With a global pandemic halting in-person meetings and forcing public spaces to shut down, students have had to find new and creative ways to virtually hang out.
Zoom, a video communication app, has become the platform of choice for professors and students alike. From birthdays to movie nights, Zoom has become a virtual movie theater, mall, club and lecture hall.
According to Zoom, more than 6,900 educational institutions use the platform for courses, office hours and research labs. Since the spring semester has ended, many students are turning to the same application to provide enjoyment during this uncertain time.
Nataly Areosa Suarez, a senior biochemistry major, said “Zoom has been the best option, other than FaceTime” because it allows users to share screens and have movie nights.
Gisellyn Miranda, a junior business management major, said her sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha, has used Zoom to keep in contact with its alumni.
“Most of our alumni already use Zoom for work, so it was something we’re all familiar with,” Miranda said. “Zoom accommodates for bigger groups of people and includes those with other devices, so it seemed best.”
Miranda said one of the cons of Zoom is that if it is a larger group, the user cannot see everyone unless they talk.
Not all students use Zoom to keep in contact with their friends and family—some have turned to other applications like Microsoft Teams or FaceTime.
Cassandra Kaba, a senior political science major, said she primarily uses Microsoft Teams to hang out with her friends. Kaba said she and her friends watch movies, talk and do online shopping together through that platform.
“To me, Teams is just easier to use since Seton Hall already uses all the Microsoft programs, so it’s easy to just add people from school to a call,” Kaba said. “It’s good to see their faces and hear their voices even if it’s over Teams. It makes me feel like we’re actually hanging out.”
Some students have even had to celebrate their birthdays over a virtual call with their friends.
Michelle Torres, a senior accounting major, said she is facing the possibility that her 21st birthday may be on Zoom in July. Torres said she would be “bummed out” if she couldn’t celebrate her birthday in person. As of right now, she said she is unsure of whether her party will be in person or on Zoom.
“I know either way my friends and I will find time to celebrate once it’s safe for everyone to meet up in large groups again,” Torres said.
Jonathan Quinn, a senior marketing major, has been using Teams to celebrate his friends’ 21st birthdays.
“We can’t exactly see all our friends in person, and the best way we have to celebrate with them is to just talk to each other through all hours of the night,” Quinn said. “Obviously, it can’t make up for an actual in-person celebration, but at the end of the day, you’re celebrating with some of the people who you really care about and who care about you — that’s what really matters.”
Bianca Stover can be reached at email@example.com.