It can be easy to feel isolated at university at the best of times – but this year’s students will have an entirely different social experience to those that came before them, with many universities announcing that courses will be moving online for the first semester in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But just because you have to be socially-distanced at university doesn’t mean you can’t do some distanced-socialising!
From joining social media groups to getting involved in group workouts, here are some easy ways to stay connected at uni while socially-distanced.
1. Join social media groups
First things first - connect with people from your course or future accommodation by scouring the social media sites for groups and forums relating to your university.
2. Get involved in video calls
Set up regular video calls with your friends and course mates to stay connected – there are many free conference call services available that make it easy to connect from afar.
If you don’t know each other very well, playing games can be a quick way to break the ice – why not try out our Zoom Bingo: Lockdown Edition?
3. Start an online book club
Joining a club is the perfect way to make university friends and feel part of a community, so a book club can be a low-intensity way to get to know people while enjoying a good read at the same time.
Remember: Before setting up your book club, decide whether your club is primarily for reading or socialising - and choose your book accordingly!
4. Get involved in an online pub quiz
In the absence of the pub during the coronavirus lockdown, people have flocked online to get their pub quiz fix – which means there are now plenty of quiz questions and videos available if you want to set up your own!
After all, how can you really get to know people without a bit of healthy competition? Making sure everyone has a drink in hand is also a good way to help break the ice!
5. Enjoy a virtual-dinner with your housemates
If your plans to move into a student house in September have been scuppered by the ongoing pandemic, there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy a virtual dinner with your meant-to-be housemates.
Arrange a day, choose a meal - ideally one that you all know how to cook - and set up a video chat to enjoy a nice, relaxing meal together as a “household”.
6. Find an online workout
If you’re missing the social side of the gym, it may be worth investigating online group workouts that will allow you to get in some valuable exercise while meeting people with similar interests.
Even if high-intensity workouts aren’t for you, why not try something like meditation or yoga? It could even help you find your inner calm during those first few months at uni when things can feel a little overwhelming.
7. Get involved in online study groups
While uni is about socialising, it’s also about studying – so why not do both?
Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to study alone. Setting up an online study group early in the semester could be a quick way to make friends with like-minded people from your course.
8. Take time for yourself
Just because you can be sociable, doesn’t mean you have to be.
We all need some alone time now and then, and the pressure to socialise can put a surprising amount of strain on our mental health. That’s why it’s important to practise self-care, both during lockdown and when you eventually move to university – even if that means taking time out from your friends when you need it.
Making sure you’re covered at university
If you’re starting university for the first time, have you checked your essential gadgets and belongings will still be protected? Check whether your contents are already covered by Endsleigh in your university accommodation here.
Need to top up your cover? Find out more about student insurance.