How to have fun in quarantine: A brief guide to remote social interactions

James Pollard, Summer Managing Editor

Whether you’re trying to keep in touch with friends from home or make new friends at school, there will be a lot of remote interaction this fall.

Let’s be honest, incoming students have gone through this pandemic just as current students have, and you probably have your own set of socially distant hobbies. This is by no means a complete list — you’ve probably heard of a few or all of these ideas. But hopefully you get something out of this guide.


Netflix Party is a great way to stream with your friends. Each participant can pause the show or movie, and it will pause on all the other screens as well. However, this requires that all participants have Netflix. Alternatively, one student with a Netflix account should be able to screen share over Zoom — though that doesn’t always provide the best video quality.

For Northwestern students living on campus, Xfinity provides a more accessible option, though I don’t know of any ways to stream synchronously with friends. Residential Services teams up with Xfinity to provide students with Xfinity Stream. Through their NetID, students have access to over 130 live channels and HBO, included in on-campus housing fees.

Photo Roulette

This random photo guessing app can be a fun conversation starter, if you’re willing to share your photo library with the app and, potentially, your friends.

In Photo Roulette, a random selection of camera roll photos — which you approve beforehand — are displayed. Friends (no fewer than three and up to 10) playing with you have five seconds to guess whose camera roll the photo belongs to. Scoring, like Kahoot, is based on time and accuracy. After 15 photos are shown, a winner is named.

[Read this article for more on throwing a Zarty]

Book club

With fewer social activities, it sometimes feels like there’s less to talk about with friends. And discussing the latest news cycle nonstop isn’t always healthy either. In that case, a book club might help!

I’ve never been in a book club, nor am I the most avid reader, so my endorsement might not mean much. But if you’re looking for a good read to break down with friends, look no further than Jia Tolentino’s “Trick Mirror.” The series of essays discuss subject topics that will have you rethinking the way you relate to the world around you. The New York Times bestseller is sure to prompt lively ponderings.

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Twitter: @pamesjollard