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Social distancing in the age of social connection

Social distancing in the age of social connection

The CDC recommends social distancing to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here's how Panthers are coping with the new normal.

March 20, 2020 at 3:00pm

Humans are social animals. For many, adjusting to a life of isolation may seem like a tall order.

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the CDC is recommending social distancing, which means  staying away from others, leaving our homes only when necessary and staying at least 6 feet apart from other people when we do. 

So how are Panthers coping? 

Many are rekindling old passions and new interests. Newfound free time and muted distractions are allowing them to reconnect with loved ones. Social distancing is giving them time to make the recipes they love, catch up with grandma or study a new language.

“As a very social person, social distancing gets tough for me," says Karen Fisboin, political science and public relations double major. "Lately, I have been spending a lot more time outdoors and taking my dog, Sasha, for more walks. She loves being outdoors so it encourages me to spend some time outside, too. I love spending quality time with her so I guess I’m really using this [opportunity] to maximize that." 

Lucinda Greenaway, office coordinator at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, says when she is not completing her work remotely, she is spending much needed time with both of her teenaged children. 

Her daughter and son are usually busy with extracurricular activities, so she plans to spend as much time as she can with them during the social distancing period. 

“We have been doing both fun activities, as well as working on their distance learning school work together. I love cooking and baking, so I also plan to incorporate those into my time with the kids,” she says.

Not everyone, though, is able to spend time with their loved ones in person. Biology major Carlos Ortiz Class says he's staying connected to family and friends online. 

“Honestly, social media helps a lot. Because even though we’re in social isolation, we still have that social connection, and we know that other people are going through the same thing," Class says. "I’ve been mostly texting my close friends and keeping up with people I know through Instagram. It helps because we can still be social with other people and it allows us to share our stories and thoughts relating to COVID-19.” 

Ashley Rizzotto, assistant director of Career Development, says she is repurposing time spent during her usual two-hour work commute into crafting. 

“I’m a crocheter so I went to Michael’s yesterday and bought a whole bunch of yarn," she says. "I bought enough to make a new blanket for my next project.”

For those Panthers who are having trouble coping, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is currently operating remotely. If you would to schedule an appointment, please call 305-348-2277 and leave a message for a call back. Scheduled appointments will be held over the phone or by videoconference (through a HIPAA-compliant platform). If you are in need of immediate services, please call our 24-Hour hotline 305-348-2277 (CAPS) to speak with a licensed clinician.

Panthers can also stay tuned to FIU’s Healthy Living Program’s Instagram account, @fiuhlp, for virtual guided meditation and informational sessions.