Although social distancing guidelines are in place on campus, students are still finding ways to socialize this semester.
Though some students can be seen in small groups on the Centennial Green or other campus lawns, there are fewer students hanging out around campus during the pandemic due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I’ve mostly been hanging out with my two best friends and we will hang out in my room or in my sorority’s chapter room,” Virginia Presley, a senior public relations major, said. “We wear our masks in common areas of course! Sometimes we’ll go to Colludium and we follow the guidelines they have in place, too.”
Other students are using this time to connect with their roommates.
“In McCarty we have media rooms, so we go there to socialize, do homework together, but mainly we just hang out in our dorms,” said junior Christopher Brown.
Students have also been utilizing on-campus dining locations to stay social. Anna Haynes, a sophomore Spanish major, works for the Starbucks on Campus, where she has noticed several groups of students hanging out together. However, some students have been taking social distancing precautions less seriously than others.
“In Starbucks, I have seen a mixture of [students] following and not following guidelines,” said Haynes. “I will say the majority are wearing their masks when they are supposed to do so.”
Students have learned to get creative to stay social, especially online. Haynes said her friends are mostly staying in touch through non-physical ways.
“We don’t go out, [but] we facetime a lot or play online games together,” said Haynes.
Skyler Bishop, a senior history major, also has been using the internet to connect. He has been participating in the Payne Center’s online Zoom group workouts and says they’re just the boost he needs.
“It helps me feel productive and I guess it lets me interact with people outside my household,” she said.
As far as socialization off-campus, Noah Cheeks, a recent Southern Miss graduate and Brewsky’s employee, says students are less likely to attend popular bars.
“I can tell that people kind of come in [to Brewsky’s] and then they leave because they feel like, well there’s not a lot of people here, let’s go somewhere else[. …] This used to be the place to go for students, but that’s changed,” said Cheeks.
As shown above, being unable to safely go out has caused many to radically readjust. However, some students have not had to go through the same socialization changes since the pandemic. Allison Morgan, a senior forensic chemistry major, says her routine has stayed fairly normal.
“It really hasn’t changed much for me, to be honest. I’m either with my family or going to a friend’s place since we couldn’t go to restaurants for the longest time,” said Morgan.
While there are places on- and off-campus to meet with friends to socialize, it is imperative for students to remember to wear their masks in groups of people that are not in their household to stop the spread of COVID-19.
To learn more about Southern Miss’s current pandemic guidelines, as well as how to stay connected with others throughout this time, please view the Flight Path at www.usm.edu/flightpath.