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Messages Across the Distance: Reviving the lost art of letter writing in the face of uncertainty.

Being sent home and separated from our friends due to COVID-19 proved difficult for everybody. Zoom calls can get old and eventually I ran out of things to talk to talk to my friends about on FaceTime. Connecting with loved ones had to be done creatively, so I decided to tap into a habit I had long forgotten. I got out my stationary and multi-colored pens, texted my friends for their addresses, and began writing letters.

I believe that letter-writing is an endangered art that many of us have long forgotten. It is no longer necessary to sit and organize our thoughts into writing, spend money on stamps, or wait the days it takes to deliver mail. Instead, most communication is conducted through the far more advanced and simplified method of texting or calling. While these are also excellent choices for connection, something about writing a letter or a card feels sacred.

Especially while separated from loved ones (whether while in quarantine or while living on campus), taking the time to thoughtfully communicate with one another can draw people closer together despite the distance.

While I was at home and far away from my friends at school, I had a few penpals. We would write to each other semi-regularly, and it meant the world to me.
Daily trips to the mailbox became exciting, and I was always eager to get updates from my friends. We did not just talk about what was currently happening in
our lives, though.

We exchanged stickers, and memories, and what our favorite flowers are. I think my favorite letter that I received was one that came not only with a note from my friend, but a list of song recommendations specifically chosen for me, a sticker, and a teabag. These small gifts meant so much to me, and when I drank the tea she sent me while responding to her letter, I felt almost as if we were just having a normal chat in a cafe.

Letter writing can be meditative as well. Taking the time to reflect on what is important to you and what you want to tell your friends about can help process and organize your thoughts. It can be similar both to journaling privately and chatting with a loved one. Not only is it another way to communicate with friends, but it can
be beneficial for your own mind.

Though we may not be quarantined in our own homes anymore, many of us are still missing loved ones, some of which we may not see until Thanksgiving. Set aside some time in your daily class, homework and social schedule to sit down with a pen and paper and write a letter.

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