in Animal Crossing.”

Chouy said that her new post-grad hobbies, like creating TikTok clips, chatting on the instant messaging app Discord and streaming live video gameplays on Twitch led her to the new friendships. Her gaming on Twitch went as far as earning her the affiliate title, which allows her to earn money based on subscriptions.

The pandemic has proved to be a catalyst in students’ lives, causing a change in their social behaviors and creating a greater yearning within them to reach out.

 

A selfie of student Crhisitin Chavarria
Crhisitin Chavarria, a first-year pre-biology major, fights boredom with selfies at home. Photo Courtesy of Crhistin Chavarrias.

Since the initial stages of the pandemic, first-year pre-biology student Crhistin Chavarrias realized how much she loathes texting, favoring face-to-face contact more and more everyday. She believes that this experience helped her become more extroverted. 

Chavarrias even finds herself forming new friendships since going back to work.  

“We usually figure out what days we don’t work and we have a picnic at the beach,” Chavarrias said. “If that’s not possible, we just go over to each other’s home and order food.”

She also makes use of the streak feature on Snapchat. The feature encourages users to consecutively snap photos to another user by keeping a visible record of their daily streak. Once a day is missed, the score returns to zero. 

A wealth of information has been distributed among the public as a guide for socializing since March, like staying home if you’re feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of coronavirus, wearing a mask in public and staying at least six-feet apart from one another. 

Second-year healthcare administration major Joaquin Alberto is one of those students that uses this

A guy stands in front of the Ferris wheel at Disney's California Adventures
Joaquin Alberto, 23, second-year healthcare administration, visits Disneyland in a pre-covid world, completely unaware of what’s to come. Photo Courtesy of Joaquin Alberto.

information to create leeway in his socializing. 

“We’ve had birthdays, road trips, bike rides, you name it,” Alberto said. “We managed to stay COVID free by practicing good hygiene, maintaining distance and wearing masks, and even agreeing to take COVID tests prior to trips to ensure everyone’s safe and healthy.” 

Alberto also maintains his friendships mainly through technology, whether it’s phone calls, texting or on social media apps. 

He thinks of himself as an introvert and an extrovert, depending on what the situation demands. In spite of this, like many students, the lack of face-to-face instruction and house parties make it difficult for Alberto to strike up new friendships, so he sticks with the old ones. 

“Getting together and hanging out has always been part of maintaining any friendship,” Alberto said. “But with the pandemic, keeping in touch is more important than ever.”

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