As we head into the tenth month of social distancing and quarantining due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been asking members of the Lafayette community how they have kept connected to their friends and loved ones during this unusual period. Answers fall into four categories: connection via new technology, connection via “old school” technology, getting outside, and remaining emotionally connected.

The cover of the 7 Wonders board game, with a statue of a man and a pyramid and ancient cityConnection via new technology

A number of folks told me that they enjoy Zoom game nights. Missy Lemons from the Registrar’s Office and Donna Heagele from the Advising Office both mentioned liking games such as Trivial Pursuit and Bingo over Zoom. Prof. Chris Ruebeck from the Economics Department suggests Board Game Arena as his family’s online board gaming “platform of choice.”

Others set up weekly coffee dates or movie-watching parties via Zoom. Dan Goodman ’20 says, “Most of the streaming services have a watch party feature that allows people to join and watch the same movie all synced up.”

Connection via “old school” technology

Others like getting back to basics, like writing cards and letters to those far away. Sarah Yencha from the Advising Office works with her young children to write and receive cards and letters from their aunts and grandmother.

Phone calls, letters, postcards, and other forms of communication all remind the recipients how much you care about them. If you don’t like your handwriting, there are even services like Postable that can send letters for you!

A hiking trail in Gollub Park, EastonGetting outside

Friends and loved ones who live in the same area but are not in the same household recommend getting outside. Spending time walking or hiking, gathering around a fire pit (socially distanced, of course), or even celebrating special meals outdoors allows for safer social connections.

Once you are back on campus, consider bundling up and walking on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. You also can hang out on the Quad by putting Lafayette’s signature Adirondack chairs in a socially distanced circle.

Jacobsburg State Park, Gollub Park, and the Easton Farmer’s Market also provide outdoor fun in the area.

Remaining emotionally connected

As the College chaplain, I would be remiss to not mention that prayers, good thoughts, meditation, journaling, and visualizations are all ways to maintain emotional and spiritual connections with yourself and with others. Make it a goal to set aside even 10 minutes each day to center yourself and think about your emotional needs.

If you are looking for prompts to help you remain emotionally connected, I suggest researching lists like this one. Taking time to check in with yourself can help to maintain perspective and give yourself space to think through your goals and intentions around your connections to others.

The good news about our relationships with one another is that they can transcend time and distance. You know that feeling when you have not talked with someone in a long time, but when you connect again, it’s as if no time has passed? We have that feeling to look forward to as soon as we are able to gather again.

On-campus resources

Please remember that the Counseling Center staff, the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life staff, residence advisers, Pardners, academic advisers, and many other offices and resources are available to help you brainstorm ways to stay connected. Do not hesitate to reach out to someone on-campus; that person will be able to help you or to connect you with someone who can.

What will you do to remain connected to those you care about as we head into 2021?

Alex Hendrickson is the College chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life. You can email her or call 610-330-5959.