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Instagram challenges help students cope through pandemic

With everyone stuck in their houses during quarantine, many students have said that they have struggled with ways to kill time. Although Seton Hall has transitioned to remote learning where students interact with their peers and professors virtually, some say they are struggling with the amount of anxiety caused by the pandemic overall. 

Instagram feeds have been blowing up with a variety of challenges and social media games in which people are participating. To cope with the isolation caused by social distancing, students said they are taking up Instagram thread challenges as a way of interacting with their friends since they are unable to see them in person. Here are some of the challenges that are most popular: 

Photo via @SHU_SAB on Instagram

College Bingo

Tyra Rouse, a junior social work major, said she uses social media a lot more now because it is the only way to interact with her friends besides calling them on the phone. Rouse said that this challenge is the college edition of bingo where you scratch off a space with a statement or prompt of an activity you have already done. Some of the experiences written on the board include joining Greek life, pulling an all-nighter for a test, having a college relationship, changing a major and many more to make the game inclusive for all college students. 

The Student Activities Board (SAB) started running its own game of college bingo with spaces tailored to activities that can only be done at Seton Hall University, such as “Ran Out Of Pirate Bucks,” “Met President Nyre,” “Got an A in U-Life,” “Ran to the Pirate Statue From the Seal to Test It Out” and more.  

“I have been at home and have been trying to participate in little activities to make time pass,” Rouse said. “This challenge had a lot of interesting options that allowed me to look back on some of the memories from my college experience.” 

Rouse said the goal of the College Bingo challenge is to see if your experiences allow you to reach bingo across the board like a regular game. After completing the challenge, she said, you are encouraged to tag five friends when posting it on your story to keep the game interactive. 

“My favorite part of these challenges is that they allow me to be social,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to interact with my friends without being in their physical presence.” 


Social Distancing Challenge

“There’s no denying that challenges have completely taken over Instagram,” Lianne Joseph, a senior public relations major, said. “You can’t go through stories without seeing at least one.”

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Joseph said she made this challenge (above) for the Seton Hall National Pan-Hellenic Council Instagram page after being inspired by SAB’s bingo challenge. She said the challenge is meant for people to show others how they have been spending their time at home. There are spaces with prompts like “best tips for online classes” and “favorite show to binge-watch.” Users repost and edit the blank template by answering the questions with GIFs placed in the blank spaces.

This is the first challenge Joseph has done. She said she doesn’t consider herself anti-Instagram, but didn’t want to crowd stories with too much of the same thing. As a public relations chair for two student organizations, she said she saw how much attention it could bring to a page, so she caved in and made the social distancing challenge her first one.

“I always did the challenges in my head when I saw them,” Joseph said. “The SAB one has been my favorite so far because it has a nice personal touch.” 


Seton Hall in Emojis

Rebecca Brandner, a junior art history and museum professions major, said Instagram challenges aren’t something she usually participates in, but she finally decided to do one because she kept getting tagged in them. 

The challenge she participated in was “Seton Hall in Emojis,” which asks students to look for a GIF or emoji that describes his or her personal feelings about each prompt. Some of the prompts are “What I’d be doing if I was still on campus,” “What I miss about SHU” and “How I’d describe my year at SHU.”

“I just filled this challenge out with random GIFs of Peter Griffin because I thought it would be funny,” Brandner said. “I don’t really take anything on social media that seriously.” 

Although social media is not serious to her, Brandner said she does appreciate the way the challenges have been able to keep the Seton Hall community feel close-knit during a stressful time. She said she sees how social media can bring entertainment and comfort when there’s nothing else to do but has also been trying to take a break from it. 

“Since quarantine started, I have actually been trying not to go on social media too often,” she said. “I can see the comfort but there’s also a side of it that can exacerbate people’s anxiety about the situation.” 


The 30-Day Song Challenge

“I started doing this challenge because I like sharing music with people,” Nicole Spohn, a sophomore elementary and special education major, said. “I also knew that I’d be stuck in the house for 30 days so I would actually be able to finish it.”

The 30-Day Song challenge consists of posting a song every day, for 30 days, that corresponds with the prompt for the day. Unlike many of the other challenges, Spohn said, it does not require you to tag others, but is interactive because it allows the person to share music with their friends that they might not have heard before the challenge. Some of the prompts for the challenge include “A song you like with a color in the title,” “A song that makes you want to dance” and “A song you never get tired of.”

Nicole said she likes these challenges because they are “fun wastes of time.” She said she doesn’t take them too seriously because they just go on her Instagram story. 

“I made the challenge harder for myself,” Nicole said. “I decided to choose songs from artists that I have either seen in concert or ones who I had tickets for before everything was cancelled— because I’m bitter.”

Andrew Byrd can be reached at


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