College is the time to make new friends, explore new places, and be social. But with a global pandemic comes social distancing. Social distancing is creating a physical distance between persons to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. While this might sound upsetting for a college student, there are actually many ways to be social without coming in close contact with others.
Technology can be a great asset to stay social and safe. There’s games like Jackbox Games where you don’t even have to be in the same room as others. Jackbox Games are party game packs, as long as one person has it, all others can play as well, using their phone as the controller. There’s an array of different games from Quiplash, where players fill in funny prompts, to Trivia Murder Party, which pins players against each other in trivia to escape a murderer.
Jackbox Games packs can be bought and installed on a laptop through the gaming platform, Steam. From there, players can video chat through Zoom on their laptops and share the screen of the game.
If you’re not looking to spend money, there are many other options for laptops. Want to have a movie night? There’s Netflix Party, which is a Google Chrome extension. With Netflix Party friends can sync up anything on Netflix and watch it together. The service even provides a chat so friends can discuss the movie or show.
Scener is another virtual watching option. Scener is another Google Chrome extension that lets friends video chat while streaming movies or shows from major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. This extension allows for more social interaction through the video chat feature.
Sometimes, technology isn’t enough for healthy, mental stability. There are ways to social distance while still hanging out in person. One of the best ways to do this is just by being outside. Being outside allows for easier social distancing since you can spread out. There are plenty of places around Pittsburgh that you can stay six feet apart.
The Point is a great spot for picnics and study sessions. There’s plenty of room to distance but it’s a relaxing spot where you can just sit and talk for hours. The fountain is cooling in the heat and places you in the middle of the rivers and city. There’s also different ways to walk throughout The Point, as well as the city.
Pittsburgh is a walk-able city, which is great for when you want to adventure with friends. The Mister Rogers statue is a short walk across to the North Shore. It provides a relaxing spot to unwind, look at the water, and listen to Mister Rogers’ voice. Also on the North Shore are the Water Stairs near PNC Park. This is another relaxing spot to listen to the running water over the steps and even walk through them.
If you’re looking for something to actually do while being social, Pittsburgh is a great place to explore art of all sorts. There are inside art installations like at Wood Street Galleries, which features different artists with changing exhibits. Point Park students all get into a number of art museums for free, like the Andy Warhol museum. A lot of these museums are now open and taking special precautions to keep customers safe. Though, if you want to stay safe and socially distanced, there are a number of art installations outside.
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has a bunch of installations throughout downtown. Agnes R. Katz Plaza is also known as Eyeball Park. It features eyeball shaped seating and a huge fountain right in the middle of Pittsburgh’s theaters.
Close to Agnes R. Katz Plaza is the Trust Oasis. It’s a spot that features different pop-up art experiences. Recently featured was the Prismatica display. Prismatica was filled with big, colorful, spinning prisms that rang out as you spun them. There’s new installations every few months and it’s a great spot for pictures.
There’s plenty of other small art installations throughout the city. They’re like secret Easter eggs that are discovered by walking and exploring downtown. As well as official installations, Pittsburgh is also filled with graffiti and artists of all kinds.
It may be upsetting to have to stay distant from others while at college, but there are ways to be social and remain distant from one another. The use of technology and being outside are two great starts to making campus a safer place for everyone. Instead of attending a house party, take a walk around the beautiful city or have a virtual movie night. Your mental health and your physical health will thank you.