BY Yuta Ito

So, if you’re reading this, it’s pretty safe to say that you are a uni student. 

On any normal day, you probably catch up with friends for lunch, go to lectures, tutes and labs together, organise impromptu dinners, and see your friends at society events or meetings. But what now? With new rules around social distancing and a harsh (but important-to-follow) lockdown in place, it can feel like it’s almost impossible to maintain any sense of normalcy or campus excitement. 

So, here are five tips on how to keep those campus vibes alive! 

P. S. Let’s be real, all of us are broke so these tips are free xD 


1. Group calls for EVERYTHING 

Whether you’re just friends, classmates, society teams or anything else, group calls can make everything a little bit more communicative. You can catch up with friends, make some memes (a Tik Tok?), sing acapella, watch a movie together, play games, or even do a collective mukbang. The possibilities are endless! All of these popular group call offer video and audio calls: 

  • Discord: Unlimited. Variable quality. Sign-up needed. You can share your screen and also stream Google Chrome (Netflix, anyone?) 

  • Messenger: 50pp max. Average quality. Facebook account needed. Video calls only show video for the first six people. Quick and easy for those group chats you already have. 

  • Zoom: 100pp max. Good quality. Screen sharing and numerous collaboration tools available including whiteboarding and break rooms. Free plan limits group (3pp+) calls to 40 minutes. Note: Zoom has recently come into trouble for privacy violations and ‘Zoom bombings’ so be wary and check your privacy settings. 

  • Microsoft Teams: 50pp max. Average quality. You can sign in with your student ID (z#######@ad.unsw.edu.au) and it lets you blur your background in video calls. 

PRO TIP: Schedule time to call with friends! You don’t want to be that person alone in a group call :( 


2. Games Games Games (Mac User? No Worries) 

There are lots of free PC games that you can download and play like Fornite, Dota 2, Apex Legends, World of Tanks and League of Legends; and if you’re a Switch gamer like me there’s Warface, Dauntless, Paladins and Realm Royale. But what about for your friends with Macs or older computers? Why not start a group call and play one of these quick and easy game below hehe: 

  • Skribbl.io: 12pp max. Fun drawing and guessing game with custom words! 

  • Jstris: Unlimited. Looking for some old school competitive Tetris? Multiple modes available. 

  • Spyfall: 12pp max. Through asking questions, the group tries to find out who the spy is while the spy simultaneously tries to figure out the location. You can learn how to play here

  • Pretend You’re Xyzzy: 20pp max. A Cards Against Humanity clone – for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s just a simple fill-in-the-blanks game for the risqué xD 

PRO TIP: NSA UNSW’s Discord Server is free to join and use for chat, online games and more! 


3. Update Those Socials 

Now is the perfect time to update that Instagram profile with a long-overdue holiday recap or maybe a cute appreciation post for your friends. Make the most out of the stories feature on Instagram and ride the trend of random fruits and song recommendations aha, or maybe even download TikTok haha jk.... unless? If you’re REALLY bored, maybe you could even bring back the Messenger games... 

Social media doesn't only mean for friends, though, you can use your spare time to brush up that LinkedIn profile – make sure those experiences and certifications are up to date, using the correct grammar, and in bullet point form! Check out some quick tips here


4. Binge. Watch. Together. 

Laugh together. Cry together. Tell someone else to stop talking because they’re interrupting the movie too much... together. Host a watch party and have the same sleepover movie vibes with friends while still respecting social distancing! Here are a few free services (you might still need a Netflix account tho): 

  • Twoseven: Sign-up required. Sync Youtube, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Vimeo streaming, and even upload your own video file so that other people can stream off you! Video calls included. 

  • Netflix Party: A Chrome extension to sync Netflix streaming between accounts with a chatroom. 

  • Plug.Dj: Sign-up required. A YouTube party where you can queue videos and chat. 

  • Watch2Gether: Synchronise YouTube, Dailymotion, Twitch, etc. with a video and text lobby. 


5. You are the MVP 

With all the chaos and uncertainty, and the distancing keeping us all from seeing each other in person or going out it can be a difficult time. But it is important to know that you are the MVP! Campus vibes can’t stay alive when the students are sick and stressed, so it’s important to note that services are out there if you are feeling lonely or ill: 

  • UNSW Health Service (9385 5425): General health checks, travel advice and vaccinations. 

  • Headspace: Mental health advice and someone to talk to for you or a mate that is feeling down. 

  • National COVID-19 Hotline (1800 020 080): For general advice about COVID-19. 

  • Arc Wellness: For more advice, links, hotlines and tips for health, mental health and wellness. 

Remember, a support network is only one (video) call away – whether it’s family, friends or professionals, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help! 


Hope these five tips help you maintain (or even strengthen!) those uni friendships and keen to see you all back again on campus once everything clears up. Until then, stay safe, healthy and happy <3

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