For some, quarantine has opened a space for shaved heads and self reflection, while for others, it tugs at the seams of carefully crafted patterns and schedules without so much as a second glance.
The new normal now revolves around Zoom calls and adjusting to life outside of campus. Where, then, does that leave room for relationships?
For Samantha Lau ’18 grad, quarantine has merely meant a change of plans for her dating life — which she now documents on Youtube. Lau currently has three videos chronicling different dates, with more on the way.
“I love going on dates,” she said. “And when quarantine started, I didn’t want that to stop.”
Her Youtube channel came about while she was looking for new ways to entertain herself during quarantine. Lau originally planned on covering her life as a Ph.D. student, but after receiving an abundance of positive feedback on her dating videos, decided to shift her focus.
“A lot of my friends are in relationships and so they’re living vicariously through me,” Lau said, adding that, at school, she and her friends would reconvene after dates to talk about how they went.
“Well why don’t I do one better and just film it? That way I don’t have to explain what happened,” she said.
To knock out the awkwardness or monotony that sometimes comes with first dates — especially those over Zoom — Lau tries to come up with more interactive activities, like doing a joint work out, exploring a virtual escape room or taking a quiz to find out each other’s love languages.
“I think that people are bored enough to want to just go for it … everyone is always shocked that I managed to find people that are willing to be on Youtube,” she said.
Plenty of news outlets have acknowledged the difficulties that couples face while in quarantine, but not as many have focused on the newly formed friendships between freshmen after only a semester on campus or the lasting bonds between seniors cut short.
Livia Caligor ’21, who returned from an abroad program in Paris to self-isolation where she was restricted to her bedroom, expressed how much of a shock the change was. However, the time alone allowed her to reflect on the friendships she values most.
“I was able to put into perspective who are my friends that are there for me,” Caligor said, “who I actually feel close to when we’re not forced together by context.”
Other students echoed these resounding feelings of gratitude toward strong friendships.
“As strange as it sounds, I think that this quarantine has strengthened a lot of my friendships,” Amy Eng ’21 said. “Maybe it’s the terrifying news that I wake up to everyday, or the frustrating reality that I can’t see anyone as easily as I once could — I have definitely come to appreciate these people in my life a whole lot more.”