See what Shubh, Sruja, Aparajith, and Sara from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) have to say about staying in touch with friends!
Console games that require online, multi-player gaming like FIFA or COD
Discord is a good way to hang out with people
Video chat with a friend while y’all cook the same meal! Pretty simple as well as productive. For a lot of people including me, this is also a good way to pick up a new and useful skill.
You’ve probably heard of Tiktok but it’s a nice way to learn some fun dances and to show off your dancing skills. You can mirror your friends’ dances or even do a collaborative dance together on a 2 split-screen! (Tiktok also has some super funny content)
Go on virtual tours of museums together with your friends, if you like exploring the antics. Here’s a list of 75 museums around the world that are currently offering virtual tours. It’s basically like touring the world from the comfort of your couch!
Join on-campus orgs (like BMES!) which have a lot of fun socials. If you’re an incoming freshman this semester, this is probably one of the best ways for you to get to know people this semester!
Set up a weekly (or more frequently) call with your friends at the same time to catch up. It always helps to have a specific time in your schedule allotted to a specific activity. This can also help to accommodate any of your friends who might be in a different time zone/ country.
Make a study group for your classes - you might meet new people that way!
Casual happy hour + paint
Something I've seen on the internet and always wanted to try is hosting a PowerPoint presentation night on Zoom where you and each of your friends prepare/present a short slideshow on a random topic that you feel passionate about. For example, I might make a presentation called “Why You Cannot Trust Birds” or “Exploring the Mind of Michael Scott”.
Another idea is if you can’t do a Netflix watch party, you could try and watch a show at the same time as your friends and then have a zoom meeting after each episode to discuss. Kind of like a book club! (ps: highly recommend the show “Fleabag” on prime video, lots of content for discussion)
One way that I have used to meet new people and keep in touch with friends is through online games like Among Us, Jackbox, Skribbl.io, and multiplayer servers. We usually do this by setting up random times to play in GroupMe for different classes. It can be awkward at first but when games get competitive it's easier for people to have fun and loosen up. (Both Among Us and Skribbl.io are free btw).
Another fun game that I have played with people is called Wikipedia races. Basically you stay on a phone call with someone and try to get from one Wikipedia page to another through only the blue links on the page. For example: try to get from “Apple” to “Lebron James” as fast as possible. The game is really fun because people think of creative ways to travel throughout the Wikipedia universe to get to the goal, and some words are a lot trickier than others to find. Here is a link that has the full set of rules and some word ideas for Wikipedia pages to try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikirace. (There are also some websites to play with parties or strangers)
Play trivia games with friends, this can be done on apps like Trivia Crack or doing a Netflix Party with Jeopardy. (Bonus points if you beat the contestants)
Have a Bob Ross virtual paint night! Watch Bob Ross videos and follow his teaching to make a cool painting while on zoom with friends.
Tour the national parks through Google Maps. You can make a scavenger hunt with your friends to look for certain landmarks and whoever finds all of them first wins!
Play spike ball within friends. Super easy and you can wear masks while staying >6 feet apart. You could also play sand volleyball. Just make sure to sanitize the game materials well!
Go fishing in a small pond. You can socially distance and maybe even catch a fish! Make sure to check if you can in that area, but there are definitely several places where you can. Amazon is a great place to look for less expensive rods, bait, and hooks you can use.
Do a Zumba class via zoom. You can have one person stream the video while sharing their screen and do it virtually
Virtual window shop contest where you “window” shop on different websites online for the other friends playing. Whoever comes up with the best outfits for the other person wins.
Trunk & Eat with friends! Pick up your favorite foods and hang out with friends by socially distancing yourselves in your cars! Open up the trunk and sit in the back while eating your food. It’s a fun twist on staying six feet apart.
Set up a picnic blanket for yourself with friends and make dream catchers! You can get kits on Amazon for cheap or go to Hobby Lobby to get materials in bulk. It can be a little challenge to make them look good but once you get the hang of it, it can be really fun
I know these times are super frustrating and it can be hard figuring out ways to connect with others. However, on the bright side, you can really channel your childhood creativity and find cool, innovative ways to stay in touch!!
You can find BMES on social media here!
Facebook group: UT BMES
The Biomedical Engineering Society, or BMES, is both a professional and social organization for students interested in biomedical engineering. The organization strives to promote camaraderie and coherence between members of the biomedical engineering community, to increase awareness of the growing field of BME, and to open doors of opportunity to our members.
This column was written by (from left to right):
Shubh Desai, Junior BME, BMES Pre Med Coordinator
Sruja Arya, Sophomore BME, BMES VP Operations
Aparajith Kannapiran, Sophomore BME, BMES VP Finance
Sara Faulkner, Freshman BME, BMES Freshman Liaison