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IU students keep college friendships alive on Zoom, FaceTime



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Most students can no longer see their college friends in person due to online classes and stay-at-home orders, and many have turned to virtual hangouts. From movie nights to making new friends, students are quickly adapting their everyday lives to a virtual world.

Senior Alexis Vonye Taylor and her friends would participate in Wing Wednesday at Brothers Bar and Grill. Now, they do Wing Wednesday over FaceTime.

“The last time I went out was Wing Wednesday, and I wanted to carry on the tradition,” Vonye Taylor said.

Three to five of her friends get on a call around 8 or 9 p.m. Sometimes, their friend Nick Tanzymore DJs, playing his signature set with songs such as “Cater 2 U” by Destiny's Child. Vonye Taylor and her friends sometimes play games including truth or dare or “never have I ever.”

“If I knew the last time I partied would be the last time I partied, I would have partied a little harder,” Vonye Taylor said.

Junior Alexis Muñiz uses Zoom, FaceTime and Snapchat to keep up with his friends. He said he and eight of his friends share one person's screen on Zoom to watch shows and movies together. Recently, they’ve watched “Glee” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”He said he liked both because they were very dramatic.

Muñiz said it’s fun, but it’s far from the same as watching something together in person.

“We talk sometimes, but it's more about enjoying each other’s company,” he said.

“When you screen-share, it’s hard to hear people, so we did have to pause it to have conversations,” Muñiz said. “In person, I make comments about the movie. They are great comments and I want them to hear them.”

Senior Paige Drane said she uses Snapchat and FaceTime to keep up with friends. She said regular conversations can be strained when not in person.

“It’s kind of difficult to maintain conversations, and the calls are not always as long if there’s not a sole focus of the conversation,” she said.

However, Drane said there are some advantages to the virtual hangouts. Anyone with an internet connection can join, and it's easy to make connections with new people. She said she’s even made some new friends remotely, one who enjoyed yoga and another who wanted résumé advice.Drane said her friends introduced them to her.

“There are so many connections to be made online,” she said.

Drane said talking to her friends online is even weirder because she’s a senior. The thought of not seeing her friends is sad, especially with graduation postponed

“I was OK with online classes because I thought I was going to come back to campus,” Drane said. “I’m sad because my last opportunity with the people on campus that I had known for the past four years is gone, and I didn’t realize it would be my last moment with those people.”

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