Spending birthdays stuck at home might not be what people had in mind when 2020 began. With the statewide stay-at-home order in place, celebrations must be carried out adhering to social distancing standards with other public health recommendations in mind.
While socially distant birthday celebrations might not be ideal, there are still plenty of ways to have fun from a safe distance.
“Improvising by maybe doing Zoom calls or other ways of online communication is a great way to share your birthday with friends and family,” first-year mechanical engineering student Yongmin Lee said.
Lee’s birthday is only two months from now, and he expects the shelter-in-place order to be lifted by then. However, in case he has to spend it at home, he knows he won’t have to stress too much about parties.
“(I can) cook and eat dinner with my family and hang out with friends through Discord,” Lee said.
Celebrating birthdays through virtual video formats is not an unusual idea during this time of uncertainty, but many are also celebrating by having their friends and family drive by their residences to share birthday wishes. However, with final exams coming up, some students may be too busy to focus on celebrations.
“To be honest, I think my friends are all stuck home because of finals, so it’s chill since we talk online anyway,” said Allison Chen, a second-year computer science student.
Chen is used to having her birthday in the midst of finals season in May. With her birthday during exams season, her plans aren’t changing very radically from before the stay-at-home order.
“I guess it sucks (that my birthday is spent in quarantine). But to be honest, I would probably celebrate nearly the same way because of finals,” Chen said. “I’d probably just get cake and be done because finals are coming up and there’s nowhere to go anyway.”
For now, her plans are to focus on finals and celebrate both the end of the semester and her birthday by sleeping for a week. Spending birthdays while sheltering in place can be a way to strengthen the bond with family members without an extravagant celebration.
“I do know a small handful of people who had their birthdays during quarantine,” second-year computer information systems student Matthew Anderson said. “Despite the restrictions, they all seemed not to (be) disappointed. They all mostly had small family stuff at their homes.”
Celebrating at home can be just as fun through video calls, Netflix parties, virtual museum tours and drive-by festivities.
For those who are yearning for a night out in the city, the best thing to do would be to wait until after the stay-at-home order is lifted to celebrate.
“It’s not like quarantine will last forever — I hope,” Anderson said.
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