Students improvise entertainment options while staying safe

Socially distant entertainment: TikTok and eating out

Almost everything on campus is a bit different this semester - especially students' options for entertainment and social activities. These SU students have found ways to keep themselves entertained in a safe, socially distanced way.
Published: October 21, 2020
Many SU students have taken to TikTok for entertainment throughout the pandemic.
Many SU students have taken to TikTok for entertainment throughout the pandemic.

From spirited tailgates to small, intimate gathering on the quad in socially distanced white circles, the pandemic has put a hold on fun. However, students have found ways to remain entertained during the COVID-19 crisis. Eating in Armory Square, attending outdoor events and finding shared hobbies are a few of the ways students continue to have fun while being safe on campus. Most students aren’t letting the effects of this pandemic stop them from enjoying simple activities; it’s all about finding the little things, senior finance major Bettina Papageorge explained.   

Papageorge shared that she and her friends have set a goal to try to do one fun, safe activity per week to make this strange semester a bit more bearable. One of the group’s favorite activities is heading to downtown Syracuse. The downtown area is home to a variety of restaurants, most of which offer socially distant and outdoor seating.

“Crazy Daisies has good food, and it’s outside,” Papageorge said.

She also recommended visiting the zoo — which was another favorite activity for her friend group.

Freshman broadcast and digital journalism student Nicole Aponte and her friends enjoy eating out as well — but they bypass going to the actual restaurant.

“We’ve been ordering takeout food and sitting outside,” Aponte said.

  This can be an enjoyable and COVID-19-safe activity for folks who do not feel totally comfortable going to a restaurant.  

Sophomore Steve Sifakis, the director of engagement for his professional technology fraternity, Kappa Theta Pi, organized a socially distanced potluck.

“It was outdoors, so coronavirus guidelines were easy to follow,” Sifakis said. “The group of people had to be capped at 25.” 

The 25-person rule is one of the COVID-19 safety guidelines set by Governor Cuomo. When asked how her social experiences are different this year than previously, Papageorge had mostly positive thoughts.

“It’s definitely very weird. My freshman to junior year, I was used to huge parties with hundreds of people, so now it’s like 20 people and we’re a little bit further apart, so it’s definitely a different experience,” she said. “I’ve liked small gatherings, because you’ve gotten closer with friends and you can actually have conversations.” 

Outside of in-person, socially distant activities, many students have found a new pastime to enjoy when they’re stuck in their dorm rooms or apartments by themselves — TikTok.

“I didn’t go on TikTok until I got [back] to Syracuse because all my friends were on it,” Sifakis said. “Now I’m on it every day.”

Papageorge echoed this stance on the popular video making application, sharing that she not only scrolls through videos, but also makes and shares her own videos with friends.

 “I make 2-3 TikToks a day. I do it all the time, and it’s a good way to hang out with friends,” she said.

Aponte is on the TikTok bandwagon as well.

“[I’m] on TikTok for hours all the time,” she said. “It’s important to connect to people from all over the world.”

@syracuseueven when we celebrate from home, ‘Cuse by a million ##fyp ##college ##VibeWithUs ##football♬ original sound – Syracuse University

Aponte has also found another at-home hobby to help her pass the time. When she isn’t scrolling through TikTok, she’s probably journaling.

“Being a college student in a pandemic is not an easy thing to do, so some good things that happened throughout the day are really nice to document,” she said. 

For students living in dorm rooms, like freshman Newhouse student Caroline Plante, having your close friends in the same dorm as you can make all the difference.

“I can entertain myself pretty easily,” she said. “Most of my friends live in the same building as me, so we can [find something fun] to do together.”

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is a contributor for The NewsHouse.