Quarantine came at an inconvenient time for all of us. Whether it was for seniors who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to their college days or for those who no longer have close friends at home like they do at school, saying goodbye this early is hard.
But a less serious, yet still disappointing, result of vacating campus midway through the semester is the toll it can take on students’ love lives. Relationships become exponentially more difficult for couples who aren’t ready for the challenge of distance or are stuck inside a tiny apartment together all day (and it doesn’t look like the New York State self-quarantining guidelines are ending anytime soon).
So here’s a list of remote date ideas to mix things up so you don’t spend hours a day staring blankly at your partner on FaceTime.
If you don’t live together:
Netflix Party is a browser extension that allows you to watch movies and shows at the same time as your friends or partner. When you decide what to watch, the extension gives you a link to send to your movie partner. It includes a chat section for you to share comments, or you can video chat through Zoom or FaceTime while watching to share the experience in real time.
It’ll never beat the feeling of cozying up with your partner and having an in-person movie night, but it’s a nice way to share an activity while still social distancing.
Virtual board games
In the era of technology, it’s easier than ever to connect online and board games aren’t an exception.
Words With Friends is the online multiplayer version of Scrabble and UNO is available as an iMessage game. You can even visit Tabletopia where you can find everything from classics like texas hold’em to start-up games like No Escape.
Minecraft, Animal Crossing
Memes of college kids resorting to Minecraft or Animal Crossing to fill time have exploded all over the internet and for good reason. Minecraft is a classic and although we may think of it as a kid’s game, it’s just as fun now as it was when we were 11. And Animal Crossing’s latest sequel, “New Horizons,” is causing a surge in Nintendo Switch sales.
If you and your partner share the same gaming device, multiplayer is easy.
To play Minecraft online, you’ll either need XBOX Live Gold, PlayStation Plus or a PC server.
You can invite your partner to your server through Minecraft multiplayer and then explore worlds, build houses and murder innocent villagers together for hours.
If you live together:
Go for a walk
Eventually you’re going to need a breath of fresh air and there’s no better way to do so -- while maintaining proper social distance -- than hitting the trails.
Whether you and your partner are the outdoorsy type who enjoy hiking or just want to take a leisurely stroll, going for a walk can be fun.
Try visiting the Tifft Nature Preserves or the Seneca Bluffs if you’re in Buffalo.
Much like the virtual game option for couples who live apart, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned game night. Classic two-player games like Jenga and Monopoly can take your mind off the uncertainties ahead.
Games can also help release the tension that being stuck with one person can cause (or maybe make more if you’re a sore loser). It’s a good way to get out your competitive energy.
Several zoos, museums and amusement parks are offering virtual tours of their facilities during the pandemic.
The Cincinnati Zoo holds a Facebook live stream every day at 3 p.m. where they highlight a different animal every day. The San Diego Zoo offers 24/7 live streams of elephants, tigers, koalas and several other animals. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History offers a 360 degree room-to-room tour of the entire museum. Even Walt Disney World has posted virtual reality videos of rides like It’s A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean on YouTube for your enjoyment.
Reilly Mullen is the news editor and can be reached at reilly.mullen@ubspectrum or on Twitter @ReillyMMullen
Reilly Mullen is the editor-in-chief at The Spectrum. She is a senior majoring in political science with a journalism certificate. She enjoys Dunkin’ iced lattes and Scrabble. A former web, features, news and managing editor, she is a columnist at heart but has covered everything from UB Football to breaking news.