Making Connections in the Times of COVID-19

By Kyra Ceryanek

The coronavirus has demanded physical distance in many social situations, but people have taken on the challenge of finding new ways to forge connections.

In particular, some students who have had parts of their school life taken away have found ways to rise above being sucked into defeat.

“This whole thing has taught me to treat challenges like opportunities to try new things and do things differently,” said Meryl Phair, who will be a senior at Mount Holyoke College in the fall.

Phair was the captain this past spring of the lacrosse team which adapted its usual team dinners into Zoom team dinners, eating together and playing team games even though they weren’t physically together.

Click here for an interactive map of where each member of the Mount Holyoke lacrosse is from.

Phair, who is the incoming senior captain of the cross country team, has helped start biweekly discussions over what’s going on in the world. She believes that by having Zoom meetings to discuss a podcast, book, or article about a recent event, the team will get the opportunity to better educate themselves and to be better citizens of their campus and community.

Rianna Massoni, who is a recent graduate of Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, said that coronavirus has given her the time and ability to form relationships with people she wouldn’t normally have the chance to.

“Now because everything is online, everything is at the touch of our fingertips. It’s a lot easier to reach people that I normally wouldn’t have” Massoni said.

Massoni is a part of Wachusett’s Model United Nations and Mock Trial clubs, and she said that coronavirus has brought the club’s members much closer together. With more time on their hands, members take part in text message discussions about current events, things going on in their lives, and just regular check ins.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from these times is that it isn't hard to reach people even if they're not right in front of you all the time,” Massoni said.

Photo Collage - "Making Connections in the Times of COVID-19"

Massoni and Phair even said that they would like to make some of the adaptive experiences they've had into a tradition for the future.

Phair said that she would love to continue with team Zoom dinners over the summer to stay close with her lacrosse team.

Massoni said that Wachusett’s Model UN and Mock Trial Clubs want to continue the online Zoom meetings throughout the school year. She said it would give people who don’t have the time to do the clubs and attend the after-school meetings an opportunity to be part of them.

Meryl Phair, 21, is from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She will be a senior this fall at Mount Holyoke College. She is a journalism & digital media major and a politics minor. Meryl is the environmental editor of the Mount Holyoke newspaper. She is also the captain of the cross country team and she was the captain of the lacrosse team last spring.

Rianna Massoni, 17, is from Holden, Massachusetts. She will be a freshman this fall at Rensselaer Polytech Institute where she will be pursuing the 3 + 3 (science, technology, and society) program. She will earn her BS at RPI and earn her JD at Columbia Law School. Rianna is also a dancer for Shooting Stars Performing Arts Academy in Holden.

Created By
Kyra Ceryanek


Created with images by United Nations COVID-19 Response - "Let the distance be physical. Image created by Cristina Estanislao. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19." • United Nations COVID-19 Response - "The illustration highlights the importance of physical distancing in our day to day interaction with each other to "flatten the curve". We win by staying apart while remaining connected, not just as individuals but as a community. Image created by Sukriti Banthiya. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19." • visuals - "Zoom (Video chat)" • United Nations COVID-19 Response - "The most popular technology for millennials today - not just your mother's soap and water! A running faucet, a 20 second tune, and a pump or two of magic cleansing liquid, and you should be good to go for at least an hour. Don't be a covidiot, be the next stay-at-home hero! Image created by Aashti Miller. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19." • visuals - "Coronavirus has no race" • Tim Mossholder - "Colorful Hands 1 of 3" • BRUNO CERVERA - "stay home." • United Nations COVID-19 Response - "Inspired by the balconies around the world and the spirit of humanity while social distancing. Image created by Shua Baber. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19." • Markus Winkler - "untitled image" • Morning Brew - "untitled image"