As the act of social distancing increasingly becomes the accepted norm, a look into the behaviors of practicing persons is necessary to understand what this means for individuals. I interviewed three persons around my age (18-19) about: how they were practicing social distancing, what their social distancing space looks like, and how they are using this time. Their responses help to provide a window into a college student’s thoughts and actions about social distancing.
The first person to be interviewed was Faith Fraley, who lives in Stafford County. When asked how they were practicing social distancing, she remarked “I’m staying in my house with parents, and I only go out if it’s a necessity.” In response to what their space looks like, Faith remarked how the entire household was her social distancing space. She has spent her time “uploading pictures from my winter break trip”, “learning origami”, and planning on a “movie marathon of the Pirates of the Caribbean series”.
The next person to be interviewed was Jack Holt, a neighbor of mine in Arlington. “Being bored at home and not doing fun things” was how he responded to the question of how was he practicing social distancing. When asked what his social distancing space looks like, he remarked that it’s “a PC where I can waste my time”, a desk, and “helluva lotta of paint” for his Warhammer plastic models. Since he has started to practice social distancing, he has been “playing a lot of video games, painting Warhammer models, and working on [his] abs.”
The final person to be interviewed was Kennan Butcher, a friend of mine from high school. Like Jack, he remarked how social distancing to him means “not spending as much time with friends” and “relying on digital means for socialization”. His space is similar to Jack’s minus the paint for plastic models (see picture below).
Kennan’s time has been spent “running in the park”, “school work”, and “playing videogames”. To further emphasize the changes social distancing has made in his daily routine, he made a mental map of where he would normally go in Arlington (see picture below).
While three data points are not necessarily indicative of an entire group’s behavior, it’s still a window into those individual’s experiences with social distancing. Space between themselves and persons outside their family are being minimized, and large gatherings are being avoided. Through the conducting of interviews, insight is gained on individual’s thoughts and feelings about the change in behavior necessary to curb the spread of disease.