Party at Home

Artwork: Eliza Williams

Parties are probably the best part of everyone’s life right? Okay, maybe  not for everyone, but for quite a few people. For me, partying is like a hobby. Seriously, I mean it. A hobby is something that helps you relax and that’s exactly what a party does. So parties are kinda important for me. But when the great tragic year of 2020 arrived and brought this pandemic with it, my life was turned upside down. Everything closed. Shut down! Stay at home. Go out only if you need groceries. That means no parties! Oh no!

Things started getting more normal after a couple of months and I saw a post on Facebook: ‘O-Week Party’. Finally, it’s happening! God knows how happy I was! But wait a minute what do I see? A zoom link in the description? A zoom link? Oh. An online party. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. I mean, come on, how can someone even have a party online? That sounds so strange, right?

But after months of being locked up in my room and being disconnected from the outside world (seriously, how can you even feel connected with other people when most of them have their videos turned off during online lectures?), I finally had a chance to do something. I decided to give this online party a shot. I literally had nothing to lose.

So I get ready and put on my favourite dress. That was the best part. It’s cold outside and if it were an in-person party, I would have had to wear my awfully heavy coat. But hey, since I’m at home with my heater set to maximum, I can wear whatever I want! Already one advantage of having an online party. I get dressed, put on my make-up and, instead of leaving my room, I sit at my desk. I open my laptop and bam! I am at the party. “Cool!” I think, “That actually saves me a lot of time.”

Now we are at the party. There are around a hundred people there, but you can see only a few. Thanks, tiny laptop screen. Everyone has turned off their mics so you receive a silent welcome. Gosh! Remember the days when you would walk into the elevator at Marie Reay and go to the 6th floor, which would be filled with people? People crowding around the food and the drinks counter, people talking to their friends. No matter how much you hate that noise, it does set the mood for the party. But here, with all the microphones muted and only a couple of faces on the screen, you start feeling a bit awkward.

Shall I turn off my video? Wait no, this is a party and not an early morning lecture. I can’t, it would be so stupid! What was the point of getting dressed then? I can’t!

I don’t turn off my video and just sit there on my chair, staring at the screen. Soon, the party begins and the host starts talking. Feels like the start of yet another lecture. Then the lecture ends and the party begins. First some dance workshops (they actually teach you some dance moves!) and then the DJ and when the DJ is up, I start dancing in my own room. There are people, but all of them are on my laptop and their audio has been muted, so I feel like I’m all alone. I go on dancing for a while and once I’m tired, I leave the zoom meeting and turn off my laptop.

Well, that’s how my first online party was. To be honest, it wasn’t that bad and since that was the only way to have a party, I couldn’t complain. But was it the same as an in-person one? No, of course not. I know in recent times, everything is online and technology has been a boon to us during this pandemic and it’s all thanks to technology that we can even have parties etc. But is it equally fun? No. Whatever you say, you need actual people around you to have fun and not just some muted faces on a laptop screen.

Parties, I believe, are the best place to socialise and meet new people, make new friends and begin your uni life with a bang. This, of course, is not possible in online parties. Online parties lack the personal element. Actual parties have a different vibe that make the party lively, while online parties feel just like a lecture. A fun lecture, but still a lecture. 

It did indeed feel great to have an online party after three long months of being at home, but it still felt as if something was missing. The party noise, the chatter and gossip, the food and drink stalls were all absent. They are the life of the party and a party is incomplete without them. So, no matter how great this online thing is, it will never be able to truly replace the essence of an in-person event.