Interview with Abigail Jerry, 11/11/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐AR: This is Allison Ruiz interviewing Abbie Jerry on Tuesday, November 16 2021. For Campus COVID stories, campus COVID stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences in the time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. First, could you please tell me your name and spell it out for us?

AJ: Abbie Jerry, you want me to spell my first and my last name? Okay, A-B-B-I-E J-E-R-R-Y

AR: Thank you. And for the purposes of obtaining a good audio recording, please again, tell us who you are. What is your name, major year and age?

AJ: My name is Abby Jerry. I'm a social work major. This is my senior year. And I am 22.

AR: Thank you. Just to get us started. We'd like to get to know you a bit. Could you tell us where did you grew up? Anything about it?

AJ: I grew up in Shullsburg. Wisconsin, super small, right on the border of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Yeah, there's not really much there. So, except 00:01:00for corn.

AR: Except for corn. How's the community there?

AJ: Good. Good. Very small, but really close.

AR: Okay. And then could you tell me about your parents? What do they do?

AJ: My dad is the chief of police in my town and my mom works at a bank

AR: Okay, is that also in town?

AJ: It is. Yeah.

AR: Okay. So about college? When did you start thinking about going to college? Was it always a given in your house?

AJ: I think it was always a given in my house. My parents didn't go to school. So I think for them, they just wanted us to go to school. So I guess, in the back of my head, I always knew I was going, but I didn't necessarily know what I was going for.

AR: Was it always like college? Like you guys need to do college after school? Or did they give you that option?

AJ: I think that they really wanted us to go to college, but they definitely would have been supportive if we didn't at the same time.


AR: And so why did you choose to go to UW-Oshkosh out of all schools?

AJ: I was originally a nursing student. And they have a great program here. But then I'm really awful at math and science. And you need a lot of that to be a nurse. So I decided that's not really what I want to do. But I still love helping people. And I think that people that need social workers, they really want your help, and they need your help. So I think it's really important that we have more social workers, because there's not enough.

AR: Yeah, of course. And so how far away is your hometown?

AJ: About like, three hours probably from here.

AR: Did that ever play a difference in choosing Oshkosh?

AJ: Yeah, so I wanted to get away. Something different. It's definitely bigger here than back home, we have like 1200 people. So Oshkosh is a lot bigger. I graduated with the same kids I went to, like 4k with so coming here was a huge 00:03:00change for me.

AR: Let's move on to the early days of COVID at UW Oshkosh at the beginning of spring semester. 2020, where were you in your college career? Did you have a full class load? And what was your living situation?

AJ: So I was in my third year, I think. I had a full class load. I was taking all my prereqs for my major, because I changed so late that I, this is my fifth year. And I was living in a house with five other girls at the time.

AR: Okay, so for your major, you switched it freshman year?

AJ: I switched actually a lot. I switched to education, and back to nursing, and then psychology and then social work. So I think my final major change was my sophomore year.


AR: Okay, and then you've stuck with it since?

AJ: Yep.

AR: Perfect. When was the first time you remember hearing about COVID-19?

AJ: I was at work. And some of the kids were, I work with special needs children. So a lot of the kids had heard about it. And they were really concerned because a lot of them have compromised immune systems. So I'm sure they were hearing it from their parents and such, but we weren't really allowed to talk about it at work, because we didn't want to, like add to the stress and anxiety that they were having. So I guess that's like the first I really heard about it, but didn't really talk about it at that point.

AR: Okay, and what was your reaction to the news when you heard about it?

AJ: Definitely shocked. I feel like you never expect something like that ever to happen. Especially like in our lifetime, nothing like that has ever happened. So you're just like, Oh, it'll go away shortly. Like, you know, don't think about anything big.

AR: Yeah, And so in the beginning of mid March, the state started to shut down. 00:05:00So like everywhere, basically, what were your feelings about everything as UWO and elsewhere started to shut down all of a sudden?

AJ: I would definitely say confused. But also, at the same time, I was like, yeah, like two weeks off like we get a nice break. I wasn't looking super far ahead, because I don't know. I just feel like you don't really expect like I said, you don't expect something like that to take, last forever. So I was like, oh, you know, we get like a nice little break. Nothing too serious.

AR: Yeah. Did you ever expect two weeks to turn into a whole semester into even next year?

AJ : No. Definitely not.

AR: Yeah, it's definitely a shock. How did you feel when students began to get sent home? Did this affect you directly?

AJ: Yeah. So I would say it was kind of shocking for me. Like I said, I lived with five other girls. Two of them went home with their families. And the rest 00:06:00of us stayed at our houses, just because our parents were working, or we were working and we didn't want to get them sick or them getting us sick. So definitely affected me personally. Just because I couldn't go home. And I didn't see my family for quite a few months, too. So it was really hard. But yeah.

AR: Yeah, that is hard. So how would you describe your feelings about the virus itself?

AJ: I guess conflicted. I don't really, I don't know. I mean, I know it's a big thing. And it definitely affects everybody differently. So I don't know. It's hard to put feelings behind it, I guess.

AR: Yeah, for sure. So prior to the university shutting down, how much planning had you made for a shutdown? Did you have a game plan? And were your parents involved in your decisions that you were going to do?

AJ: I did not have a plan at all. My parents had let me go home a couple times, 00:07:00like in the two weeks that we were originally just going to be closed for. And then eventually, they said, like, you either stay up in Oshkosh, or you stay back home, but you can't keep coming back and forth. So that was not like, a decision we made together. It was a decision they kind of made but I respected it. So.

AR: Yeah. And how was that not being able to go home? Having to make that decision?

AJ: It was really hard. But for me, my work was closed temporarily. And we weren't sure when they were going to open. So if I had gone home, I would have had to quarantine for two more weeks before starting work. Whereas if I just stayed here, I could start right, once they opened again. So it's kind of like a waiting game. But it's definitely hard. Because I had Easter up here without my family so.

AR: And what kind of work do you do?


AJ: So I work with special needs children, it's an after school program. We do like daily life skills. Just teaching them you know, like about emotions. And we also have a summer program. So the after school program was closed, and we didn't open again until summer.

AR: Okay, so during that time, you were not employed, then? Yeah. And how did that affect you?

AJ: Very stressful. I luckily, had money saved up in my bank account, but I still had rent to pay for, my car payment, groceries. So all of my accounts were getting pretty low. But then everything worked out because I got to go back to work.

AR: Okay, and when were you able to go back?

AJ: In May I believe, so I was out of work for, like a couple months.

AR: Okay, and how was work ran now? How is it different than before?


AJ: Everybody has to wear masks. One thing that has changed slightly is we really focus on personal space at work, but it has been focused on a lot more because of COVID. So we're able to use like, personal space, like we don't want to get sick. So we're able to use COVID as kind of an excuse, which has been really helpful because the kids understand that like, personal space for COVID. More than they understood it previously.

AR: Yeah. And so since you were an employee, did you ever find a need, like you need to go out and find something or were you okay being at home because of what was going on?

AJ: Yeah, so I was in the process of finding a new job. When they announced that they were opening again, just because it took, I had to file for unemployment. And it took like, I don't think I got anything until September. So I was working 00:10:00the whole summer before I even got any money from that. So I really had no income for like two months.

AR: Oh, yeah, that's tough.

AJ: Yeah.

AR: And then back to COVID durin, the university during COVID. The university shut down like a week before spring break. So how did you spend your spring break? What did you do?

AJ: I, that feels like forever ago. I don't think I did anything. Honestly. I think I might have gone home. I didn't have any plans for that spring break. Usually I go on a mission trip, but I wasn't going that year. So I don't think I did anything. I think I just hung out at my house.

AR: Okay, what kind of things did you do at your house, you know to stay occupied?

AJ: I got really into crafting. I learned how to embroider and how to knit. So me and my roommates did a lot of that during the time we are stuck at home.


AR: That's awesome. And since you did have to spend a lot of time at home with your roommates, what were some of the challenges about being around them too much? And were you able to ever get out of the house when you needed to?

AJ: Yeah, so definitely stressful times living with a bunch of girls. And the fact that only two of us were leaving the house to go to work. So I guess some of those struggles, were just when you're around someone for so long, every little thing that they do eventually starts to annoy you. So to help us we all like needed our own space. So we would like cook dinners together, or like go on walks together. But then like we would go to our rooms and just take our own time because we wanted to rip each other's hair out. But me and one of my roommates that wasn't working at the time also, we did a lot of hiking, just like walking around. We drove around a lot, just for something to do to get out 00:12:00of the house. So yeah.

AR: That's awesome. And then you mentioned that two of your roommates were working, were you and the other roommates that weren't working, ever worried that they would bring back something or you'd catch something?

AJ: I guess a little bit, both of the roommates that were working were working in nursing homes, because they're CNAs. So their rules were very strict about it, too. So they were wearing full PPE. So I guess we were a little bit concerned, but they were taking all the precautions that they could. While still being able to work. So I guess for us, we disinfected literally every surface all the time. We wore masks when we went into places. And then one of my roommates that worked. She was the one that went to the stores the majority of the time so that if anybody was going to be like exposed, it would be her because she was already working. So.


AR: Okay, so you had a designated person then?

AJ: Yeah.

AR: Okay. And about the COVID protocols. Were you all in agreement with them at first about the masking, the social distancing? Was there much friction, or?

AJ: Yeah, so one of our roommates was very strict about having no one over having, unless they lived in the house, they couldn't be there. So that kind of caused a little bit of trouble. Because at the time, one of my other roommates had a boyfriend that wanted to come stay with us. And we were super bored. So we were like, we kind of want some friends to come over. But we all agreed that my one roommates boyfriend could stay at the house, as long as he stayed there and wasn't going back and forth to his like parents house. And so once we figured that out, we just didn't have anybody else over. And then it was kind of worked out.

AR: And how long was that for?

AJ: Oh, gosh, I want to say he stayed with us for like, a month or two. And we 00:14:00didn't have anybody else in the house other than us that live there and him. So.

AR: Yeah. And were, were you ever personally affected by COVID?

AJ: Yes, I had COVID. Last year.

AR: Last year, and how was it? Any symptoms? How did you feel?

AJ: It kind of felt like a cold for me. All my roommates got it at the same time. So one of my roommates was super sick. But her test came back negative the first time and we were told her she was just being dramatic. But it turned out she did have COVID. So then we felt kind of bad, but only one of my roommates got really really sick and felt bad and the rest of us it just kind of felt like the cold or the flu. So it wasn't awful.

AR: Okay, and could you describe more like really, really sick and felt bad?

AJ: She could not get out of bed. She had like, really bad headaches. She couldn't, I think one day she didn't turn on a single light on in the house. And 00:15:00then noise really affected her. And we all lost our taste and smell, which personally I think that was the worst part because it makes you not want to eat if you can't enjoy what you're eating, and the texture of things you realize is super weird. Like, we had McDonald's delivered one day. And all I have to say is McDonald's when you can't taste it is not good. It's really gross, actually.

AR: Yeah, I bet. And so since you, you all had COVID at the same time?

AJ: Yeah.

AR: Okay, how did you deal with that in your house? Were you just okay roaming around then since you all had it? Or what kind of safety did you take?

AJ: We all got our test results back within a day of each other. So we were able to just kind of like go around the house as we please, because everybody had it. But when the first roommate got it, we decided that if nobody else had it, that 00:16:00we would just have to like stay in our rooms. Or if one of us got it, the one that had COVID had to stay in their room. So luckily, we all got it. And we could just kind of like hang out since we already had it. It wasn't like a risk of getting anybody that wasn't sick, sick. So it worked out in that way.

AR: That's good. And was your family ever affected by this?

AJ: Yes. My sister got COVID and both of my parents got COVID.

AR: And how were their symptoms?

AJ: My dad was also very sick. He was just super tired. Headaches. Coughing a lot. My mom was really tired. And my sister I think she was fine. I don't really know, she quarantined in our family's camper. So I didn't really talk to her that much while she was quarantined. But yeah.

AR: Okay but nothing, no hospitalizations or anything?


AJ: No.

AR: Okay, that's good. And then, you were not able to physically be with your family at this time. So how did you stay in contact with them?

AJ: I am very thankful for FaceTime because I FaceTimed my brother every day for like a month of quarantine, and FaceTimedmy sister a lot. My parents don't have iPhones. So we made use of like Snapchat video call. And then, like with my extended family, we couldn't be together, like I said, for Easter. So we did like a huge family like FaceTime video. We did that a couple times during quarantine, which was really beneficial and super helpful because when you can't see them in person, at least you get to, like see their face when you talk to them.

AR: Yeah, of course. And so the pandemic did hit the March of 2020. And it was still going on. So how are holiday spent like Thanksgiving? Christmas? You mentioned Easter was online?

AJ: Yeah, I want to say every holiday after Easter, it's kind of been back to 00:18:00normal. We still, we go to like grandparents, or aunts and uncles. For every other holiday, I want to say other than Easter, just because that was like in the very beginning. I think there was a lot more unknowns then. But then, every holiday after that, it's been the same, but people, some people choose not to come if they're not comfortable with it, but the option has been there for every other holiday.

AR: Okay. And did your family ever face any issues during this time? And how did you feel about their health?

AJ: What do you mean by that?

AR: Like, were you ever worried about them getting sick? Well, they did get sick, but prior to them getting sick, were you concerned or just because you couldn't be there to physically help them if they needed it?

AJ: Yeah, I guess my parents are pretty young. And they're both pretty healthy. 00:19:00So I wasn't super concerned about them. But I do have a great grandmother who's in her hundreds. So a little bit concerned for her. And then my grandparents are also they're getting older. And so some of them have health problems. And some of them actually still work. So I guess I was just a little concerned for them, I guess still am because COVID is still thing but just in the beginning, I was especially worried because they're older, they have compromised immune systems, their body can't fight the virus off. So in the beginning, I definitely was more worried about my grandparents than anything.

AR: Yeah, of course. And regarding your classes in schoolwork, how did you find the transition to online learning? How hard was that? How did you manage group projects or final projects or any labs if you had any?

AJ: Oh gosh, in the spring. I, most of my classes kind of went to the 00:20:00asynchronous, so kind of at your own pace, except for I had a PBIS class, which is statistics. And I really struggled with math. So that was very difficult for me. I honestly didn't think I was gonna pass. But my professor was super awesome. Any questions I had, he would answer them in an email or put a video out for the whole class, because I'm sure he said, most people had a lot of the same questions. So that was super nice. The rest of my classes. One of them was already online, I believe. And the other ones were a lot of like self taught anyway. So they just moved it to an online format. So everything was submitted, virtually. And then I don't think I had many, if any, I don't think group projects to work on.

AR: And how was it listening to lectures online? Was that difficult?


AJ: Yes, I find it very difficult to focus, especially if they're pre-recorded. I get very distracted very easily. So if they're not happening, like live, I really don't focus because there's no chance of me being called on. So it's like, I don't have to listen. I should obviously, but I zone out.

AR: Yeah. And did you ever have any technology issues at home?

AJ: I had WiFi problems really bad. Like, our Wifi would just go down sometimes. So that was really stressful, especially if I like an exam or something. Because a lot of times, it like logs you out and then it says you're done. So that was stressful, but thankfully, nothing ever happened during like a big exam or anything. It went out a couple times while I was listening to a lecture or something, but at least it was nothing like an exam or a quiz.


AR: How did you separate your school from your free time? How did you balance school and like, you know, just being at home?

AJ: I usually did school right away in the morning. That way, I didn't have an excuse later on, like, oh, I don't really want to do it. So I did it right away. That way it was done. And if I had any questions, I could email professors right away instead of late at night. And then also my roommates that were working. They worked in the mornings, so we could do stuff in the afternoon when they got home then.

AR: Okay, so you had a pretty good hold on it, then.

AJ: Yeah.

AR: What was it like changing your routine from getting ready to go to class on campus to now just getting ready to log into your computer? Did anything change? Or did it remain the same?

AJ: It definitely changed. I don't think I put on jeans for like months. But 00:23:00then once I did, like, go back to work, I really, like appreciate now being able to go into work more. And like having a routine and even coming to class like in person. I really enjoy it a lot more. And I think I definitely took for granted going in person because I am not an online learner at all.

AR: Yeah, so you don't like it at all?

AJ: My grades were definitely better, but I don't think I learned as much.

AR: Okay, so the in person is where you can learn better.

AJ: Yeah.

AR: Alright, and so since we were online, what were your feelings about finishing up the semester?

AJ: I was just ready to be done. Honestly. I think I finished all of my classes and everything like a week early, just because I was like, I want to be done. I can't focus on this anymore. I'm not learning anything, really. So I was just ready to be done at that point.

AR: Yeah. And you had mentioned that you had switched your major a couple times, 00:24:00did COVID ever impact your major or your timeline of graduating or anything?

AJ: COVID did not affect it negatively or anything. If anything, I think it made me want to be a social worker even more, just because seeing all of these cases of people that really need help, like, a lot of people that were homeless really had nowhere to go or people were losing their jobs. And so social workers would have been someone that they could have turned to. So I think in that aspect, it made me really be like, Yeah, this is definitely what I want to do to be able to help all these people.

AR: Yeah, that's awesome. And with everything that happened, and so quickly, how are you feeling emotionally?

AJ: I definitely, me and my roommates cried a lot together. Just I guess you miss your families a lot. And then it's one thing when you know, you're having fun and you don't really have time to go home. But it's a different thing when 00:25:00you have all the time in the world, and you can't go see the people you really want to see. So that was definitely sad. Very emotional. Yeah, for sure.

AR: Yeah, that is. So how did you guys deal like cope with that?

AJ: Just talking to each other was like really important and being honest, because my friends and I are not very, like, emotional people in general. So being able to, like, open up to each other was super important. And just be honest, like, yeah, today, I really missed my family. Like, there's nothing you can do, but just letting them know that like you really miss them. So having people to turn to.

AR: Yeah, that is important. So at this time, were you involved in any romantic relationships or any friendships in general? How was that? How would you stay in contact with them?

AJ: No relationship but I did have some friends like back home. And so we 00:26:00FaceTimed all the time. I missed my best friend's 21st birthday, though, which was pretty sad. But, you know, I mean, you have to do what you have to do but definitely talking on FaceTime texting, I sent some letters to some of my friends just because getting mail is super fun for me. And I feel like nobody sends mail anymore. So just something to like, brighten their day.

AR: Yeah that's awesome. So once the semester ended, how did your life change? Did you work? Well, you did work in the summer. But also, did you take any vacations? Were you able to see any friends?

AJ: Yeah, I pretty much just worked through this summer. Towards the end of the summer, I went to Mackinac Island in Michigan, with my sister, and then a couple friends. But that's really all that I did other than work.


AR: And how was that vacation was anything like, you know, COVID different?

AJ: Yeah. It was, it was a good vacation. Definitely interesting, because of COVID. You had to wear masks everywhere unless you were eating and it's super hot in the summer. So it's not fun to wear a mask. We had to take a ferry to Mackinac Island. And you had to wear a mask for that, which it was super hot so just didn't want to wear a mask. So different things like that were affected there were things that weren't open because of COVID. So, yeah.

AR: Yeah. Okay. And so how did you spend your summer of 2020? You said you worked a lot, but what kind of things did you do for fun?

AJ: Crafting, still, but like I like during quarantine we just, like hiked a lot. Tried different places, we found like different islands that you could go 00:28:00hiking. Yeah, so nothing super crazy. But.

AR: Okay. And in the summer of 2020 quarantine got lifted and things were starting to go more back to normal, what kind of things were back to normal?

AJ: I want to say like, you could do more things. So things like that were fun or like, weren't essential were starting to open back up. And like, in clothing stores, you could try things on again, which was really nice. But I definitely think slowly, things were opening up. And I mean, to this day, things aren't the same that they used to be so. I don't know really.

AR: Okay. What was your attitude about things changing back to normal again?


AJ: I am very much for things going back to normal. I can't wait for everything to open back up and not have to wear masks and not have to worry about it anymore.

AR: Yeah, of course. And how did your behaviors change from having to quarantine to now having more freedom to go out and do things?

AJ: Super excited. The whole idea of quarantining is super stressful just because you're just stuck. Like you're stuck at home. There's not much to do. So, being able to get out was awesome. Being able to socialize with different people was like the best because I am a talker and talking to the same four people for months at a time was not for me.

AR: Yeah. Now let's talk about Fall of 2020. When you learned that UW-Oshkosh was returning to in person classes for the fall 2020 semester, what was your reaction?


AJ: I was excited. But it turned out that I took all my classes online anyway because of like work and stuff like that it just worked better for me. But all of them were synchronous, so I had to log in and do zoom. So I did learn that way since they weren't asynchronous, there was a chance of me being called on, and, ask questions. So I definitely did pay attention. I took more out of it than I did in the spring of 2020.

AR: Okay, and do you think that was the best decision for you?

AJ: Yeah, definitely just because with my work schedule, and then I nannied for a while. It wouldn't have been like, it wouldn't have worked if I went in person.

AR: Okay. And since you're online, did you ever come to campus for anything?

AJ: No, I had not been on campus for like, a year. Like, I don't think I went, 00:31:00came at all last year.

AR: Okay, so in spring, you also?

AJ: I was online in spring, too. So this is my first semester back on campus.

AR: Alright, so this is your first semester back, what is different about it? Or, you know, since you were here before COVID was relevant, what kind of changes do you see now?

AJ: Some things that are different. Definitely, like masks and stuff like that my sister lives on campus. And some things that are different for her are like the dining hall. So you guys, I know. Like, last year, you guys had to sit separately or like, whatever. Super different than for us. And then just, I think like, in academic buildings, you had to sit every other or something like that. Which was also different. I think just like the amount of people that are on campus was completely different. Because like, I would go for walks with my 00:32:00roommates, and we'd go walk through campus. And there, it was like a ghost town. But my freshman year, it didn't matter the time of day you'd walk in, there would be groups of people all over. So that was definitely something that super weird at first. And it's nice to have, like, a good amount of people back

AR: Were your roommates also online, or did any of them come to campus?

AJ: I think I was the only one that was just online. So I think the rest of them all came.

AR: Okay. So did they ever come back and talk to you about it or anything?

AJ: Yeah they said it was definitely different. Just because so many people could go online, so their classes were smaller in person, too. And then they had seating charts for contact tracing and such like, stuff like that. So definitely different.

AR: Yeah, definitely. And at your house, did you ever find yourself isolating 00:33:00yourself a lot there?

AJ: No. Just because like I said, I'm very talkative. So if any of my roommates are home, I always go distract them because that's just who I am.

AR: Awesome. Did your interactions with other people change? Do you, did you become a less social individual because of COVID?

AJ: I definitely think I became more anxious, like in big groups of people. But like, the social aspect of like, me being a talker and stuff like that, I don't think that's changed.

AR: Okay. And since you were like, all online, and you worked, how was it about meeting new people? Were you able to do that? Or did you kind of just stick to the friends you already had?

AJ: Luckily, I have really awesome coworkers. So I made a lot of friends at work and through work. And then through my cohort in the social work department, I've made some friends but since I like, couldn't go, really like out to restaurants 00:34:00or out to like bars and stuff like that, or like concerts, I wasn't meeting new people in like those aspects, but I did meet other people. But I have stuck with like, mostly the same group of friends.

AR: Okay. And really to online education. We were able to do like a hybrid approach, whether you could be in person or online. How do you feel the departments and faculty did with this approach? Do you believe you were still getting a good education?

AJ: Yeah, so personally, my classes were all social work in the social work department. And I think they did a great job doing the hybrid models, because I think I got the same education that those that went in person got, which I think is really important when you have the option for a hybrid model. So I definitely think at least social, the Social Work department handles that really well.


AR: Okay, yeah. And that, that's awesome. So now we're in the fall of 2021. And vaccines are readily available on campus and in fact, strongly advocated by administration in the CDC, what were your thoughts about getting the vaccine?

AJ: I was and still am conflicted. I did get the vaccine, just because if I'm being honest, I didn't want to get tested every week. But there's still a lot that we don't know about it. Still a lot that needs to be tested on and everything. So I think that's kind of where my concern was that we just don't have long term. We don't know the long term effects of it. But I also know that, like, my grandparents feel much better knowing that I have the vaccine when I go to visit them, or my great grandma, you know. So, I mean, there's pros and cons to it, just like there's pros and cons to everything relating to COVID.


AR: Yeah, so was it very vital when that came out for a lot of your family members to get it?

AJ: Yeah, a lot of my family got it as soon as they could. I know, my grandparents got it when they could, some of my aunts and uncles got it like right away when they could and as well as my parents. But for me, I kind of wanted to wait and just see, like, how it plays out. And if I didn't have to get tested, weekly, I probably wouldn't have gotten the vaccine yet, just because like I said, we still don't really know long term effects of it, but I got it. So.

AR: Okay, yeah. And so UWO and along with other UW campuses, or universities, had a VAX UP campaign to try to get their student vaccination rate to what they wanted it to be. And if you submitted your vaccine card, you could enter to win scholarships. What was your thought about this?


AJ: I mean, it was a good idea. Especially because a lot of people, a lot of college students will do, and a lot of things for money. So I think that, in hindsight, it was really good to get people's attention, like, Oh, if you do this, here's some $100, you know, but I don't really I mean, it didn't affect me personally, because I was like, at that point, I didn't want to get the vaccine. So I didn't get it at that point, to get the money. So for some people, they, I feel like that wouldn't really affect them. if they're 100% they don't want to get it. I don't think that that will persuade them to get it.

AR: Yeah, for sure. And so how much do you feel things are getting back to normal now in fall of 2021? And as for that matter, what is normal to you?

AJ: If I'm being honest, I don't know that we're ever going to get back to normal pre COVID. I think there's going to be a new normal post COVID. I don't 00:38:00know what that looks like. Hopefully, it is without masks and without, like, COVID restrictions. But I feel like it's just so unknown. At this point, anyway. So I don't know. But hopefully the new normal happens soon.

AR: Okay. And for school, could you have an idea maybe of what normal would be like for school?

AJ: I feel like eventually a COVID vaccine is going to be mandatory for universities or like, even for kids in high school, middle school, elementary. I feel like it's going to, that's going to be the new normal for sure is that vaccines are going to be mandatory for like, the new normal.

AR: And how do you feel about that?

AJ: I guess I don't really, I don't really have an opinion one way or the other. I mean, vaccines, other vaccines are required. So I mean, it makes sense in that 00:39:00way. But I also know there's opposing arguments, too. So yeah.

AR: Of course. And are there any aspects about COVID life at school you think won't change back? Like the cleaning, maybe the masking?

AJ: I think. I don't really know. Honestly, I guess I wasn't as affected by like the changes on campus as some people just because I don't didn't live on campus during COVID. And I didn't even come to like campus for classes during COVID. Like the beginning of it, so I don't really know.

AR: Yeah. And then also back to you not being on campus at all, how did you feel about that? Were you ever, like, what were your emotions towards not being on campus at all during that year?

AJ: I definitely feel like I missed out on like, a big part of college. Just 00:40:00because I feel like part of being in college is being on campus. So I definitely think I missed out a little bit on there. But in the moment, being virtual was what was best for me. So.

AR: Yeah. Okay. And what have you learned from COVID?

AJ: I definitely think going with the flow is something I needed to learn. And so just things change super, like last minute or, like, all the time, so definitely, just going with the flow has been something that COVID has taught me.

AR: Yeah, for sure. And are there like any other aspects of yourself? Do you think that COVID might have changed?

AJ: I think I learned about myself that I thrive in social settings. But because 00:41:00of being like being stuck with the same people during COVID and not like socializing, like I mentioned earlier, definitely, like makes me more anxious in big crowds of people, because we weren't in big crowds of people for so long. So I think that that kind of stuff COVID definitely affected.

AR: Yeah, for sure. So in 50 years, what do you think when people look back on us, what do you think they'll say about us?

AJ: Oh, gosh, I don't really even know if I'm being honest. I feel like a lot of what people did was TIK TOKS, social media. So I don't really know what is gonna be, like talked about in 50 years.

AR: Yeah, it's definitely uncertain.

AJ: Yeah.

AR: Alright, and do you have anything else you want to add?


AJ: I don't think so.

AR: No? Alright well, thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate your contribution to the campus COVID stories at UW-Oshkosh.