Apr 9, 2021 | LIFE | By Olivia Hahnemann-Gilbert | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian

Here we are: year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a rampant social famine continues to plague the lives of many Colorado College students. Many of us are struggling with the lack of social interactions and miss the excitement of forming new connections with others. I mean, college is supposed to be about meeting new people, right?

Instead of continuing to mourn the never-ending stubbornness of this forced isolation, I would like to draw attention to the many instances in which CC students have persevered.

Over the past year, I have heard many stories about how students have used Zoom classes as a platform for developing long-lasting friendships, partnerships, and other sorts of connections with others.

Essentially, if COVID-19 and CC students were in a wrestling match, the students just absolutely drop-kicked COVID to the ground.

I am delighted to share some of these heart-warming stories of how Zoom has been used as a tool by students for establishing both romantic and platonic relationships.

Firstly, a sophomore at CC told me of his recent romantic adventure which began over a Zoom class.

The student’s Intro to Global Climate Change class included afternoon sessions during which small groups of students could meet and discuss class material with one another. The student regularly attended these sessions and was surprised to find that only one other person from his group consistently showed up.

“We ended up talking about things other than climate change,” the student said. “For example, I noticed one day that she had a bunch of plants in her background and she ended up showing me around her room to see them over Zoom.”

After a few weeks of chatting during afternoon class sessions, the student invited his new friend over for a Halloween celebration with his roommates. To his surprise, she showed up and the two finally met in person.

“She stayed for a while. I felt responsible to make sure she had a good time, so I spent a lot of the night talking to her,” said the student.

After that night, the two students started hanging out consistently and then formed a romantic relationship, which is still going strong today.

In other words, Zoom is the ultimate wingman.

In another story about Zoom classes bringing people together, Amelia Allen ’23 tells me about a new friendship formed between her and Arlo Metzger ’24.

In a Biology of Plants block, Allen and Metzger were put into the same breakout room.

When asked about the details of their first interaction, Allen told me that, “No one in the breakout room was talking, and me and Arlo just like started filling the silence with our own thoughts. We kind of bonded there.”

After the initial breakout room conversation and a few casual Zoom-class interactions, the two went about their lives and spent winter break with little contact other than a mutual follow on Instagram.

Upon the start of second semester, they were happy to find that they were in the same block again, but this time in a much smaller Zoom class.

They continued to build their newfound friendship in this block, communicating more often over Instagram and staying after group project meetings to talk to one another.

Allen added that, “We just started like really enjoying each other’s company and now I feel like I can DM him and say, ‘miss you king’ and he’ll be like, ‘yeah, I miss you too, king.’”

Allen and Metzger are still good pals, and are excited at the opportunity of hopefully meeting each other in person next semester.

I know what you’re thinking. What about the professors? Where do they make friends? This is an excellent question; fortunately, Olivia Dossett ’23 told me about her experience forming a connection with a professor over a Zoom class.

Rachel Jabaily is an assistant professor in the OBE department at CC and she teaches a variety of classes, including Biology of Plants. Dossett was in this class when she met Jabaily.

Dossett immediately appreciated Jabaily’s teaching style and approachable aura and was excited when Jabaily offered to meet her students in person to distribute materials for a class project.

“She just seemed like a really enthusiastic, amazing person and professor,” Dossett said. “So, when she gave us the opportunity to meet her in person on campus, I was obviously going to take that opportunity.”

Upon meeting Jabaily, Dossett knew that she wanted to forge a long-lasting connection with her. Additionally, Dossett had already been on the lookout for a possible advisor in the OBE department.

So, Dossett popped the question. Jabaily graciously accepted, and they went on to stay in touch about Dosset’s educational, personal, and career path.

Currently, Dossett is working with Jabaily and a small group of students on a research project surrounding Bromeliads; she is greatly enjoying this time expanding her educational scope and simultaneously further acquainting herself with Jabaily.

“I feel like meeting her totally changed my entire educational journey. I’m just discovering this new interest in the research process and I never would have discovered that if I had not met her,” Dossett said.

It’s okay, I cried too.

As shown, CC students have been truly determined to continue meeting new people despite the ruthless social hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hopefully these stories of Zoom-made relationships restore some hope that much-needed social connections may arise, whether that be on or off of Zoom classes.

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