Interview with Ashley Klopatek, 11/16/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐NC: This is Nicole Censky. I'm interviewing Ashley Klopatek on November 16 2021. For Campus COVID stories. Instructor is Grace Lim, is also with us. Campus COVID stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences in the time of COVID. So thank you for sharing your stories with us. So first off, could you please pronounce your name and spell it out for us?

AK: My name is Ashley Klopatek, A S H L E Y K L O P A T E K and I am a sophomore here at UW Oshkosh and a nursing major.

NC: And how old are you?

AK: I am 20 years old.

NC: Awesome. All right. So to begin, I'll introduce myself and her a little bit. We actually became best friends over quarantine. So we are interviewing each 00:01:00other as close friends so it's gonna be a little bit more conversational. But, so to begin, let's start with what is your first and last name and where did you grow up?

AK: Okay, my first name is Ashley. My last name is Klopatek. And so I grew up in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, which is a very small town in the north woods there. So I call it. But I currently live in Minocqua, Wisconsin, and that is a very big tourist town. I'm sure a lot of people have heard of it. But I did graduate in Tomahawk.

NC: Very cool. Yes. Did your parents ever obtain a college degree?

AK: No. Well, my mom did not, my mom was a realtor. She never went to college. She barely graduated high school. She actually found out the day of graduation 00:02:00that she was actually going to graduate. But then my dad did go to college, he went to UW Stevens Point.

NC: Awesome. So um, so what is your degree? And why did you choose Oshkosh to pursue that degree?

AK: So I am a nursing major. I chose Oshkosh because of their amazing program. Their nursing program is known throughout Wisconsin to be one of the best. And I came here and I toured it. And I talked to the dean of the nursing program when I came to tour, and I loved it. So I decided that this is definitely where I want to go to school. This is where I want to be.

NC: Awesome. So what year were you in school when COVID began?

AK: So I was actually still in high school. I was a senior in high school. So I was actually in my economics class with one of my favorite teachers. I really enjoyed that class because of his style of teaching. But I remember sitting there having a discussion about COVID because we didn't know what's going to 00:03:00happen yet. And he goes, "Well, actually, guys, we're gonna be going home for two weeks, because of COVID." And we're like, all of us got so excited. We were freaking out for like, "yeah, two weeks of spring break," because it happened around the time of spring break. And none of us thought anything of it. And we were all super excited. And then he goes, "guys, I don't think we're going to come back. I think you guys are going to miss out on the rest of your senior year. No you guys are going to be home for the rest." And we're like, "no, no, we're just going to be two weeks." No one believed him. Two weeks would go by and we got another email saying that we're not going to come back. And all of us seniors are destroyed. We were heartbroken about it. And so what we decided to do was not very smart. All the senior class decided that we need to get together one last time, you know, like just to have something to close out our senior year. And so all of us got together the day we were supposed to graduate, on 00:04:00school property. And it was just the parking lot. It wasn't anything like we were in the school, it was just a school parking lot. And we just all get to other parked our cars in a circle. We were listening to music, and the school organized an event right at, I think it was eight o'clock. They turned the football field lights on for us as a remembrance for our class because we didn't get a graduation. But all of us decided to come. And we decided that it wasn't good enough for us just to be in the parking lot. Let's go on the football field. So we all charged the football field. We did a lap around the track. And then we all got a picture. No masks, no nothing. All of us close together. And someone posted it. And the news got it. The news got a hold of it. The news, they weren't happy and then actually our senior class, Tomahawk class of 2020, ended up on the news, because we broke COVID protocols, and we all got together. 00:05:00We got a lot of hate for it, which, in retrospect, it was not smart to do we shouldn't have done it, you know, we were putting a lot of people's lives at risk. And it was not a smart decision. But we just wanted one last thing because our school refused to give us a graduation, they refused to give us anything. So we were like, "Let's take something for ourselves." And that's what we did. But thinking back on it, I think that was very selfish, and very childish, for sure. But it is something I will always remember that we did, and knowing now that no one ended up getting COVID from it, and no one got hurt. I can laugh about it.

NC: Right.

AK: It's something that I am okay with, like, oh, okay, it ended up fine. But it could have ended badly, but it didn't type of thing. So.

NC: Yeah. Okay, so once school shut down, obviously, a lot of high schools were not ready to have to provide online classes. So how was your school doing about 00:06:00that? Like, what were your classes, like, because I know a lot were-

AK: So as you know, going to northern Wisconsin, we don't have a lot going on there technology wise. I mean, we all had our computers, you know, but we probably have had them since sixth grade. And we were seniors in high school. So they're very old. And none of our teachers knew how to do online school. Everyone was new at it, whether it was students, teachers administration, no one knew what they were doing. So we ended up online and they gave the teachers I think it was like two or three weeks to figure it out. Like they're like, "Hey, you got three weeks to figure this out, but we need to do something with online school." So one of my classes, just straight up nothing she was just like "whatever grade you had, when we went left is the grade you'll have". And that's it. No assignments, no tests, no homework, nothing. And I mean, it was advanced health. So it wasn't anything very difficult anyways. But I was very shocked. My 00:07:00math class was the only class where we actually had to login and go to class for. I was in trigonometry. So my teacher was like, "Hey, we're still gonna have class, we're still gonna have homework, we're still gonna have quizzes and tests." And we're like, okay, understandable, you know, but it wasn't the same. Like, he would be like, "okay, if you log-" because no one wanted to go to class, they were like, you can get away with not going. So he was like, "if you come to class, I'll give you two questions that are going to be on the quiz." He would give us like a little, you know, like, little presents if we went to class, kind of like, you only knew that if you went to class. So it worked out. The people that actually put in the effort definitely got better grades. But then most of my other classes, my teachers didn't do anything. My English class, we just had to do a paper that was due on like the last day of school. And that was pretty much it. It was my senior year, I was in a lot of like study halls, I 00:08:00didn't really have a lot of classes. I was in the process of getting my CNA license during my senior year. So that was kind of difficult because we had to stop doing the class because of COVID. And you can't really take CNA online.

NC: Right.

NC: Because you needed to be there to practice the skills and learn. So I ended up actually finishing in getting my CNA license over the summer. Before my freshman year of college. We just went to like the college up there, Nicolet college. It's a small tech by me. And we ended up just going in there to finish a class. We couldn't do clinicals so we just practice skills on each other, unlike my other classmates, and I ended up getting my license and taking the test and I passed and I worked as a CNA.

NC: Nice. So after your school got shut down, obviously you guys thought you were coming back after two weeks. You guys probably had lockers, right? So how did, I know a lot of schools conducted like individuals were allowed to come in 00:09:00and get their lockers cleaned out? How did that work for you guys?

AK: Okay, so they didn't let us get stuff out of our lockers until the last week of school. So we weren't allowed. Like it wasn't like when they decided oh, we're not coming back. You can go get stuff. It was the last week of school.

NC: But did they tell you like you're gonna need like, did you bring enough stuff home or did you-

AK: No so that's the thing, I left so much stuff in there. Like, there were teachers that were like, "Okay, bring everything home like you don't know when we're coming back." But all of us were like ignorant kids were like, "Oh, we're coming back." Like, we're just gonna have a long spring break. So a lot of people left stuff in there or like food, the amount stories I've heard of the food that was left in people's lockers was hilarious like molded sandwiches and like it was very gross. But what they ended up doing is- so originally supposed to be okay, it'll be like a grade. They will come into the school and get their stuff. But then they decided that that wasn't safe, which I was actually very 00:10:00upset about because I just wanted one last time walking through the halls one last, like, good memory of being in that school before, it wasn't part of my life anymore. And I never got that. And that was really hard for me like I just remember, when we found out we weren't going to get a graduation when we found out we weren't going to be able to go back into the school one more time or say bye to our teachers, or just get any of those memories back. I broke down crying because even though I hated, supposedly, my school, it still was 12 years of my life. And it was hard to like, let it go. And like not being able to go walk for my graduation or anything like that was very difficult. But so they ended up we would just pull up in our cars. And it was obviously a small school. So we didn't have to tell them our name, they knew who we were. And they would go grab our garbage bag full of stuff from our locker and bring it out to us.


NC: Yeah.

AK: And they're like, "Here you go." And then we would have to give them the books back like our school books. And that was all we got. There was nothing very special. And it was really hard. But I remember our parents knew how upset we were about this that we're all struggling with it. And our school wasn't giving us a graduation. So what we did is we did a boat graduation. So we all had like pontoons for boats - in northern Wisconsin, there's a lot of lakes, most of us have boats. So and if you didn't, we'd like anyone could come on the boat. So it's like big groups of people on each boat. And we would all- there was a bay, and where we would have our ski shows called Kwahamot Bay. And so all the teachers, parents, and family friends are obviously spaced out because COVID was still like this the heart of COVID, came to watch us drive around on the boats in our cap and gowns, swimsuits, cap and gown. And like air horns, 00:12:00balloons and everything just to go around and give us something and everyone was so excited. My boat let off a bunch of balloons into the sky when we went around. And it was just really cool. It made us feel special. Like it definitely was like, I don't know how like light at the end of the tunnel even though we weren't at the end of the tunnel for COVID It was the light at the end of the tunnel for our high school experience. So it's definitely really nice to be able to have that memory.

NC: Yeah, I remember seeing those pictures. Those are very nice.

AK: Yeah.

NC: Okay, so obviously, that was like the beginning of the COVID shutdown. So during the COVID shutdown, were there any like, like things you picked up like hobbies? Or like I know a lot of people bought pets or had COVID babies?

AK: Yes.

NC: But were there any hobbies that you picked up? Or things that you bought? That you probably would not have if you were just having an average summer?

AK: Yeah. I will tell you right now, I did not have a COVID baby. But, um, I'm 00:13:00trying to think so. I worked a lot during COVID. So definitely, I didn't have as much free time as all my other friends because they were like no school, no work because a lot of people weren't essential workers, whatever. But um, we did like a lot of family like walks together because it was so nice. I'm very family orientated family is huge to me, as you know. And so we did like family walks or family games, or we would spend a lot more time together which is really nice. I spent a lot of my, at the time, boyfriend and his family because we were all very safe about it. And he wasn't in contact with anyone else because we weren't in school. And he didn't work that summer because it was hard for him to find a job because of COVID and his parents were working from home. My parents were working from home, I was the only one actually going to work. So it was very 00:14:00safe. My dad did buy a dog. I will say that my dad bought a dog it was kind of like late in the COVID times, but he did buy a dog Cooper, who's a silver lab. Very cute.

NC: But he got rid of Cooper?

AK: He did get rid of Cooper because now things are back to normal. Or more normal I guess.

NC: Right.

AK: And he's constantly gone for work because he got a promotion so he's traveling more. He was gone more and we don't obviously live with him, because of college. He lives in Oconto that's like three hours away from my home. And so he's just like all on his own. Like if he had to go somewhere and no one was there to watch him so. I miss Cooper. Cooper is really cute. But I don't have any fun, exciting COVID stories that I like bought, but it was definitely a lot like going out more doors. Because that's all you could really do was go outside and go do that.

NC: For sure. So you had mentioned that you worked as an essential worker. What was your job?

AK: So during my senior year in like that summer, like the end of my senior 00:15:00year, and that summer, during COVID, I worked as a CNA at a nursing home, Milestone Senior Living.

NC: And what is a CNA? What are their job tasks?

AK: Okay, so a CNA is a certified nursing assistant. So basically, our main responsibility is helping our residents, patients and staff with activities of daily living. So getting out of bed, getting dressed, brushing teeth, brushing hair, bathing, going to the bathroom, getting them around, like whether it's to, like in a nursing home to the dining hall, or if it's down to the movie room or down, you know, anything that they need. But also, it's also just being someone that they can talk to being there for them, especially during COVID. They are kind of family, so I was the person that they would talk to, or be there for or comfort. And I definitely would consider them a part of my family.

NC: Did any of their family reach out to the nursing home saying like, "Could 00:16:00you please like, make sure that they're getting extra attention?" Or how did that work?

AK: So at the beginning, it was definitely really difficult for families, especially with our dementia patients, or rapid declining patients. They struggled with it because they didn't know how long their like family member would have. And so at the beginning, we would let like, okay, outside visitations or through the window, because we were only on the memory care side, like dementia patients, it was only one floor. And so though, like the family could come to their window, and talk. We had to quickly stop that though, because we did get a case of COVID because of allowing that, one of our patients got COVID from a family member from talking to them through the window because the window was open, and it was just a screen. So that was a very difficult time working there. Especially when I was only 18 years old. And I was working 00:17:00nonstop. I mean days and nights I would spend, I was basically living there. And some of my coworkers actually were living there. They brought in cots and mattresses and beds for people to live there because they couldn't go home because of family. And then we didn't have enough staff, because staff was refusing to come in because of COVID, which they had the right to do. But being an 18 year old, and still coming in and risking the life of my mother who has severe asthma, my stepdad who has diabetes, and all this, like medical issues, it's just, and I was still willing to risk it like, but that's what you have to do. It's what you're signing up for being in healthcare, and they need someone because if no one is there to take care of them, what's going to happen, like, if that was my grandparents, I would want them to still come in and take care of my family, and do what has to be done. And this is part of being in healthcare, 00:18:00you know, you have to know what you're signing up for. And it can be scary sometimes, but as long as you have the proper PPE or being smart about it and safe, like it'll be okay, like I never contracted COVID When I was working at Milestone the nursing home, and even while I worked at the hospital, I never got COVID because we followed protocol, follow PPE. And we were so there for them and comforting them, and we would hold their hand and we would spend hours in their rooms. But, as long as you're smart about it, you should be safe, you should be fine. And especially with all the vaccines out there, you know, most places are requiring them to get the vaccine. You know, it'll make you even safer from it.

NC: Yeah. So did your parents ever say anything? Like, like, Oh, I'm worried that you're working in a place where like, COVID is becoming a thing or like, were they nervous that like you were coming home every night? Like did it ever make you feel uncomfortable?

AK: Um, yes. So my parents were concerned. So what actually happened is how I 00:19:00found out that there was COVID in the nursing home I was working at, it wasn't even through my boss. It was through my friend's dad, because my friend's dad is a doctor. And like they get reports on how many cases and like where they are with COVID and he got told that there was a case of COVID in Milestone Senior Living. And my sister was dating his son so he told my sister. My sister told me that there was a case of COVID in there. I didn't get a call about it until an hour before I went into work that there was a case of COVID in the building and that if I did not feel comfortable coming to work, I didn't have to and I told my parents I was like, "hey, there's a case of COVID like. Are you guys okay with me going to work? Like are you fine with me like potentially getting COVID you guys potentially in COVID?" And my mom's like, "It is not up to me. It's up 00:20:00to you. Do you feel comfortable?" And I was like, "there's no doubt in my mind, I am completely fine going to work." I'm not scared to get it, like, whatever is supposed to happen will happen. I'm supposed to get it. I'm supposed to get it. But all I care about is the people and patients getting cared for because they're like family, I know what they like to eat and all they like to drink. I know all about their family. I know what they like to do before bed or what song they want to listen to if what TV channel they need, like, they need us there, and I want to be there. They're like a family. And I was like, there's no doubt in my mind that I want to go. I want to be there for them. And my mom was like, "okay, then you go like, It's fine with us. Like we understand it." The only thing that my parents were not okay with me doing was kissing my grandparents, which I totally get. I was getting tested every week at work. So we were like, on top of it. Like I wasn't like, Oh, I could have an I didn't know type of 00:21:00thing. It was like a prick. So it wasn't the swabs like we're used to here. It was like blood, they'd prick your finger and then test your blood. But so I knew, you know, like I knew I wasn't really potentially going to get it. Because we're going to test and we're on top of it, but it was still very scary. And my parents are okay with that. So I was like, I'm going to do it when I go to work.

NC: So did anybody from your job like workers that you were so used to seeing every day, did any of them decide that it was like too much to work with COVID and they just stopped working?

AK: Yeah, there we lost a lot of workers and we lost I would say probably like maybe half our staffing. So the administration had to come in and sleep there and live there and work as a CNA because we didn't have night shift workers basically, there was no night shift. It was basically we had a couple on day, maybe one night and otherwise we needed administration's help with it. And I 00:22:00know everyone was very surprised that I was still coming in. Because I was the youngest there. Like I was at that point, I was working as a CNA for maybe a month or two. I was very new at it. I was young, like I technically didn't need to work. I mean, to pay for tuition? Yes. A lot. But um, I didn't have to work because I was in high school or like graduating soon. So they were all like, why are you coming in? Like, you don't even need to be here. And I'm like, I'm not about to leave you guys hanging, let alone these patients and their families like, I was like No, and I enjoyed it. I liked my job. And I still do to this day. And so it wasn't that big of a deal. But I was very shocked when I saw people who that this was their career. And they chose not to come in. They're like, No, too risky. I'm not going to do it. And they would collect unemployment. And I was 18. I didn't need to work. I didn't have to like it, but 00:23:00I was still coming in. And it was very shocking to me because I was like how do you not care for these people enough that you've been caring for them for years, and I've only been doing it for a month or two? And you just wipe your hands clean of it. I just didn't get it.

NC: So did you get extra pay while you were working? Like did you get a raise at all for COVID hazard?

AK: No, we did not. We were very upset when we found out we were not getting hazardous pay because of- especially because we were worked at Milestone, which is a chain. We heard that other Milestones were getting hazardous pay, but we weren't. And we were so mad. I think we ended up getting like, on one paycheck, we ended up getting like an extra $100. Like that was it. That's all we got and-

NC: I'd be so mad.

AK: Oh, I was so mad. Especially like, because we had patients that had a COVID.

NC: Yeah.


AK: So we were like, "Why aren't we getting hazard pay?"

NC: Yeah.

AK: And they were basically just like, "Oh, we don't have the money." Like, we- I'm not even kidding you. We had to start wearing garbage bags, like we had to start coming up with other ideas 'cause we're running out of PPE. We didn't have anything really.

NC: What is PPE?

AK: So PPE is like the protective gear that you have to wear. So like gowns, masks, face shields, gloves, booties, like anything that you have to wear to protect yourself from contracting a disease or virus. And we were running out of it. Everywhere was running out of it. It wasn't just us hospitals, nursing homes, and long term care facilities anywhere was running out of it. So we were buying garbage bags, we were buying anything we could to help protect ourselves because we were wearing the same gowns for weeks. We were wearing the same masks for weeks. N95s, we got one. Like it was-

NC: And you're supposed to dispose of those like every day, right?

AK: Yup.

NC: Wow.

AK: And so it was very. It wasn't the best scenario. But we did what we had to do.


NC: Yeah. So do you think the PPE thing was because, like, the supply chains were running low because people weren't delivering or was it? Because like they needed to give it to the hospitals or-

AK: Honestly, I honestly don't really know what was going on with that. If I had to take an educated guess on this, I think a lot of the PPE was going to the bigger cities. It was going to New York, Chicago, LA, you know, the big cities that were hitting hard. Yeah, you know, that's where it needed to go. And which is completely understandable. But that's when the Northwoods started to get hit bad. Because we were running out, our numbers are going up. And we were running out of PPE. We were running out of mask. We were running out of everything, because we were not the main concern, which I get, you know, New York was a huge hotspot. Yeah, they need you know, it'd be taken care of, but we were getting all the tourists from Illinois, Southern Wisconsin. You'd go to the grocery store. We couldn't get meat. We couldn't get toilet paper, which was pretty much 00:26:00everywhere. Yeah, we couldn't buy groceries. My mom was freaking out. She's like, I don't know what to do. If I go to the grocery store, and there's no food because the tourists were coming up and taking all of our food because they were out down by that. Yeah.

NC: So when you say- so you live in a tourist town like Tomahawk.

AK: Yep.

NC: But when they like, I know Chicago was a hotspot. So obviously people tried to flee that area.

AK: Yeah.

NC: Did a lot of them because you always tell me that people like summer homes or like up north homes in Minocqua.

AK: Oh, yeah.

NC: Did a lot of those people rush to Minocqua, did it get overpopulated?

AK: Yes. It was horrible. It literally felt like okay, summer in Minocqua. If you are from Minocqua, you know, driving there is like driving in Chicago. It is horrible. That's what it was like, it wasn't summer, it was like spring, there was still snow this spring. And it was so overpopulated there with the tourists. 00:27:00We didn't know what to do. You couldn't go to the grocery store. You couldn't go to gas stations, you could drive down the street without getting in a traffic jam, basically, because everyone was coming up. And as you know, the locals can deal with it during the summer. That was a whole year, the tourists weren't going back until probably the end of our freshman year of college, so last year, because you could still work from home and they're like, Hey, why would we go back? We can be Minocqua, right? We're lakes, we can go forward and we can go snowmobiling. It is beautiful. And I love it. And I get why they want to be here. But us locals were really getting screwed over.

NC: Yeah, I believe it.

AK: It was horrible. I mean, it's kind of funny because we're the locals. But like seeing them all come in. We're like, why on our territory. We're like, why are you guys here like this is- go back to your own place. But I mean, I get it. It's more- It's not as populated. So it's safer. It is safer. But you all come 00:28:00here and then it's not safe.

NC: Yeah, like they're coming from a hotspot. And then you're like, oh crap.

AK: Cause that's how our numbers got so high because they came by us. And then we all got COVID in like, we're all getting COVID at that point.

NC: That's ridiculous. Okay, so to bring it to the stance of being at UW Oshkosh. So when you were looking at colleges, were you nervous, because you were like, maybe I should take a gap year. Maybe I should just go online because you're gonna be online, like, did that make you nervous? Or did you feel like you needed to be in person? Because you're a nursing major?

AK: Yeah. So I mean, at that point, when we're going to school, I don't think my parents were too worried. Honestly, my, especially because of where we're from. We didn't really start getting hit hard until we were in college. So my parents weren't that worried about it. I mean, they were concerned like, hey, like, we don't want you to get it like be safe and be smart. But they weren't really 00:29:00freaking out. I wasn't really nervous about the whole COVID part. I was more nervous about being able to meet people in classes. And so like, how do you meet people, all your classes are online, all my classes were online, and if they were in person, there was an online option. You didn't have to go in person. And I was very nervous about meeting people. And I met you because we were neighbors and our whole floor was friends. Fourth floor, South Scott 2020 2021 year we were all close. And it was super nice. Like we all had our doors open. We had our friends. We all had our groups and it was super nice. And I think we really lucked out with that.

NC: For sure.

AK: Um, but we didn't have a long run. Me and you got COVID the day after my birthday. Second week of school I think first week second week.

NC: First week, you and I never got to go to classes.

AK: We never even got to go to classes. We both got COVID. And I remember I went to get my test like before class, before my ethics class. Okay, I'm walking to 00:30:00class, you know, whatever. My phone calls. It's a number from Green Bay, which Green Bay is where the phone calls come from if you have COVID.

NC: Yep.

AK: And I'm like, Oh, like this is it. This is- I answer. I'm like, Hello. She goes "is this Ashley Klopatek?" I'm like, "yup." She's like, "so you tested positive for COVID." And I'm like, freaking out. Okay. I'm like tears are clouding my eyes. It's like, because at this point, it was still new. I didn't know anyone that had COVID before this. So I was the first person I knew to have COVID. Like, obviously, like work, but no one close to me like no one young. Okay, so I didn't know how it's gonna affect me. I remember hanging up that phone. I was walking with some people the class. I turned around, didn't even tell them where I was going. And I walked through. They told me to get tested again. Yeah, went got tested.

NC: And then you met me on the street with Holly.

AK: Yes. Okay. So I wanted to tested. I'm calling my mom. I'm bawling. My mom's bawling. Everyone's like, why is this girl crying? Like I'm just standing there.

NC: Everybody's avoiding you?


AK: Yeah. Everyone's like, oh, no, like everyone knows, you know? And I'm like, Oh, no. And I'm like, they're gonna get tested. I'm on the phone with my mom and my dad, and they think I'm joking. They don't think it's serious. Like, oh, like, you're, you're trying to pull a fast one on us kind of thing. And I start crying. And my mom's like, oh, no, and like, my parents are freaking out. And I'm like, Hey, I'm going to get tested. Like, I have to get the PCRs like, I won't know for a couple days. But like, I'll keep you guys posted. I have to go pack and move into Webster. And my mom wouldn't let me come home because she was freaking out. And my dad was like, I don't want you coming home either. Like, I don't want to get it.

NC: Yeah, like they both had jobs.

AK: Yeah. And I was like, and I got it. Like I get like, some people might think that was like very like selfish to them. And I'm like, I get it and whatever. I go back to the dorms. And I find you and Holly and Taylor, and I'm like, "Guys, I tested positive. You all have to get tested." And I remember your test came back positive. My roommates did not and your roommates didn't, but we did and 00:32:00we're like how did they not get COVID? And um, we had to go quarantine at this point. We were not close. No, we were friends. We'd say hi. We weren't close. And this is how we got close. We spent like every woken minutes together like we were always together. And we just got so close. Like we didn't share a room. We had our own rooms-

NC: But now we look back and we're like why didn't we share-

AK: Why didn't we just share a room but I remember us moving in there. First off, no elevators. We were on the third floor. We had COVID so breathing was like an issue-

NC: And we took one trip.

AK: We were- they were like you're only allowed to take one trip. We had bags on bags. And I'm not- South Scott to Webster, it's all the way across campus. So imagine two girls with COVID are having issues breathing, walking on campus with bags and at this point, this was normal for us. Freshman year. If you knew if you saw someone walking with bags across campus, it's COVID that was completely normal. Everyone knew like you were like you'd look out your window and you like oh that person's going to quarantine. Like you just knew.


NC: And it was the week before they gave us those red carts.

AK: Yeah, we didn't get the red carts. So they would give up big red cards for you to wheel so you didn't have to carry all your stuff we didn't get that. Nah. So we get across campus finally get into Webster, no elevator because this is like one of the oldest dorms and we get to our rooms we are like okay not horrible. Like you know, it's whatever we go look at the bathroom. Oh, my God. First off, there is no guy girl bathroom. You have it's like all of you share a bathroom in the thing is the showers are not- so normal college showers, it's like a concrete or brick wall and then a curtain. No, these are all separated by curtains. Every wall is a curtain and every door is a curtain. It's all curtains. And there you would be in there showering when a guy is showering you didn't know like you in it felt very almost like unsafe. Like obviously nothing happened to us. Like we were fine. We had each other you know,


NC: But we had that one weird kid who-

AK: would purposely go shower when we were showering. Yeah, and I just felt like that was very unsafe like the campus did not think that through at all. Like how did they not think that putting guys and girls together especially when they have to share a bathroom and showers-

NC: Naked.

AK: naked and there's no supervision. The only supervision we had was when the janitor would come in a hazmat suit and clean and he was so scared of us if we were walking in the hall he'd like to run and it made you feel almost more sick like the way you were treated in there. Made you almost feel worse, which I get it he's scared that he's being forced to like go in there. But like we were already all sick and like the way like it was almost worked about like, you know,

NC: there was no supervision.

AK: No.

NC: Now you look back and it's like there was no one there.

AK: Yes, exactly. There was no one there and like so you could literally walk on that front door and no one would know. Like, you could literally,


NC: And we did.

AK: I mean, we might have gone for a couple of walks, but we were smart about it. We did not go on campus. And we wore masks. We literally walked on the backside of campus like literally through like railroad tracks. Because we didn't want to run into anyone, you know, whatever. And we would always do it, we timed it out where it'd be odd time so like no one like it would have been during passing time for like classes like lectures, like we'd make it weird timing, or we do it like a night. And it was just like we did it. But like you need to like getting fresh air like they always say like if you need fresh air.

NC: You need cardio.

AK: Yeah, exactly. So we would do that. You know? Definitely not CDC recommended to do that though. On campus-

NC: We avoided everybody.

AK: we avoided everybody. We were- Cause Websters on the backside of campus.

NC: So you weren't if you turn right, it's down where like nobody is.

AK: Nobody's there. So it's not like we were putting anyone in danger. Um, but yeah, so that was definitely an interesting COVID experience. I remember getting 00:36:00out of it. I remember my brother coming and dropping off care packages outside Webster.

NC: Yeah!

AK: because we couldn't get food or groceries and we were not eating those nasty, frozen meals. I'm not kidding you. It was leftover food. I'm not kidding you, we would warm it up with breadsticks. We'd knock on the wall rock solid, so we could hear each other knocking the breadsticks on the wall because they were so hard and gross. And we're like, What the heck is going on? Right? It was horrible. So my brother said that he would come bring us food. And he obviously had to be easy stuff. All we had was a microwave. Like, you know, it was just like soup, you know, whatever. But it was better than what we were getting.

NC: So much candy though.

AK: Oh, like candy. Yes. So my brother literally came to Webster and dropped it outside the door. And then I waited for him to leave and I'd grab it. Or you know, or like we had Carl bring us stuff that one time because-

NC: I had my friend bring me a mug. Yeah, I didn't have the things oh, you 00:37:00wouldn't realize like I wish I could just like I could make everyone in this instant like know what it was like, you forget your shower shoes. Oh, no disgusting.

AK: You would put a paper towel underneath you?

NC: Yes. Or like your robe. I remember I didn't have a robe or something. And I literally like walking around with a towel and like there's guys-

AK: That creepy guy!

NC: That creepy guy. Or like I only bought one pillow and the beds weren't up against the wall so you didn't have a backrest so we did like all we try to like lay in bed and talk and I was just like laying flat now. What the heck, like I don't know is this like, like little things like we didn't bring bowls silverware mugs?

NC: Like I brought my cactus, but I didn't bring my bowl.

AK: Yeah. If you know when it's like, oh, shoot, like, it's the little things like oh, just grab your school stuff and clothes. No. Like, it's literally you're there for two weeks. You know? It is crazy, all crazy times. Oh my goodness.

NC: Do you remember how many times the cops came in?

AK: Oh, the cops!

NC: For noise complains? Nobody would shut up.


AK: So basically quarantine was treated as a 24/7 party.

NC: Yes. Please explain in detail.

AK: I will explain this in detail. Everyone was drunk. Okay. 24/7 the whole time school was like not a thing. Nobody did school. It was constantly drinking in the dorms like, you were drunk. Because okay, this sounds so weird. But drinking made you feel better. Your symptoms? Yes. It literally felt like you were killing COVID. Like you just I know. That's not actually what was happening. But it was just like, you could laugh. You can have fun and feel better for however long you know. So you were the people everyone was drinking. There was no supervision. No one was seeing what you were getting brought in or out. So you could literally do whatever you wanted. Until it got to a point where it was too much. And me and Nikki we're not having it. And-

NC: 3am!

AK: 3am. It was like a Tuesday night. And we both had a test tomorrow. Yeah. And 00:39:00we're like, okay-

NC: And they were having a guitar circle.

AK: A guitar circle in the hallway. Like right outside our door. Like they're banging on our doors like not even like their own doors. It was us.

NC: Yeah.

AK: And we're like, okay, we swore we would never tell this story. We promise. Yeah. Don't tell anyone. Okay, don't leave this video. But um, we were so fed up. It was 3am. We're both on the phone talking to each other like, Hey, this is it. You know what we're calling the cops.

NC: So I hung up and I crawled underneath my bed so nobody could hear me and I can put it in an anonymous call, like a noise complaint. And then the cops came.

AK: Yeah, the cops came and they were okay. First off, I don't even think the cops are happy because we were the COVID dorm.

NC: Yeah.

AK: And they're like, I don't want to go in there.

NC: Yeah.

AK: And we're like, Well, you know what, like, we have COVID. We're sick because this was to the point to where we were feeling like sick.

NC: Yeah.

AK: And we're like not having it anymore. And so that we like call the cops like, dude, this is too much like, we need the cops to come like this they're 00:40:00banging on our door. It's 3am we have test tomorrow.

NC: Yeah.

AK: I ended up getting like a 40% on my chem test. I went to Nikki's room bawling, because the way the tests works any Nursing majors are listening to this. Chem 101 It is a test, but it's four quizzes that make up one test. I got a 0% on the first one. I got a 20% on the second, 40 on the third and a 60 on the fourth. I failed that test. I walked into your room bawling.

NC: Yeah.

AK: And because like we started school in COVID, like how are we supposed to know how to do it? Like, classes when you're in quarantine are so weird. You're not learning the same. Like, learn knowing now, like how classes online or like in person are now versus online we didn't learn anything.

NC: No.

AK: We were not learning anything.

NC: Especially you as a nursing major.

AK: I was not learning anything. I don't think I recall, like 1/4 of the 00:41:00information I learned last year, which is really difficult being a nursing major because you- that's things I need to know. And it's so difficult because the way- it's not that I didn't watch the lectures or put in the effort I did. I was going to SI and I was going to classes I was doing everything I could. But the thing is online wasn't the same as in person. Because in person you can ask questions, in person the teacher can go a little more in depth and understanding and knows what we are understanding or what we aren't. And it's just the videos weren't the same. I was not learning anything. And so it was very hard. Especially because this is our first year college. We didn't know how it works. So going from like, college starting out to this, it was a very hard transition, like starting online, like everything online. It was really difficult. And now the transition back, like you know what I mean? It's hard, it's weird, like, what teachers are like, oh, yeah, the test are in person. I'm like, what?

NC: You have to study it.

AK: I'm like the audacity of putting this on, like in person. I was like, this 00:42:00is so mean. And I'm like, Wait, this is normal.

NC: Yeah. Like, this is what people had to do.

AK: Like, this is completely normal. And I was like, this is blows my mind to me, or like having quizzes in persons or oh, you know, what threw me for a loop not even like the lecture tests. It's the lab quizzes every single week.

NC: Yes.

AK: Oh my gosh, that it was like I honestly think is the hardest part for me. Because the test like obviously, yeah, you need to study. But the lab quizzes, those get me having to study for those every week. Like, dang, you know, like that was probably like the hardest transition for me. Because lab quizzes last year. I didn't take very seriously. My first lab quiz this year for physiology, I think I got like a four out of 15 those are hard.

NC: Yeah.

AK: Those are hard. Like, now I'm doing better. But it's hard getting back in that transition of studying and like paying attention and trying it's really hard.


NC: And realizing you have to like study to get an A, or like getting a C you're like. Yeah.

AK: I know, dude, honestly, it's all about passing.

NC: Yeah, at this point. Now you just got into the nursing program.

AK: Yeah, now that I got the nursing program, thank you, by the way, thank you, Nikki, it's more about being able to pass then getting that A, I'd rather be able to understand and comprehend the material and like, I don't know, there's a difference being getting a 4.0 and actually understanding the material. There's booksmart and then there's with a nurse you need to be able to do the skills, communicate, talk and understand the material. And I care more about that, you know, understanding the material and being able to talk through the skills and all that than getting a 4.0 then, you know, it's just I'd rather be able to have the whole package and not have a 4.0.

NC: Yeah.

AK: Then just have the 4.0

NC: Does it make you nervous, like thinking about like all the nurses and doctors who are currently doing like the online like COVID studying and it's like, these people are going to be in charge of my life someday like.


AK: Yeah, it is scary because I know here like I know a lot of places like and I think here too, um, they weren't going to clinical, it was online clinical. And um, you can't do online clinical.

NC: No.

AK: You can't learn the same way you need to practice on people. You need to practice like go to a lab and like simulation and practice on people especially like IVs.

NC: Yeah.

AK: Imagine walking into a room first time ever because you didn't get to go to clinical first time ever putting an IV in on a patient is on your career job like on the job. Like this just blows my mind and I feel so bad I'm so thankful that like with my timing of getting into the program I'll be able to go to clinical and be in a hospital because I can't imagine like graduating and like your last like senior year junior year was online.

NC: That would really not be great. You say all the time like nurses once you get into like the real life you feel like you don't know what you're doing at all.

AK: Imposter syndrome yeah.

NC: Yeah. But then like could you imagine like the people who are graduating 00:45:00medical school during COVID, like becoming doctors during COVID, they're doing their final and most important studying online. And now they're in there. And they're like, probably like, I have 0% idea of what I'm doing right now.

AK: I know. Even just like, I couldn't imagine a doctor. I did it as like a CNA and I had no idea what I was doing. I could not imagine a doctor doing that. I mean, that'd be so scary for them. It's like imposter syndrome times a million because you never actually got to, like, really be there and practice on a patient or like, be able to, like, learn or see how other doctors work. So that had to be very difficult for them. I couldn't imagine doing that.

NC: Yeah.

AK: You know, it'd be very difficult.

NC: Yeah, no, thank you. Um, so would you say, like, now that we're kind of on the butt end of COVID, like, we're slowly crawling our way out of like, the whole, like, everybody has it stage. Like, would you say that you're more excited? Because like, now there's the vaccine. There's like all this stuff. 00:46:00Would you say you're more excited to be back to normal? Or do you think it's like scary because once we get back to normal, you don't want the rates to shoot through the roof?

AK: I am more excited to get back to normal. I think that at this point, like it's either now or never like we've tried to do slow, like we've gotten into quarantine, out of quarantine, back quarantine. And I'm just excited things to get back to normal at this point. Most especially this right, like most people are vaccinated or a lot are vaccinated. And obviously not as much as like some people would want, but there are a lot of people vaccinated, especially here on campus. Like I think it's like over 70% are vaccinated. And we are slowly getting back to normal. Like some places like the dorms masks aren't mandatory, same as Polk, and same as like Albee or Kolf too. There's definitely places. But I think we just need to kind of like, we need to move it a little faster. In my opinion, I've think we need to start, I get that people are scared. But with the 00:47:00number of like with a percentage of our vaccine rates, I just think it's time to start moving it back to normal. And I think people are scared. I think that the campus will forever be changed, though from COVID. I think that there will be more online class options for sure. I think that there will always be like, I think for a couple more years, there will be people that will choose to wear a mask no matter what. I think teachers are going to allow, like quizzes to be online or test via online or like they'll because of the recordings from last year, because classes are online, I feel like there will be no more oh, no class today. It'll be I'll post a lecture online type of thing. But I don't know like I just think that we need to start going back to normal transitioning back to normal. If we don't start doing it now it will be never, and I think everyone 00:48:00needs a little bit of normalcy.

NC: Yeah.

AK: In our lives for sure.

NC: Yeah. So I pulled up your email list. So do you want to just look at the times that we got the emails of like the mask updates and like, kind of explain what the like as we started to crawl out of the mask mandates like how the chancellor sent out I think it was two emails, right.

AK: Yeah.

NC: So the first email updating the masks, what was that one about? Like, what was our first?

AK: Okay, so, um, the one Okay, so this one was like October 25th. And this was the one that said that we didn't have for masks in the dorms. So like.

NC: Oh yeah.

AK: So this was the first time so that was October 25. And this was a test trial is what he wasn't like, okay, now, no longer ever, are there going to be masks. He's like, hey, this is going to be a test trial. If our numbers go up, they're going to be required again, and type of thing. And the reason that they decided that we could do this is because it says right here, like 73% of the students 00:49:00are vaccinated and 77% of like the faculty or professors are vaccinated. So they're like, Okay, like, this is like, because you guys got vaccinated. This is your reward type of thing. So they're like, hey, we'll do a test trial. We don't have to wear masks in the dorms, but we do have to wear like on the first floor and like the basement laundry is and.

NC: Do you remember so the first like, originally, he was like, once we hit 70% vaccination, we will have no masks.

AK: Everyone got very upset about that.

NC: They turned that into giving us free ice cream. Are you kidding?

AK: Yeah, like so. Yeah. So basically, it was like, okay, I was we were told what over the summer or the beginning was yeah, you hit 70% vaccination rate for students then no more masks required. Anyway, hit 70 nothing changed. And then he was like, oh, we're gonna have a little ice cream party.

NC: Yeah.

AK: Go get free ice cream. And that was it. And I remember being so upset about that because I was like, he just lied to our face.

NC: Yeah, that happened with a lot of schools.


AK: That was very um, yeah, that was very rude of him to do that. And like I don't know, like why they ended up changing that they never said anything that I remember seeing about that. But then we hit like what? Yeah, we hit 73 and then back to 77. So overall, we were probably like, what? 75 Yeah. And we didn't have to wear the mask except for in the dorms except for the first floor and basement. But then and he was like, well revisit this like later. And it was November like something.

NC: Yeah. When was the next?

AK: The next one was November 12. Okay, and he revisited he's like, Hey, guys, our numbers are still doing really good. Like, we haven't had a spike in cases. The masks are no longer required in Polk and Albee or in Kolff or like recreational like the gym like you don't have to wear them in the gym.

NC: Yeah.

AK: But we have to wear them and Reeve still or to classes. And so we all get super excited with that because like gnarly oh, things are really starting to get back to normal.

NC: Yeah.


AK: So I'm interested to see like how long it will take until like, oh, we don't have to wear them in Reeve.

NC: Yeah. Or like completely. Yeah. Because this year, we're still on campus. So like, it's kind of like we still have to wear the masks. Obviously, the dorm one affects us. But next year.

AK: Next year, we're living off campus so that we won't really be that affected by them.

NC: Yeah.

AK: It's kind of surprising because on campus vs off campus is completely different. On campus everyone's wearing masks, because well we have to. You go off campus you can go anywhere without a mask like no one's wearing masks anymore. And I-

NC: Until we went to Chicago.

AK: Chicago was that's like big city.

NC: Yeah. So this past- No, two weekends ago, Ashley and I went to Chicago to visit my boyfriend. And do you want to just explain a little bit about like the dynamic down on Michigan Ave. where like it's super-

AK: Oh my goodness. So it was completely different than here. Like, people were wearing masks just walking down the street, people wearing masks in restaurants, or wearing them like not even just like, oh to your table. Like they'd be 00:52:00sitting at the table.

NC: Like when the waiter would come up you'd put your mask back on.

AK: Yeah and like it was insane in the shops, like, everywhere where everyone was wearing a mask. Like, it was very shocking, because I haven't seen that in probably close to a year.

NC: Yeah.

AK: At that point, I'm like up by us no one really wears 'em.

NC: No.

AK: Unless like it says mandated like yeah, so going to Chicago and seeing everyone wearing a mask. I was just like, my mind was blown. I forgot that that existed.

NC: It felt weird.

AK: It felt very weird. And I get it. It's like way more populated down there. So like, you know, it's gonna happen. But I was very shocked. I was not expecting that at all. But yeah, that was it was very interesting to see is definitely a different dynamic and I was definitely excited to get back to the not having to wear a mask like every two seconds type of thing.

NC: Yeah.

AK: That was Yeah, cause it's a lot like I not used to except for like, what at work, but.

NC: Yeah, or like over the summer, you probably well, you worked. So you 00:53:00probably had to wear a mask then but like, going from like, not being used like at least I was so used to not having to wear a mask anywhere. And then coming back.

AK: Yeah.

NC: Like what was that change?

AK: So um over this summer, I work no longer at Milestone, I worked at a hospital and I would work 12 hour shifts. I'd have to wear a mask. But it wasn't. I don't know. But I would only work I'd wear a mask. Like if I was at work okay, I'd wear it. Everywhere else no. Like, yeah, you know, it's like, whatever. I mean, we didn't like we didn't have to up by us it's very, very conservative area. No one wears masks. No one's very picky about it, like, and so coming back to campus where I have to wear one it was very weird, because a hospital is understandable having to wear a mask. Like, you know, sick people everywhere. You know, whatever.

NC: Yeah.

AK: Um, but going back to school is very weird, but now it's more normal. 00:54:00Because now even when the whole masks thing came out that we didn't have to wear him in the dorms. It's still habit to put it out.

NC: Right.

AK: I literally walked into the dorm buildings before it talking about how it's weird we don't have to wear masks while I put my mask on. Because I forget it's literally it's just habit at this point. And we're like, now that the masks aren't required some places, walking into those buildings it's weird.

NC: Like today-

AK: I thought we were gonna yelled that like I'm constantly like, oh no, I feel naked without it. It's so weird. I'm like what is going on? It's just like crazy how the world has changed and how the dynamics have changed and how there's a new normal. It's so weird and like, I feel like looking down the road like people are just like, telling the story to like my grandkids like it's just gonna be so weird.

NC: Yeah, and like the masks were never like an easy thing because like you and I talked about this last night like how it affected our skin because I know like, like, what like.

AK: Mascne. Ugh. Everyone get mascne. But you're wearing a mask so no one sees it but it also means it can't get better.

NC: Exactly.


AK: Or just like you get so dry.

NC: And like, I don't know if you felt this, but like the masks when you wear one, like, they made me feel sick because you're breathing in your own air.

AK: Breathing in the air. I know. And honestly, like, I don't really know, like, I don't know about everyone else, but I really changed my masks out that much or like get new ones, whatever, like wash. I'm like, I use like the disposable ones a lot. I used to wear like the fabric ones, but you wash those and the amount of fuzz that gets in those things. And then like it gets in your nose and you're like, you're like sneezing in class because there's a tickle. Or honestly, disposables are so much easier. But I'll like use one until it friggin dies. Like I'll use it until it cannot be used anymore type of thing. And so like really like how much good is is doing me or anyone else? Yeah, I mean-

NC: The disposable masks are so freakin expensive.

AK: Expensive. What was that? We were all walking to the train. I was looking because I was like, Oh, I only had like three left. But I get some, like $17 for 00:56:00a box of like 20.

NC: Yeah. But before that, it would be like 5.99 for a box of 20. But now they're like everybody needs them. So shoot the price through the freakin' roof.

AK: It's crazy. Oh, my goodness.

NC: Yeah.

AK: Because yeah things change nowadays.

NC: Yeah. So you got the COVID vaccine recently. I had to take you and hold your hand and everything.

AK: Yeah.

NC: So everybody talks about how the COVID vaccine affects you. So how did the first one affect you?

AK: Okay, so it's kind of surprising because everyone says how the second dose affects you, and how you will get really sick. So when I had the first does, I was expecting to be completely fine. I got that first dose. And you remember me I passed out on the couch for four hours.

NC: Yeah, not just like passed out. Like picture this. She's on the couch in a ball. You could walk in and bang on a pan. She would not move. Like I promised you.

AK: I was bad. I was honestly kind of scared because I was so tired. So exhausted, so fatigued. I like couldn't move or want to move. Like.

NC: I kept looking at you to make sure you were breathing.


AK: You know, and then this one makes me. Let's go out. I'm like.

NC: Yeah, right. You know it, no it's so funny. No, but then the second dose how did that when the second dose affect you?

AK: So the second dose, I was perfectly fine. And which is really weird, because I also got the flu shot because I had to get the flu shot for work. And so I got the COVID and the flu shot at once. I was expecting to be dead and so did the doctor. Yeah, you're gonna be dead tomorrow. I hope you know. Yeah. Yes, I went to someone's house. And, um, I was completely fine. Like, I didn't feel sick. And I wasn't like overly I mean, I was as tired as any college student would be. Yeah, I will. Yeah. And I was perfectly fine. I went out I was perfectly fine.

NC: And you said that you got like, eight hours of sleep the whole weekend?

AK: The whole weekend. Yeah. I mean, that was probably not smart. But like, obviously, I was fine after the second dose, but like, and I wonder if it's because I had COVID. And then the people that didn't have COVID when they got 00:58:00the dose, it was like they got really hit by the second one. But um, I don't know. I don't I don't know if it's because of COVID or what, like the first one really got me. Yeah, I don't know.

NC: I mean, like, it's understandable, like, but I was just like, You're crazy. You're getting the flu shot because I always get sick off the flu shot. I don't know about you. But I was like you're nuts. But you said your arm was really sore and.

AK: Oh my goodness, you were first shot. I was like, Oh, my arm hurts so bad. Five minutes later punches me in the arm.

NC: What did I do that for?

AK: I think you were just like joking around. Like, I don't even know.

NC: I was like, we should go out and then you were like, no, I'm so tired. I was like, you'll be fine. And I showed you you're like ow.

AK: Still passed out on the couch. This girls like let's go out and like.

NC: Did we go out?

AK: Yeah, we did.

NC: But we came home like at like 11.

AK: We came home early. Because I was just like not feeling it. But yeah. Oh my 00:59:00goodness. It's crazy. That was oh, wow. Love it. Great memories. Yeah.

NC: But also like that Chicago trip. Do you remember? Cause he had like a- Jackson's team had like a COVID Scare. And you had already bought the tickets for the train ride. Oh, every time I swear, we try and make plans where we actually spend the money beforehand. I feel like it ends up being like someone has COVID.

AK: We were like freaking out because that day was full of stress. But yes. Three things were very stressed about was one me getting in the nursing program because that was a day I was about to find out.

NC: Okay wait timeout. So just to clarify this is so she bought me the tickets for my birthday before. And like we the day of or the day before I was like, dude, my like everything is about to go wrong. And we had three things. So just go through like three things that happened that day that we had to get to.

AK: So well. We all had to get through with me finding out if I was gonna enter 01:00:00the nursing program, which I found out we did. So that relieved one of the biggest well, for me my biggest stressor. And then Jackson, someone on Jackson's team, like tested positive for COVID or something. He had to get tested so we're like, oh, he gets COVID we can't go to Chicago. And we already bought the tickets in which was like $100. And for a college student. That's a lot. Yeah, we were like, oh, shoot, and then we had to figure out your score for a test.

NC: No, no, no. My check engine light.

AK: Oh, yes. Yeah, yeah. So we had a drive to Nikki's house. And her check engine light was on and this girl was like, freaking out. And I'm like, Nikki could literally be a sparkplug like, yeah, we'll be fine. And she's like, No, like, I'm freaking out. Like, what if we break down on the side of the road?

NC: And then we miss the train.

AK: Yes. And so it ended up all working out. I got in the program. Her car was fine. And Jackson didn't have COVID. Yeah, so it all worked out really good. But it's very stressful. Like, because this is like the first time like, because last year, we didn't go anywhere during school. Like, we didn't go to other colleges.

NC: No one was allowed.


AK: We weren't allowed to because we weren't allowed guests. Like even if it was family. You weren't allowed for them to come let alone spend the night. Yeah. So you didn't go visit anyone this year. We've gone to Chicago, we've gone to well I've gone to Eau Claire, we've gone to La Crosse. We've gone to St. Norbert, we want to go to Stevens Point like we were going everywhere.

NC: And you remember last year, so okay. Preface. We both had boyfriends last year, I still have mine. She's in a new area now. And so we both had instances where we had to we wanted our boyfriends to stay over with us in the dorm. So like explain how we had to work around the clock.

AK: Oh my gosh.

NC: Or your sister that one time okay two stories. Go.

AK: So okay, I'll start with the boyfriend. So when I brought my boyfriend to come at the time but now ex-boyfriend. I-

NC: You had to sneak him in. You had to be smart. So explain how like the desks work? Like the times and stuff.

AK: Yes. So during the day, there's no one there like checking anyone in so 01:02:00like, it's fine. Like, you could just like walk in with them. But at night starting at like, 9-9:30pm, they the CSOs the campus cops would be sitting out there and there was only one door, you could get in and out of the building. So you had to go past them.

NC: And you had to scan.

AK: You had to scan in with your ID and at this point, you weren't allowed to have guests, you had to have an ID to get it. So when the boyfriend's would come, we had to be back in the dorms by like nine. So we from nine to 3am, they would sit there so we weren't allowed to go out. We couldn't like you'd have to go to an early dinner, you weren't allowed to like take them out to go to the bars, you couldn't go do anything, because you had to be back by nine. So when they would come it'd be more of like a chill weekend.

NC: Yeah.

AK: You wouldn't go do anything. You kind of like hang out in the dorm watch movies. You know,

NC: You'd have to be back before-

AK: Before that time because they're not getting in. But then one weekend I was like, oh, I want my sister to come and we're like, well, it'll be fine. We'll just stay up till 3am. Yeah, because that's just kind of what we would do. Like 01:03:00you'd stay out till bar close and you go to Politos. Well, my sister comes and we go out.

NC: I don't remember why we came back early.

AK: Okay. Well, the first night we were fine.

NC: Oh, I do remember your sister didn't get in.

AK: Yes. So um, the first night was fine. Like, we were fine. Like we would sneak her in. We just came back at like three because we stayed till bar close and then we would come back. whatever. Then second night it was Mardi Gras or something.

NC: Yeah. We didn't even know

AK: We didn't even know. And so they were really, really, really strict. And my sister was using one of my IDs at the time. And she got it taken. And she didn't get in. I was like course it's my idea. First off, second off. I was like, oh, shoot, she didn't get in. What are we going to do? I can't get her until 3am. It is 10:30pm at this time. I was like what are we going to do for five hours? I was like, oh, no. So we went and we got pizza. There was like a house party or something we went to. And my sister was like, You know what? By the time it's 01:04:003am, I can be home and in bed. So why don't I just go home. So I had to go up our room, go pack all my sister's stuff, and then bring it all down. She drove home at like the it was like what midnight?

NC: Yeah.

AK: She left and drove home to Minocqua.

NC: Which is four hours away.

AK: Yeah, it's a long drive. But she's like, what's the point of just sitting in the car until 3am when I could just be home at that point. So she drove home. She stopped at a tanning bed, tanned. She got some food and she drove home.

NC: Yes, do you remember okay, the night when Andrea's friends so we had a friend on the hall on our floor Andrea, who invited two guys up who didn't go to our school. And we got roped in to having to deal with them after because Andrea and them went home. Yeah, so we got stuck babysitting. But do you remember I was like oh, I'll go upstairs and I'll grab two people's IDs. But then we were like, 01:05:00what if they don't get in? Like, what if they don't look like the people on the IDs? And then I was like, I'll bring them down to you. And then you were standing by the door right with the two guys who didn't go to our school.

AK: Yes. And then the CSO went to the back.

NC: [inaudible]

AK: Because the guys are waiting outside.

NC: Yeah.

AK: And the CSOs like, oh, I gotta go to that. I'm like, oh, cool. I got it. I'll watch the desk. She leaves I'm like running through the door. I'm like get your butts in here go, go, go. We beeline it to the elevator. We're praying elevator opens before the CSO comes back.

NC: Yeah. Yeah, no, but I was like, go up the stairs. So we got the stairs till fourth floor four flights of stairs after a night about. No, not a good idea.

AK: It but ended up like working out good. It was fine. But I was like, I thought we're gonna stay out till three am with them. And then I was like, k this is it, it was like, 2am I was tired. And it was like a Thursday. It wasn't even Friday. So I had to I had to work at 9am And I was like, I need to go to bed. Like, this is too much like, and we got stuck with it. And so I was like, 01:06:00you know, we're sneaking you in. Yeah. Or no, I don't think we're grabbing ID's for them. I think we were grabbing their car keys. Oh, yeah. Cuz they were like, well, lets wait in the car.

NC: Or they were gonna drive home. But I was like, That's stupid. but then, the stars align. And it was just like, great timing.

AK: Yeah, it worked out good.

NC: But I forget what Andrea was like, throwing up or something. And everyone left.

AK: They drank too much. And then they ended up leaving it like what was like 10:30-11. And we got stuck with them.

NC: We always get stuck with the butt end of the deal, because we're always like, well, we're fun. Yeah. Okay, well, so. So after all this COVID stuff. Do you think that like COVID has changed you at all? Like, do you think you become a different person from what you would be if you just went to college as a normal student?

AK: Oh, yeah. I think for sure COVID has like, definitely impacted my life. Um, I don't think we definitely would be as close as we are if it wasn't for COVID, I don't think like especially freshman year, actually, it was kind of nice with 01:07:00COVID. Oh, in a way, because I got to see my family. I mean, I'm a huge family person.

NC: And you had a long distance boyfriend.

AK: I had a long distance boyfriend. And it was really hard, like, transitioning and not seeing him all the time. And so like, that was really nice. Like being able to go home and see my family. My sister was struggling with some stuff, beginning of my freshman year of college. And so I wanted to be able to see her be able to go home, make sure she was okay. And so going and being able to be there for her was really nice with COVID.

NC: Because you could just pick up and leave. All of our classes-

AK: All of our classes were online. The only thing that really kept me here is I had an on campus job. So that's the only reason I couldn't like, I wasn't going home like probably more during the week, which I think was good that I had my on campus job. Because otherwise I would have been home even more at that point. You know, I was going home every other weekend, like a schedule. Like yeah, like it was literally like I was always going home every weekend.

NC: Do you remember, okay, we had a friend named Serena. And like, this just 01:08:00kind of explains how easy it was to be like, off campus with your online classes. So tell 'em about like Serena

AK: So Serena ended up I think was second semester right. No, no, no, no.

NC: It was before spring break.

AK: It was no, I think it was honestly before Christmas break. She started going, because I think it was yeah.

NC: That's when she started going home. But then she said she was going to come back.

AK: Yeah. So our friend was like, okay, her mental health is struggling. You know, she's like, I'm gonna go home. And this was before Christmas break. I think it was like two weeks before Christmas break. We're like, okay, cool, whatever. And she goes home. And then after Christmas break. She never came back. We're like, oh, Serena, when are you coming back? Like we miss you. And she's like, oh, well, like all my classes are online. And like, I want to see my family a little bit longer. I'll be back in a week. Yeah, a week goes by, she's still not there. Like what's going on girl. She's like, I think I'm gonna come back after spring break, which is like a month and a half away. And we're like, What do you mean, you're gonna come back after spring break? And we're like, 01:09:00what are you doing? Why? And she's like, I don't know. I just like don't really like it. And I'm like, oh,

NC: But it's hard because there was nothing to do.

AK: There was no reason to be on campus. It was so hard. There was nothing to do. There was no classes. There was no reason to be there. So it was really hard to keep yourself there. Because especially because it's hard to make friends. It was so hard to keep yourself when you could go home to your family, your hometown friends, your boyfriend if you have it like it's easier to be home. So it was.

NC: And nothing was keeping you here.

AK: It was so difficult to stay on campus. Like, honestly, like I didn't start enjoying college until this year.

NC: Exact same.

AK: I was dreading it all last year. I didn't start enjoying it until this year. So it was definitely COVID definitely had like an impact on college and being able to like enjoy it, especially when it was all in the heart of it all of our classes were online. It was definitely difficult.

NC: So what do you think that you have learned that you probably like so like there are things that people learned about like, bacteria and like how things 01:10:00affect people like what is something that you learned from COVID that you probably wouldn't have known?

AK: Um, I would say it's kind of like what you said but earlier during your interview, but definitely more aware of what I'm like touching. Like, I get, I'll be like, oh, yeah, I think like 10 people have just touched that, I'm gonna go wash my hands like Goodwill. Okay, Goodwill has always grossed me out. Let's be honest.

NC: We should go there later.

AK: Okay. And it's like, I don't know, I'm more aware of like, what I'm touching and I get more grossed out. I'm also more self-aware of like, if people like I'm not as scared of COVID as others, but I'm definitely more self-aware, like being conscious of other people's thoughts and feelings about it. Because I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable. Um, but I would, I would say that's definitely change. I've definitely, yeah, a little more germaphobe. But then anything else um coughing in public like, oh, my goodness. That is so okay coughing in public 01:11:00scares me. Oh, no. Okay. I'm not gonna say teacher's name here.

NC: I know exactly who you're talking about.

AK: Because, yeah, but there is a teacher here on campus. Okay. Who will if you cough in public, or cough in her class, she kicks you out of class. Like, even if you're kicked out like you're gone, she will kick you out, or she'll kick the whole class out. Like she does not like she's insane. But she'll Cough. Cough. Yeah. It is a dry cough. Like her coughs always a dry cough. So it's okay. But anyone else cough. She loses it like rants at us like, you guys don't understand how hard this is to be a professor during COVID. Like, you guys are making my life a living hell, like you don't know what you're doing. And this is a pit class. So like.

NC: What does that mean?

AK: So a pit class is like a so it's like, big, like, 200 students. So the thing is, is it's not like you're really like interacting with the professor that much like, I so I'm like, how do you? How are we making your life difficult? Like, 01:12:00what are we doing? We're showing up to class. And.

NC: You're getting paid for this, I'm paying.

AK: So like, yeah, and it's really hard to go to that class because it's constantly getting yelled at and constantly like having troubles and issues. And we're not doing anything wrong. We're showing up. We're wearing our masks above our nose. We are going to lab we are doing everything we can and I'm sorry, but like, if we have a tickle, we're gonna cough like she does it. Like why is it an issue of we do it so coughing in public huge thing. Bircher, um, if you're a TJ Maxx, if you're at Walmart, and you start coughing, everyone starts looking. And it's like, you feel like, you're like, I don't know, like, what to compare it to. You literally feel like you're like walking around the store naked. Everyone's staring like everyone's like, oh, what is she doing? Like? Oh, you know, and it's like, I don't know if that'll, like ever go back to normal nowadays. Like, you know, it's just so normal. Like, oh, no, someone's coughing like, it's a thing I don't know. But yeah.


NC: No, that's like such a, I don't know. And like, every time you get sick, like, don't you feel like oh, God, what if it's COVID?

AK: Oh, if you get sick, you're like, I promise you have to like tell everyone and I promise it's not COVID I got tested it's not COVID it's not COVID. And no one's still believes you. And it's always in the back of your head oh, shoot, whatever if it is COVID.

NC: Yeah, like before you go home, if you get sick, you're like, what if I bring them COVID? Like, what if this is more than COVID?

AK: Everyone especially because like everyone want to things nowadays that like, there's nothing else out there that get you sick, it's always COVID. And it's like, there's still the flu, there's still cold, you can still get sinus infection, you can still get pneumonia, you could still get everything that there was before. But now it's kind of all just being like shuffled into one. And that's kind of difficult to deal with too, because every time you're sick, like they make you go get tested, and they make you like oh, it's COVID you have to go quarantine until we get a negative test result. Like it's really difficult. It's really hard to like live a normal life. Like you don't want to tell anyone if you have a stuffy nose or cough.

NC: You have to clarify everytime.

AK: It's literally, like it's so intense if you tell anyone that you're sick, 01:14:00because they take it so like you could just have a stuffy nose like I always have a stuffy nose or like my voice right now. It's kind of off and I don't know what it is. But I'm vaccinated so.

NC: Like, my sister just came up and she's like, I promise you I don't have COVID.

AK: I'm not saying I don't know what it is. It's just a common cold like, it happens, but people freak out. It's definitely

NC: And you'll always get that one person.

AK: Yeah, it's definitely something you have to be conscious of nowadays for sure.

NC: Yeah. All right. Well, we appreciate your sharing of your stories for our COVID-19 Wisconsin-Oshkosh experiences. I'm sure this will help our 2021 campus COVID stories. Learn more detail about exactly what the life was like.

AK: Yeah.

NC: So thank you a lot.