Roof of College Hall featuring the Penn flag

Penn Admissions Blog

Staying Connected
Ria | May 8, 2020

One of the hardest parts about the transition to online learning was not being able to see my friends. The people around me are absolutely wonderful, and I normally look forward to seeing them every day. Most activities become social activities—doing groceries at Trader Joe’s? Walking over with a friend in nice weather is such a treat. Folding laundry? The perfect time to catch up with a roommate. Studying for an exam? A great opportunity for group studying. To me, college is inseparable from the people I love dearly.

However, distance does not break up these connections! Although it is not quite the same to see someone virtually it is the best substitute we have. Below, I will list some of the measures I have put in place to make sure I still feel socially connected even when I have moved back home to a separate country from where most of my friends are.

  1. Calls nonstop! Okay, well, not nonstop. I do my best to call at least one friend every night, and it really does make me feel a lot better amidst everything happening in the world. Talking to people in a similar situation as me makes me feel more supported.
  2. Group workouts—one of my new favorite ways to socialize virtually. A friend and I play the same YouTube workout video at the same time and do it together. The fun of seeing each other panting, attempting a crazy complicated move, or wishing that a particular section would stop is highly entertaining. For extra fun, try a Zumba workout!
  3. Big drop-in hangout calls. At the same time every week, Wharton Council has an open zoom call for people to drop in and talk to each other. We also try to feature a different alum to join in the call and hang out with us, which keeps things interesting and fun!
  4. Netflix parties. There is a Google Chrome extension called “Netflix Party”, and if you and a friend both have Netflix accounts and can download the extension, you can sync up your videos. It is a lot of fun to do in a group, especially if you can video call at the same time.
  5. Cooking together! Figure out a fun, easy recipe, and make and eat it at the same time.
  6. Online shopping together—scroll the same website and add items to your cart, comparing them with a friend as if you were shopping together. Whether you make any purchases is up to you!

I know that none of these activities are a real substitute for spending quality time together in person, but it does make self-isolation and lockdown easier to cope with. On the bright side, the fact that me and the people I am close to stay so connected even when so far apart makes me cherish my friendships even more. I am really aware that I have found some incredible people while at Penn, and am very thankful for them.

About the author

Hi everyone! My name is Ria, and I’m a student in Wharton who is still exploring what all the different concentrations have to offer. I grew up all over but lived in Dubai, U.A.E. before moving to Philadelphia, a city that I absolutely love to explore on the weekends. On-campus, I am involved in Wharton Council, Passion Projects, and work-study at the Development & Alumni Relations department. In my free time, you can catch me reading, doing yoga, and going on walks by the Schuylkill River.

View all posts by Ria
Meet The Penn Admissions Bloggers