Creativity in a Restrictive Reality

by Victor Franco, Staff Writer

This semester has been a challenge for student life on campus. Many activities and events were either canceled or turned fully virtual due to COVID-19, thus forcing students to have to create some activities of their own and manage the engagement of their friends. These activities are done while being socially distant in order to create an awareness of a safe and healthy environment for everyone because after all, all student lives matter. Students have also encountered new ways to balance schoolwork and safe social life with their classmates and society as a whole.

The first interviewee of this article, Virdiana Roman, an electrical engineering sophomore at Manhattan College renders her take on the matter by expressing how much loves staying active during the semester. Roman has socialized with her friends through clubs that have been forced to adjust to COVID-19 regulations.

“I did a salsa dance routine with a veteran student at school for the Latin Heritage Month Opening Ceremony. It was definitely a challenge coming up with dance moves since we had the pandemic to take into consideration. So instead of doing partner work where we hold hands, we opted to dance side by side, where we synchronized dance moves while maintaining our proper distance of six feet apart,” Roman stated.

Roman explains that it is difficult to arrange activities with friends and clubs because at all times you have to take into consideration social distancing from others. She confesses that compared to last year clubs have been obliged to adjust to the new health standards and regulations due to the exigent need for everyone’s safety and well-being.

“​I have been attending Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) classes at school since October 2019. This semester, however, has been unlike any other. Prior to COVID-19, we would learn various grappling, wrestling, and tackling techniques that mandate physical contact; we have had to do shadow boxing-like exercises, where instead of opponents using boxing gloves, we used pool noodles that kept six feet apart from each other.” Roman stated

Apart from clubs, Roman has also had to rely on playing online video games online which also guarantees safe social distancing. She concludes her experience by saying, “An activity that we have had to do to be protected from Covid is played the game “Just Dance” on the Wii, It is great because you each player has their own remote and you can dance side by side. You get a good workout plus it’s fun and keeps you Covid safe!” stated Roman.

Many students have also agreed with Roman stating that socializing via the internet and video games has given them the absolute assurance that they will be safe from COVID-19. Edwardson Torres, a junior at the college, attempted to do what he really enjoys with his friends, but virtually.

“When the economy started opening up slowly and the restrictions started to ease a bit, our favorite producers and DJs announced online raves on twitch. Something new and appreciated. They shared the songs they’re currently working on, did some a and a’s. It was a very wholesome event. We started doing google meets and turn up the volume and rave in our own rooms with our favorite sets playing live. It was honestly weird at first, but people got used to it” stated Torres.

In such uncomforting times, students still find ways to connect with others to relieve some stress from both schoolwork and the environment around them. Torres explains that conversations must not die just because students cannot be physically together.

“How we’ve started to keep in touch with everyone is by making a discord group, where we talk about everything; life, relationships, frustrations, merchandise from our favorite DJs and producers, even stocks” explained Torres.

Students created so many vast activities some of which included playing sports with their friends. Vancourtland Park has been an escape for many students who want to be socially distant while still spending time with friends. Derek Criollo, a senior International Studies Major describes that his most memorable moments this semester have partaken playing a sport.

“Some fun activities that I was able to do with my friends is playing handball at the Van Cortland courts. I would say playing handball was the most memorable because we were able to keep a certain distance as well as having fun playing a sport that anyone could pick up. I would have to say playing handball is something that helped my friend group bond. I believe that there should be some sort of balance so that one could have a good time even during times like this.”

This semester has been hectic for every student, especially when trying to find ways to still have time to socialize with friends while taking into consideration COVID-19 restrictions. Now that students have overcome that challenge they look forward to the upcoming semester and new memories to form with friends.