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Barry Boasts Safe Small Group Fun

By Brianna Lopez

Safety restrictions like social distancing, limited capacities, and closures of restaurants, malls, and movie theaters have made small group activities all the rage since the beginning of quarantine. Students on-campus at Barry have had to find new ways to have fun while keeping each other safe. 

Photo of Sumayyah Malan by Melissa Tumbeiro

Barry has hosted a few events since the start of the semester, including the Conscious Carnival and “drive-in” movie nights on the campus mall. Sophomore Spanish language and literature major Shanieya Harris has attended these events and found that they were entertaining, but not as much as they would have been prior to the pandemic.

This sentiment is shared by Angela Rodriguez, a junior criminology major who was uncomfortable during the Conscious Carnival due to the 90-degree heat that made wearing a mask unpleasant.

Despite this, Rodriguez enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with her friends in a way she hadn’t been able to do since the pandemic began. Even though Rodriguez has found that “it’s a lot of work now to have any type of fun,” she manages to spend quality time with her friends by having Netflix watch parties of their favorite shows. 

This is something that junior English major Liam Bouza also does with her roommate when she feels herself getting too stressed about schoolwork. Bouza believes that this quality time with her roommate is good for her mental health.

Photo Credit to Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Besides watching Netflix, Bouza spends her free time “jamming to music, coloring, playing with a Rubik's cube, [and] playing Among Us with [her] roommate.”

Despite the new creative ways students have found to interact with their friends and family, being forced to spend time apart from loved ones has made many reminiscent of the pre-COVID world. Rodriguez remembers when she was able to go to a restaurant without any worries, something she finds more value in now that she can’t. 

Rodriguez referred to those times as “the good old days.”

“This made me definitely value all the time I spend with my friends and family because that can all go away in a heartbeat,” said Rodriguez. 

Harris seconds this gratitude, adding that she cherishes this time more than ever before. To her, the “basics” were worn out before quarantine; there was nothing special about watching movies or having game nights. Now, however, the little things are what matters.

Photo Credit to Popular Science

Part of Harris’ “little things” are the FaceTime calls and painting sessions she has with her relatives.

“It does great justice to see the faces of friends and family [over the phone] even if I can’t physically,” said Harris.

Bouza agrees, thanking Apple for FaceTime so she can keep in touch with distant friends and family members during quarantine. She adds that if this pandemic has taught the world anything, it’s the value of spending time with people face-to-face.

“Spending time in person with someone means so much more now.”

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