Using letters to communicate during COVID-19

With barred communication due to COVID-19, we turn to traditional letters


The letters were created using mostly repurposed papers and items found at Cookie’s antique shop located in downtown Winston-Salem.

Selinna Tran, Life Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched almost every single corner of our lives and affected the ways that we communicate and build relationships with each other. With this in mind, it is difficult for many of us to maintain the relationships we’ve built throughout our lives and in the midst of our college careers. Social media has helped us to keep in touch with people that can be thousands of miles away. But where’s the intimacy?

Are we still building meaningful connections and relationships with our peers or is our only form of communication through a digital like or comment? I, of course, am a part of the majority of college-age students that utilize social media as a main form of communication with my friends. But I feel a disconnect when it comes to whether or not these relationships are actually meaningful. As a result, over winter break, I decided to take advantage of the little free time I had in between work and life to be more traditional.

To me, traditional meant going back to a long-loved tradition and form of communication: writing letters! The thought of writing someone a letter and shipping it to them and having that person wait a few days or a week to receive seems arbitrary now that we can easily send someone a message in less than two seconds. However, I wanted a way to show appreciation and foster the relationships I’ve created through something heartfelt and traditional.

I created the letters using various scraps of vintage/junk papers/patterns that I found at local eclectic shops in Winston-Salem and my hometown to put together something that I hoped would bring my friends a smile. Within the letters, I wrote them each a message about our friendship and my appreciation for having them in my life as I reminisced on the memories that we’ve shared. Included in the letters were unique pieces of art that I added as a little gift. Finally, the letters were all sealed with a traditional wax seal and sent off into the wind.

Although it took a great deal of time and energy to put together these letters, the only thought in my head as I was making them at 2 a.m. was the reaction my friends would have when receiving them. Soon enough, the letters eventually made it through multiple states (and a few countries!) to their final destination. They were met with an abundance of joy and disbelief to have received a handwritten letter. When you think of it, even though a letter is quite a simple thing, it can easily make someone’s day and add a level of heartfeltness and intimacy to a relationship. It’s important, in my eyes, for us to try to continue to cultivate and build the relationships around us (in a safe way) even through a pandemic. Try reaching out to your friends through a letter today.