Interview with Bailey Tabaka, 12/03/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐AK: Okay, this is Ashley Klopatek. I'm interviewing Bailey Tabaka On December 3, 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 pronounce your name and spell it out for us and state your age and major?

BT: Yeah, my name is Bailey Tabaka. It is B-A-I-L-E-Y T-A-B-A-K-A. I'm 21 years old. And I am a nursing major here at UW Oshkosh.

AK: Nice. So the first thing I'm going to ask you is just a little get to know your questions. So can you tell me about where you grew up?

BT: Yeah, I grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin. It's northwest from here. I was born and raised there. It used to be pretty small. But now it's going into a bigger area, which I love, and I hope to grow a family there someday, too.

AK: And can you tell me a little bit about your parents and what they did when 00:01:00they grew up?

BT: Yeah. So, my parents both were born in Wausau, Wisconsin also. My dad works through a company out of Madison. It's called culture and distribution. And my mom does the bookkeeping at our family business. Kriegers bakery. So they're loving. They're nice. I love them.

AK: Awesome. And did you always plan on attending college?

BT: I did. Yeah. I was actually the first gen of our family to go to college. So that was kind of crazy. I remember growing up, I was like, I'm going to Madison. Like that was the main thing that was so awesome. But after touring it, I was like, I'm not looking to walk 30 minutes to class. And actually, when I came to Oshkosh, I kind of fell in love. Like it reminded me of my hometown of Wausau just the downtown aspect, and everything was on the same block. So I was excited about that.

AK: That's perfect. Okay, so now we're going to get a little bit into the COVID questions. So what year were you in college when COVID started?


BT: I was a freshman here.

AK: Okay. So it was like the first year then? And what was going through your mind when you found out that you had to go into quarantine for supposedly two weeks? Like what was going through your mind? Did you think that it was going to be two weeks or longer?

BT: So I guess I did have a little like, inside to this whole COVID thing as I worked in Dempsey halls. So I worked in the Finance and Administration office and our chance or our Vice Chancellor, Andrew, he was walking through one day, and it was the day before that we got let out. And he was in Dane County. And that's where everything was going down. You know, like, this is where people were getting sick, whatever. And he walked through and he had this mask on which this was like before, like it was normal to wear a mask like this was weird to like, see people, right? And so then he walked in, and I was like, hello, like, whatever he was like, start packing your stuff. And I was like, for what? And he was like, we're going home. And I was like, I'll send out an email tomorrow. And I was like, oh my god, like this must be really serious. It's like he's telling 00:03:00me it's not sacred information. And then we found out that day that Milwaukee was going home for a two week spring break. And I'll just tell you, the excitement that was in the dorms was crazy, because I lived in North Scott. So it's the towers with 10 floors in it. There's a ton of people everywhere. And I remember going back after work, and it was probably like 4:30pm and it was once a night we got let out on Thursday. People were drinking, they were like going off the rails. They're like we're going home for two weeks. I got spring break for two weeks, like whatever. But there was a slight sadness also, because it was our freshman year, like, what the heck, like we're missing out. But no, I had a feeling it was gonna be longer than two weeks. I was like, there's no way that a sickness is just gonna send us home for two weeks and everything's gonna be fine after that. So I remember packing my stuff and I was like throwing stuff in these bags. I was like, I need so much stuff. Like I want to bring home everything but I couldn't. So, I had a car here. And one of my two really good 00:04:00friends from home Trey, and Collin, they had to ride home with me too, with their stuff. So they're yelling at me to put stuff back in my room. Like I didn't have enough room to fit all my stuff at home. But then that following weekend, we got told that we had to come back and pick all of our stuff up. So

AK: Yeah, so when you found out that you guys were going to get sent home for two weeks, and that was before the email was sent out. Like did you tell your friends to be like hey guys, I had this insider information.

BT: Oh yeah. 100% like I had a group chat on the floor group chat. And just like a friend group chat, there was probably like eight of us in it. And I was like, guys like are going home like I just found out and they like no way like, and I feel like it was more of a excitement at the time. Like no one was like scared. Nobody had no idea what was gonna happen, you know? Yeah. So it was kind of like I remember going up with Ebola when I was younger. And I remember there was this one person in Texas that was in quarantine like in the hospital. And we were so scared about that but like I never thought it was anything like this so dumb college kids. We weren't not worried about this at all. We're just like, let's 00:05:00drink. I Don't know.

AK: Yeah, that totally makes sense. So when you got the text or the email, I'm guessing that you guys had to come back and get the rest of your stuff. Were you guys kind of upset at that point? Was it setting in like, Oh, really? Like, I'm not happy about this?

BT: Um, yeah, I remember the time and place I was actually at one of our friends Sam Meyers house, and we were drinking and his parents were in Florida, they were stuck there actually, because of quarantine. And Trey and Collin were there with me and my boyfriend and all of us were there. And I remember opening this email and I was like, guys, like, look like these are the times that we have to go back and get our stuff next week. Like, we're literally home for the whole semester. And I think it really didn't set in yet. Like it was kind of like, I'm okay with it. Like, I was homesick. I don't know, like, I like to come home, but I also like to be at school. So for me, it wasn't that sad. I don't think it was just more or less like, leaving all of my friends that I had just made like that freshman year. That was sad. But I felt like I wasn't being left alone. Like everyone had to go home. You know? So it was like, justifiably okay, but after 00:06:00two weeks at home, I was annoyed.

AK: Yeah. So what did you do during quarantine? Like, how did you stay occupied? What did you all have to do?

BT: Well, I was a CNA, or I still am right now. But I've been a CNA since I was 16. So I was working at the nursing home that I've always worked at, and it was heart wrenching. Really, I worked a lot just because my classes, a lot of my classes, honestly, were just like, we're gonna skip out on a lot of this stuff. Like, there's no way that we can do it like online, like we have nothing prepared. We don't know how to physically do that. So I would say I worked a lot. And it was it was just hurting to me that as a health care worker, like all these people were at home thinking it was like a free for all, like, let's binge all these Netflix movies, let's make all these desserts, let's do all this fun stuff at home. And I'm like, Oh, I still have to get up and go to work every day. You know, like, there was not really a difference in my mind. I mean, other than, like, we couldn't go out to eat or go to the store, go to Target. But it 00:07:00was just I don't know, to me, it wasn't that different. By any means, as I still left the house every day go to work. So

AK: No, I can relate one because that's what I was doing. I was working during COVID. So did it was it hard for you to like, see everyone like not caring almost in a way with COVID. And you were like seeing these sick people, these elderly people at risk?

BT: Yeah, it was. Just because in the beginning, our nursing home never got hit with COVID. Thankfully, I'm very surprised with that, just for the amount of people that do work there. And you know, we all went home, we all had to sacrifice going to the grocery store and hanging out with our friends or whatever we did to have fun. And then bringing that back to the building. But I was very cautious of that. Like, I didn't see it firsthand at that point in time of like what COVID really could do to somebody. But I just knew like if I was the one to bring that back, and ultimately have the worst outcome. Like I would never forgive myself for that. But um, I remember we did have some, like shed 00:08:00hangouts like we did. And did I feel guilty in the time being? Probably not because I still was having fun. Like, I was like, I'm in college. Like, I'm missing out on this fun stuff at school. Like, let's I'll do it at home. So it was still fun, but I definitely can say that, like after the fact like the next day, I like get up to go to work. And I'm like, wow, like, I messed up like, what if I really like got this like I just never knew. So it was scary. But throughout the entire like we got sent home and what March ish until May when we were done with school. Nobody in our group tested positive none. Like nobody close that I knew had COVID so it still wasn't like affecting our lives personally, I guess you could say but yeah,

AK: well, that's good. I totally get what you're saying like the risk of like, going to see anyone while you're working as a CNA is you're not only putting your you and your family at risk, but also all your residents. Yeah, it's really scary. But like, did you do? Did you like develop any hobbies in quarantine? Like, did you or did you not really have time? Because you're working so much?

BT: Yeah. Well, I mean, and battling school, like a lot of my professors, they 00:09:00did a good job. Like, I'll give them that, but it was hard for them. Like, I couldn't imagine what they were doing because like especially my chemistry professor, he had never done anything online. He used one of those things called in the class like

AK: oh, like he didn't have a presentation. He just put pieces like paper down.

BT: Yeah, what does that called?

AK: Not a projector?

BT: No. I guess something like a board like a

AK: Do you remember like those dinosaur thing for like screens that you put down for writing, right?

BT: Yeah, yeah. I'm gonna laugh at myself. 50 years from now not being able to know what that was. But um, yeah, so he would use that in class like, could you imagine like, he literally would send us and you can use at YouTube for reference, not like a video like he was very like, old school like I'm not using the internet. So it was hard to juggle with that because I think that they were trying their best but also like wanting us to help them and it was just hard to 00:10:00do everything at once. But I definitely did take a lot of walks like once I was getting warmer out. I definitely got closer with my family, which was good. I watched Netflix a lot. But that was really it like, like you said, I was really busy working so there wasn't like, oh, wait, no, I remember now. Me and my boyfriend's sister in law. Mandy. We did like, probably 25,000 piece puzzles. Like we were obsessed. Yeah, like we just kept doing them. And it was just fun.

AK: And that's good for the brain.

BT: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Do that over my homework. But yeah, it was just it was so fun. Like, I don't know it. It was fun having everyone home like normally like, they're out for dinner. They're out fishing. They're out doing this. They're up north for the weekend. Like it was just cool to have everyone home and like, have family dinners again. Like I didn't have that since I was like 10. Because athletics and yeah, it's work. Yeah, so it's cool.

AK: Nice. So would you say that's probably like your favorite part of quarantine 00:11:00was like the dinners or?

BT: Yeah, I liked that. And I just liked I'm kind of a homebody sometimes. So my boyfriend and like a Friday night. Like, if I go home for the weekend. I'm like, oh, let's go to homestead. Like they're having a band or let's go hang out. Let's go see who's there. And I'm like, dude, I'm tired. So it was kind of nice to have that excuse made for me, like, No, I can't. But I guess I did miss the restaurants. Not gonna lie. I really did.

AK: Yeah, just like even you know, even if you're a homebody, once in a while, you want to go out you want to do something, and you couldn't, you couldn't do anything.

BT: There was like that age, like, I just want to go walk around Target. Like, can I not just walk around Target and I couldn't. So it just kind of sucked.

AK: It was a very hard time for sure. And like down the road, we're not gonna no one will know next generations won't understand. But so you know, you work throughout the summer you did your hobbies, or whatever. But then the fall came and you had to go back to school? What was your biggest fear about coming back during a pandemic?

BT: I would definitely say the vaccine came out what February like it came out 00:12:00pretty early.

AK: It did come out pretty quick.

BT: So I throughout my high school years and middle school years, I somehow got this weird allergy to like Accutane. Neosporin, like birth control all this weird stuff. And so, and I hadn't gotten the flu shot in like two years. So I was just worried to get this vaccine even though I worked in health care, and I get the total importance of it. It wasn't that I didn't believe in it, it was more or less. What is it going to do to my personal body? Yeah. And so one going into school without a vaccine, little worried about it. I was just everyone that I talked to, they're like, you're gonna go back and you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it like everyone's coming back together. You're gonna get it and I was like, Yeah, whatever. It's like, like, I'm healthy. I'm at that point in time. I was 19 or 20 years old, like, I'm fine. Like, I'll be fine. But I truthfully, August came around, and I was like, trying to buy some more stuff. I lived in 00:13:00horizon sophomore year, like to make like, like, room all cute. I really don't think we're gonna go back. I really thought they were like playing this out. Like, we're gonna go back. We're gonna go back. And then last minute, like no we're going online for at least like half the semester.

AK: 1 Yeah.

BT: So when we were going back, I was really surprised, actually. But I think the scariest part was just like, this is gonna happen again, like, we're all gonna come back. And then we're all gonna have to go back home again, which is what I really thought was gonna happen.

AK: Honestly,I was expecting that to because well, it was going to be my freshman year. And I was like, I swear, if they say that we're not going back. Like if they're like, Nope, we're gonna go online for this next semester, I was going to be so upset selfishly. I mean, obviously, that's what needed to be done, what needs to be done, but I was like, it's gonna be my freshman year, like what and I honestly thought that they were gonna send us home or when the Delta variant came out, I was like, there for sure. Sending us home because they said that it was worse than the previous ones. And that it's more contagious and 00:14:00everything. So I was like, Oh, we're going home. Like, we never got sent home again. I mean, classes were online like they I think then they make things a little more strict, like second semester or something.

BT: Yeah, but I think it was really weird just like when we left school when I left school freshman year, so I guess you never really saw school.

AK: Like I don't know school without COVID so

BT: No idea. Yes. Like I just remember it was almost like not a bad way but like a free for all. Like, nobody gave a crap what you're doing, you know what I mean? Like, everyone showered in the same bathroom like yeah, it got cleaned maybe twice a week like I don't know. So it was really weird coming into sophomore year you were only allowed to have one parent come with you or a loved one. To help you move your stuff into your room which was really weird. Masks everywhere like it was a downright like, you are getting suspended if you do not get your mask like I remember Collin. My friend that I talked about earlier he had taken pulled down his mask to take a drink of water in like the hallway so it was underneath his chin, and they saw it on the cameras and they sent him an email. 00:15:00Like if this happens again, you're suspended like you're done. So like, it was just kind of like, like a sandbag. Like, this is so much different than our freshman year. Like, we need to, like halt it because like, we don't even know what's expected. You know, like it was just and I think it was out of fear, honestly, I really do. But it was for the better. I get that. But it was just it was weird. And you saw everyone walking around like hand sanitizing, constantly wiping down elevator doors constantly. But the first week of school, I did get COVID. So

AK: Oh, you did get covid. Okay, so tell me about that.

BT: Yes. So it was Labor Day weekend that I moved down because we all had to move in a different times. You know, not the same fun. Everyone moves in the same day like that was not a thing. Moved in, went home for the for Labor Day weekend. I'm pretty sure like went up north or something came back, went to school Wednesday, Thursday, Friday got tested. I tested negative on Thursday, because we this was like huge, like we had to get the app on our phone, like go 00:16:00to Albee Hall get tested like it was it was insane. It was crazy. So I did that on Thursday, tested negative. Then I got an email on like, Friday afternoon that they were testing 500 random people. And of course, I was the random next week Wednesday, just to like, see if like anything was you tested positive randomly, or it has a negative randomly kind of thing, whatever. I was like, Oh, whatever. So went through the weekend and I didn't go out or anything. Like I really just kind of laid low that weekend. My mom came down on Saturday to bring some more of my stuff from home and we went out to dinner. I remember telling her that like I just had this like faint headache. Like she was like you just moved into school, you're probably stressed like there's probably a cold going around. Like there's still sicknesses other than COVID. Like we have to realize that I was like, Yeah, right. Sunday woke up. I remember everyone was together for the packer game, like in the guy's room, and I went up there for 10 minutes. And I was like, Dude, I cannot like I'm so sick. So then Monday, somebody called into 00:17:00work at my office that I work in, in Dempsey Hall. So I felt like I had to go. So I went. And I just had this scratchy sore throat and this headache and body aches. And I was like this just feels like a normal cold to me. Like I get a cold all the time. Then I told my boss I was like, I'm really hungry. I'm gonna go to Reeve, go get lunch and I'll come right back. She's like, okay, like, that's fine. Went to Reeve came back, walked up the stairs, I literally has to stop halfway up the stairs like I was so out of breath. And that's when it like hit me. I was like, I probably have it. Like, I really do think I have it. So after work that day, I went to Albee and I got tested. And this was like the kind of funny part. So they were like, yeah, we'll call you. You'll get a call from Green Bay. If it's positive. I was like, okay, so I FaceTime my boyfriend and I was like Caleb, like, I think I have COVID he's like, no, no, you don't. You're being like, so dramatic. And I call my mom. She's like, No, you don't. And so I'm sitting in the living room and horizon, like literally our friend groups in there. And I answered the phone call, like I see it. And I'm like, Guys, I answer it. And I like had it like loudly. And she was like, I'm so sorry 00:18:00to inform you like you tested positive. And everyone in the room just started laughing they were like no way like you actually have COVID. So then yeah, I was like the first one to give it to my whole friend group of like 20 people. Yeah, but yeah, it was a great time and then had to move all of my stuff to quarantine by myself so has to put all my red cat. Get over there. There was such sweet guys over there. They helped me put it all in my room because there's no elevators over there.

AK: There's no elevators. So moving yourself into pain.

BT: Yeah, it sucked. But the first night, there was no supervision.

AK: No, yeah, I had COVID the first week of school to I got it the day after my birthday. And I'm so me and Nikki, we're in there, no supervision. You can do whatever you wanted. It was a free for all in there.

BT: Like, people were drinking, like in the hallway.

AK: Running around, going to people's rooms

BT: Like, ordering pizza, like people were in the hallway, like having like a feast. Like it was funny. But like, I was actually sick. And I was talking to some of these people out there like, oh, we just had a headache and we're fine. And I was like, no, like, I'm actually sick. Like, I would love to party with 00:19:00you guys. But like I can't. But I did bring a bottle of Bacardi. And that was only because I wanted to see because I knew I was gonna lose my taste and smell. I wanted to see if I could taste alcohol. Yeah, so my roommate actually ended up coming into my room which they gave me a guy roommate at first. I was showering when he walked in. And I was like, I come back and he was like, like, putting his bedsheets on. And I'm like, Ah, like, what the heck. And he was like, oh my god, I was like, you can tell that this was like girl stuff. Like what the heck? He's like, Oh, I think my roommates in here too. Like I'll go find him. I was like, yeah. So then my roommate was upstairs and then she came into my room but we were like trying these different alcohols. Like we were just making fun out of it. Like whatever but I did like get depressed like I was sad. Like I missed one of our really good friends. Sierra and Cody's wedding for that and I'm just so sad about it like to this day. I'm like, I wish I was at your wedding. Yeah, but what are you gonna do?

AK: I know it's what you have to do. But so, can you also tell me a little about 00:20:00like, what college is like before? COVID? Because I mean, I have no idea what it's like, like in who knows down the road if it'll ever go back?

BT: Yeah. So, um, so I would say so my, actually my distant cousins actually came here. And I remember them telling me when I'd like first mentioned that I was going to Oshkosh, they were like, oh, like, you're going to the party school. And I was like, yeah, and they were like, tell me stories how, like, Al would just walk in with this case of beer. And just like walk down the hallway. And nobody would say anything. Like, you didn't have to cover it up. You'd have to put in a backpack, just walked in with it. Nobody cared. You could sit in these dorm rooms and drink and scream and yell and nobody would care. You could walk home at 3am and puke up on the side of the road and nobody would care. And when I got here, I was like, is that really what college is? Like? Is it really that crazy? Like party? Like, nobody gives a crap. I was like, There's no way. So when I got here, it was out obviously more strict than that. But it was, it was fun. Like, there was never a time of you can't be this close to people. Like 00:21:00in my dorm room we had like a lounge right on our floor. I loved my floor. We're still like all good friends. Like it was it was the time to make friends. And that's why I feel so bad for the freshmen in the incoming. Like, it's a sucks like, all our doors are open. We're just having a great time. Like, we go in the lounge all the time. And we drink and we bring our like little Yeti is like we're being so cool. But like we were not. And I just remember our CA like, kind of got pretty nice to us. And we actually go out and drink with him now. But he would like texts, our group chat and be like, rounds are in 10 minutes, like wrap your crap up. And so it was like the fun was still there. And I feel like it is like a little bit now. But last year when I lived in horizon, they were so strict. Like they were up and down the hallways like just crazy. Like they did not want anyone in anyone's room that didn't live there. Like, and I just I feel so bad for you guys. Like I literally feel so bad. Like it was honestly, like 00:22:00what I would say a free for all like, I remember the first time that we had guys in a room like after midnight. And it just felt like we're doing something wrong. Like this is so fun. Like it's just like, a huge sleepover. And I do miss the dorms like I miss living there. But to be honest, if I lived there now, it wouldn't be the same.

AK: No yeah, I remember it was crazy. Because even if you lived on the same floor as someone, they like, if you couldn't have five people in your room that even lived on your floor, it was against the rules. Like we could only have I think one guest per roommate, so you can only have four total in the room. And even if you all have lived on the same floor, it didn't matter if you were all UWO students didn't matter. And then if you weren't a UWO student, you weren't allowed in the dorms at all. I remember sneaking my boyfriend in and I remember sneaking my sister in like, we would just have to do it because like.

BT: I snuck Caleb in so many times last year, because like I was like, I want you to be here. Like what the heck?

AK: Yeah, no, it's kind of it's crazy. But yeah, so what would you say was the 00:23:00hardest part about COVID? For you? What do you think you miss the most or struggled the most with?

BT: Um, I would definitely say just being healthcare worker. It was pretty eye opening. Really, it really was. And it is so sad. Just now just how the world is just our country, obviously. It's, it's terrible. One day, we were portrayed as heroes. And now there's a huge scandal against us. And it's, it's horrible, because we put our lives on the lines for a lot of people so they could go out and sit on their couch and eat chips and collect this money that where we were actually working in, you know, the COVID like, quarantine like people were like, yeah, like, we gained 15 pounds. Like, we didn't have to go to work. I sat on my couch and did work. Like so many people had kids, like it was the time of that and like time, have fun and just hang out and play board games because they were 00:24:00bored. And I was like, even though I wasn't working on a COVID unit. I knew a lot of people from my hometown that were and I will just say they were exhausted. There were stories that people can't come home to their families. They just stay in a hotel. They had to do two weeks of quarantine before they could see their family. Like it was so eye opening just to see like how quickly things changed. Yeah, like there was never okay, like, it's here. Okay. The numbers are getting worse. Okay. We're shutting down for a month. Okay, now we're shutting down for two months. Okay, now three. Now, we have no idea when we're opening businesses in my hometown we're shutting down. It was so sad. It was horrible. Like my family bakery was struggling. You know, it was like, I really I honestly thought it was like the end of the world. And like, I was like, this is the start of the end like I really did. And just, you know, it was bad in America, but then it was bad in other countries. And I was like, It's not 00:25:00just in one spot, like, it's just going to keep getting worse. It's going to keep evolving and like, to me, it's just, it's honestly become such an annoyance. Like, it has been here for so long. How are we still getting sick? You know, like, it's just like, how does this thing not die? How?

AK: Do you think we'll ever go back to the old normal?

BT: No, no. And I think what saddened me saddens me the most about that is just when I like paint a picture in my head of a concert. Like, that's what I think of as, like fun. And I don't think it'll ever be like that ever again.

AK: I know. And it's sad,

BT: As much as we want it to be like that. It shouldn't be, you know,

AK: Like thinking what future generation and stuff they'll never know. It's crazy time. And I don't know, it's like, I just don't know if like the masks I think will always stay. I think just to make people comfortable. I think they're realizing that not only with COVID, but like the flu and colds is helping people 00:26:00stay away from getting those viruses as well. And like, I don't know, it's just kind of turning into a crazy world, that's for sure.

BT: It really is.

AK: Um, so I guess now that things are per say are going back to a normal, not the old normal, but kinda back to a normal, how was the transition between online and in person going for you especially being like the nursing program and everything? Like, how is that going for you?

BT: So actually, I was really scared because I, I think everyone got lazy, like, that was thing. Like, it was like, oh, like, I can look at my notes while I'm taking this exam, you know, like, stuff like that. Whereas like, a lot of my exams are actually proctored, just as going into the nursing school. But I was terrified. I really was I was like, when I came to school in September, and I had my first exam, like, the third week of school or something. One, it was my first nursing exam two haven't taken an in-person exam in so long. Yeah, I was 00:27:00like, I'm gonna fail. Like, I don't even like I have so much anxiety doing this. Like it was just insane. But I like, in person so much better.

AK: Really?

BT: Yeah,

AK: I do, too. I just know, I didn't learn.

BT: I learned a lot better that way. And I just feel like, I'm more involved, if that makes sense. Like, when it was online, like, here's my laptop over here listening to this podcast, here's me eating chips. And here's me watching Tic Tok on my phone. Like that was the thing. Yeah. So I don't know.

AK: Yeah, I feel like kids are definitely I only knew college from the aspect of online. So this semester, having in person classes again, like pit classes, so like the 200 plus classes. I'm actually learning like the sciences. So like nursing, you have to take two sciences a semester. And I felt like I learned nothing my freshman year, like, I didn't think I was learning anything, because it's all online. And like you said, you weren't paying attention. You were doing 00:28:00other things. And so this semester, like having my science classes in person, I'm like, holy shit, I'm learning yeah, actually comprehending it, because the teachers, it's not their fault, but they teach you so much better in person.

BT: Oh 100%. Yeah,

AK: You're not learning anything like, the in person, they're going more in depth. They you we can ask questions, or like, they can like tell if we're engaging or if we're understanding or not, or they can't do that online. So it's really nice to be able to be in person again. I mean, in person exams are definitely harder.

BT: Oh, yeah. 100%.

AK: But it actually forces you to study and learn and comprehend.

BT: That's the thing because when I was online, I was not studying like, No, I would watch the lecture. And that was it. Until the exam. Now I'm like, holy crap. I have 17 chapters to look over by next Tuesday. Like, yeah, that's an a hit in the face.

AK: I know. I'm a little nervous about that next semester.

BT: You'll be fine.

AK: 2Yeah. So um, do you feel like you missed out on a lot like with COVID with 00:29:00your freshman, sophomore, junior year?

BT: I would say? Yes. And, yeah, I would say yes. In the aspect of the whole. Because I did have a feel for it. I did get to see for like, a semester and a half of what real college life was like. And I would say I loved it. It was so fun, like eating in the dining hall. Like as like people on your floor, like you would never imagine like coming to school. And obviously, I knew a couple people, but not anybody on my floor. But my roommate.

AK: Yeah.

BT: Which my roommate was from my hometown, actually. But just meeting these random people, and then in three days, you're like best friends. Like that was insane to me. And then we would do everything together. There was so many events on campus to go to like fun events, you know, and we'd go to eat, like every meal together. Like we did all the stuff. And then on the weekends, it was drinking Thursday through Sunday night. Like that was the thing like it was fun. But I would say that there was not a, part of me, that was like, super upset 00:30:00about it because I do feel like I have fun at home too. Yeah. So there was like, pros and cons to it really like, I feel like in your standpoint, and people below you like I couldn't even imagine like, they never got that feel for it. Where I did and like, that was almost enough for me. But yeah, like college is kind of disgusting. Like, not gonna lie. But you got to live through it. It's fun. It's a part of your life.

AK: It is. Yeah, I feel like we got like a little snippet of it. Like, we were allowed to do some things, but it wasn't to the same extent that you guys had in a way. Um, but I'm kind of like, you were like, I wasn't really that upset about COVID. Because I could go home more. And I'm like you I like to go home. And at that point,

BT: It gave a good excuse to go.

AK: I had a boyfriend at the time. And so I would go home to see him. And then my sister was still in high school, I'd go see her. So it's a good excuse to go home. And I loved going home and I'm fine at home. So I wasn't that upset about it wasn't that bad for me. But for some people, it was definitely harder for 00:31:00them because they didn't want to go home

BT: They hated home.

AK: Yeah. So they want to be at college and have the fun here. So yeah, it's kinda interesting. So, earlier, we talked a little bit about like, future generations, like hearing about COVID and everything. So what do you think like the future generations, like 10, 15, 30, 50 years down the road are gonna think of COVID? Like, what are you going to think that they think happened?

BT: I was actually just talking to someone about this actually, like, so weird. I don't think that it's just gonna be like, a seven-year thing. Like, I, I really think it's going to be a lifelong thing. Like, you know, we were going up and like tuberculosis, like TB, like we had no idea what that stood for. But we always heard it like it was like, in the back of our heads. I feel like that's how COVID is going to be for these next generations, it's going to become a thing that it's an annoyance. But at the same point, it's going to be more impactful than TV was. So to me, like, if I were to, like, jump into the future, 00:32:00and pretend like I'm a grandma, right? And I'm looking back and like my grandkids, them going to school. I personally think it's still gonna be like, if you're not vaccinated, you need to have a mask on. I still feel there's still gonna be limited numbers of people that are allowed to go to events to be in approximate room, like in an elevator, you're only stuff for people. But then again, I see the other side. And I'm like, I could see this being just an annoyance. People don't listen to it. You know what I mean? And I think it takes one, someone to really see the impact of what COVID has, like, actually watched someone pass away in the hospital from it and watch their family suffer when they were only 45 years old. That's impactful. But then again, it's almost like you get a driving ticket. And two days later, you're still speeding, you know, like, it's, it's a way of life and I really don't think that it's gonna stop people from living. I don't but I do love the idea of taking the time to figure 00:33:00like, that's like what we're doing right now to portray a picture of how crazy it was when it all went down. And how we're all sitting at home watching the TV and the news articles that would fall on our phone and we're just like, oh my god, this is insane. The numbers that were climbing like, he was like, we're watching like the frickin lottery I don't know, it was just like, entertaining almost so interesting. And the toilet paper thing.

AK: Oh my gosh. Oh, yeah

BT: What was that even about?

AK: Like literally Okay, so if you're listening to this in the future, during COVID, everyone was buying all the toilet paper, you could not get toilet paper. Anywhere like, out everything. Toilet paper. It was bought out, they literally had to make rules. So you can only buy like one package of toilet paper at a time.

BT: Like I remember I was in this ethics class. I cannot remember my professors name for the life of me right now. But he was like funny. Like, we still have a 00:34:00week left of class. And this is like when COVID was hitting, but it wasn't hitting here. it was more like the East Coast ish. He's like, Yeah, did you hear about the toilet paper shortages, like my wife just went to a Walmart last night and there was none there. And I was like, here like in Oshkosh. Like, what is going on. And then I remember I got out of class that day, like me and my roommates went out and looked. And like they're like, people were going crazy. Their grocery carts were literally stacked full of like canned foods. All this stuff. I remember I literally bought a coloring book at Walmart. And I remember it was a SpongeBob coloring book and some colored pencils. And we were buying bins so that we could like fit our stuff in. And Collin was actually he did so many drawings that night because we were like screw schools. Like we don't have any homework. Like we have spring break for two weeks, like all this stuff. But yeah, it was insane. It literally looked like what's that movie World War Z? That is what it looked like. Like, I'm not kidding you like to the people that are listening 20 years from now. That's what it looked like. But without the 00:35:00zombies. But people were crazy enough that they looked like zombies.

AK: Literally it felt like I remember when I was home, and senior year, and I remember actually fearing I was scared. Because when me and my mom went to the grocery store, we were not like going we would say oh, we need to go grocery shopping. And I remember looking at the shelves and they're empty. And I remember being like mom, like, what do we do? Like, if we can't get food, like what is happening to us this is scaring me like, you go to the meat. Everything's gone. And people weren't nice. Like they if you bump into them, they're like pushing you. They were not nice. And I was like, This literally feels like the end of the world. Yeah, it was so scary.

BT: It was like this was like what they talked about, like years ago, like during the wars, you know, like the Great Depression where you pulled up this box. And this is where you had your rationing food. Like, that's what it felt like.

AK: it was so scary. And I just remember being like, I thought we would never be at this point again in life. Like, I've never thought that this would happen again. 00:36:00I thought we were more civilized than that. And I remember as I was like, we I don't think we will ever be to that point. Because when people are scared and they're in fear, they don't think about anyone else they think about themselves. And that's where we were at in America it was so crazy.

BT: Which I honestly can see this whole issue coming back again. Even though we've talked so many times about how we've learned from that. Like it was the worst turning point in America. But I don't think it's over. I really don't. I really, really don't. But I think one of the scariest parts, like piggybacking off of what you said at the grocery store, I remember after going to Walmart that night and seeing just the shelves like empty. I like looked on Amazon because I was like, you know, like they sell groceries. Like that's typical, like, whatever, everything just out of stock out of stock out of stock, and they didn't go back and check for like months. And I was like, What is going on? Like where am I gonna find my food. Like, I have no food thing. Like, I was thankful when I came home that like I lived with my boyfriend's parents. My parents got divorced my 00:37:00senior year, so I like moved in with them. And they're hunters like they had so much freezer food. Like I was like, Okay, we're gonna live for like a month we'll be okay.

AK: I know. I was it was crazy. And I live in Minocqua. So we had like all the Chicago people coming up. And that's when our grocery stores really got to get empty because like we had all tourists come up. It was just like a crazy time. But I'm really honestly interested to see if like, in the future, I feel like this is going to be in like the history books. Like I feel like our grandkids or kids even are going to be in school and they're going to talk about COVID like the influenza epidemics, you know, yeah, it's gonna be in those history books, they're going to talk about, like, mom, like, were you alive? When this happened? Did you have COVID?

BT: Kind of like, you know, the 911. Like, we lived through that, like, they're always like, ask your parents where they were like.

AK: I was a day old for 911.

BT: Wow, I was like, a year and a couple months old, but I just remember like coming home like after the first learning about you know, in school, like the actual first lecture and being like, where were you guys like, that's crazy. I 00:38:00feel like that's what our kids are gonna do. They're gonna kind of come to us and be like, where were you when when the pandemic hit you know, I know I remember. Like I was a drinking in college like that's what I was doing. I know the lines of people that night like I remember looking out my window in the Scotts and like the lines of people going to the bars. It was insane. It almost seemed like a free for all for one last night like before we have to leave before getting kicked out like let's go like but

AK: no, that's just like how it was, you know? Like, it just kind of like happens. You just got to do what you got to do and college kids wanna fun, and that's what they're here for. And that's what's gonna happen. I know I know but I mean, it happens. I just hope that things keep going back to normalcy here on campus.

BT: But I see that it's starting, like when I was walking in here today, I actually read I had to double check this sign, it said, Polk library is now not 00:39:00requiring masks. And then I read it a little further. And it said, but if you're in the library, you need to wear a mask. And I was like, Wait, that just contradicted itself? Like I'm confused. But it said if you're in a class, so yeah, I don't know. Like, it's kind of weird. I don't know where you can go on campus without masks and I don't know where you can. Not so I don't know. It's weird.

AK: It is weird. It's like all over like some places say, you don't have to some places says you do like the dorms you don't unless you're on like the first floor and the basement and Polk or the library. It's like, if you're here for a class, you have to wear it. But if you're not for class, you don't have to.

BT: So like you still have to carry it on your wrist though. Yeah, like a fashion statement.

AK: Yeah, basically, basically. So it's kind of like all over the place. I don't know. I'm hoping, apparently second semester, maybe we're supposed to not have to wear them anymore. I've heard but now there's a new variant of course.

BT: that's what makes me feel like we're just going backwards again.

AK: Yeah. I mean, who knows? It's all over the place, but I guess we'll see. 00:40:00Yeah. So thank you for sharing your stories with us for the campus COVID stories.

BT: You're welcome.