How to Spice Up Your Life in Quarantine

by Emma Ginsberg | 9/23/20 2:15am

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by Divya Kopalle / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Is your quarantine routine starting to feel drab? Are you looking for fresh ways to bond with your new floormates? These 10 activities, which you can do no matter where in the world you’re quarantined, are both socially distanced and sure to jazz up your day.

Dungeons & Dragons

If you need a break from quarantine tedium or chaotic classes, there’s no better place to escape to than a magical world of your own creation. To play Dungeons & Dragons, a classic tabletop roleplay game, all you need is a random number generator, some friends and an imagination. Guided by a game master and the roll of the dice, your party will weave an original fantasy tale in which you are the hero. Whether your character is a swordwielding fighter or a sage wizard, D&D is easy to play over Zoom and a creative way to shake off the stress of the real world.

At Dartmouth, you can’t throw a frisbee without hitting a D&D player. If you’ve never played before, ask around your local group chats and you’re bound to find experienced players who are more than happy to show you the ropes. This fall, many game masters are starting campaigns specifically intended to teach first-timers. Happy adventuring!

Pokémon GO

Good news! Current research suggests that Pokémon are unable to transmit COVID-19. Say what you will about Pokémon GO being “so four years ago,” but the free-to-play virtual reality game is alive and well in 2020. It’s never too late to fulfill your childhood dream of becoming a Pokémon trainer. If you’re looking to liven up your next solo walk around Occom Pond, why not set yourself to the task of catching ’em all? After you’ve found some Pokémon, you can connect with your friends to battle remotely and send gifts through the app. 

Snail Mail

Everybody loves receiving mail. There’s no feeling quite like opening your mailbox to an unexpected letter from someone you love. If you’ve got a few minutes between classes, bust out your most colorful pens and write a note to a friend. Whether the recipient lives across the hall or across the world, opening a physical letter is a great way to bridge distance and banish those isolation blues.

Want to jazz up your correspondence? Try adorning your letter with stickers, sending a postcard or decorating your envelopes.

Book Arts Workshop Tutorials

Dartmouth’s Book Arts Workshop has made a treasure trove of bookbinding tutorials available for free online. Cruise on over to the Dartmouth Library website to learn how to make a one-sheet book, design your own zine or read up on the history of printing and typography. If you’ve been sending snail mail to your remote friends, try using a letterfolding tutorial to grace your pal’s mailbox with a unique piece of art. 

Still can’t get enough of the Book Arts Workshop? Keep an eye on the library calendar for live Zoom classes throughout the term.

Long-Distance Dance Parties

Do you miss scream-singing along to “Mr. Brightside” with your pals? Thanks to a Spotify beta feature called Group Session, you can have a socially distant rave no matter where your pals are! Use this feature to sync up your listening sessions from anywhere in the world and play songs or podcasts simultaneously. Everyone in the session has control of playback for the whole group, meaning you can take turns DJ-ing. Though you may be partying alone in your dorm, you’ll know that your friends are singing along with you somewhere.

Movie Nights

Movie theaters may be closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get cinematic with your friends. Netflix Party, a free Google Chrome extension, allows you and your group to sync up playback on Netflix, meaning you can watch and pause movies at the same time on different devices. If whispering snarky commentary to the person next to you is your favorite part of movie-going, you’re in luck: Netflix Party adds a group chat feature to every screening, so your friends can read your scathing film critiques in real time.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Netflix, consider tuning into Dartmouth Film Society’s virtual lineup of on-demand movies. If you’re a Hopkins Center member or a Dartmouth student, you can go to the Hop’s website for free tickets to this series of films curated by your peers.

Virtual Theater-going

The closure of theaters, opera houses and concert halls has been devastating for many. Fortunately, performance venues across the country are working hard to bring the magic of live theater to audiences at home. If you miss the arts, consider watching a professionally recorded production streaming from your local theater, or attending a play-reading festival over Zoom.

If you’re feeling extravagant, the Metropolitan Opera streams a full show online for free each night. If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, check your local theater beat for virtual broadcasts from regional theaters. The small blackboxes of the world are often home to groundbreaking and heartfelt new works; now more than ever, these small houses and storefront theaters need love and support from arts patrons. 

Need a place to start? Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles all have vibrant regional theater scenes that have transitioned to the virtual realm. Thanks to the internet, you can explore the arts in cities around the world without even getting out of bed!

Book Club

Who says you can’t go clubbing this term? If you’re looking for a long-term activity, try forming a Zoom book club with your friends. Whether you all read and discuss the same novel or you meet every month to talk about your solo literary adventures, the book club is a tried-and-true classic. 

Birdwatching

Yeah, I’m serious. Birdwatching.

“But Emma!” you protest. “Isn’t birdwatching only for ornithologists and eccentric dads?”

Dear reader, our fine feathered friends are for everyone. Whether you’re surrounded by 400-plus bird species in the Upper Valley, or you’re pigeon-spotting in a concrete jungle, let avian animals into your life. As a solo activity, birdwatching is cause for an expedition outside and a great way to get more deeply in touch with the world around you. For the competitive birdwatcher, try keeping logs of the different species you spot and compare rosters with your birdwatching pals.

Fencing With Six-Foot-Long Swords

Self-explanatory. An objectively bad idea, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

Isolation can be tough, especially for ’24s kicking off college with two weeks of alone time. Though you may feel cut off from the people around you, I hope these activities will help you bridge that gap and remind you that friendships and fun memories can be forged across any distance. 

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