Twenty-first birthdays — and birthdays in general — are counted down and anticipated for most people. The right of passage of going to the bar with friends has been taken away from people celebrating their birthday during self-quarantine.
USD students are still finding a way to make this year’s birthdays special, despite not being able to go downtown.
Allison Wood, a junior communication studies major, turned 21 on March 31. Originally, she had planned — like most — to celebrate her 21st by going out with friends.
“My friends wanted to go to the bars in Vermillion with all of us together since I’m the baby of the group and haven’t been able to go with everyone,” Wood said. “We’re hoping to go out at a later date.”
Wood’s parents just moved to Sioux Falls from California, so she and her boyfriend are going to their house to make dinner and celebrate, she said.
She said she is happy her parents live closer so they can celebrate with her.
“It’s my 21st Birthday so it’s kind of a bummer that everything is closing. But my parents just moved to Sioux Falls… so we are just planning on going up to their house to make dinner and play games,” Wood said. “For now I’m just happy I am able to see and spend time with my family that is in South Dakota.”
Hal Downs, a junior business administration major, also turned 21 on March 31. To celebrate her birthday, she said she started a fundraiser on Facebook and had family and friends donate the money they would have spent buying her drinks to her charity.
The organization she chose to raise money for was the CDC Foundation. This fundraiser, she said, will give money to finding a vaccine for COVID-19.
Downs also said she’s having two Zoom parties — one with her friends and one with her family.
“I am a go-with-the-flow kind of a person. Life happens. I want things to improve in terms of COVID and want to do my part by staying home,” Downs said. “I’m not into drinking anyway and am easily entertained.”
Downs said she wasn’t too disappointed with the change because it’s only one birthday and safety is more important.
“There will hopefully be many more years ahead to celebrate together when we are all safe and healthy,” Downs said.
While social distancing is the new normal, Wood said as things do go back to normal, she will go out and celebrate. Until now, she is finding things to do inside to make this birthday fun, she said.
“There are always ways to have fun even if you aren’t going out — get crafty at home, celebrate with a small group of people, enjoy the outdoors,” Woods said. “There’s still a lot we can do that doesn’t involve being stuck inside or being with a large group of people.”