Interview with Holly Baierl, 11/16/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐KR: This is Kennedy Rud and in this room is myself. I am interviewing Holly Baierl on November 16, 2021 for campus COVID stories. Campus COVID stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences at 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?

HB: My name is Holly Baierl. Holly Baierl.

KR: Perfect. And what is your major and year and age?

HB: My name is Holly Baierl. I'm a sophomore majoring in Nursing at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and I'm 20 years old.

KR: For the purpose of obtaining a good audio recording. Please tell us again who you are.

HB: My name is Holly Baierl. I'm a nursing major at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh 00:01:00and I'm 20 years old.

KR: Just to get started, we would like to get to know you a little bit. Where did you grow up?

HB: So I'm from a small town called Luxembourg, Wisconsin. And it is 20 minutes east of Green Bay.

KR: And what can you tell me about it?

HB: Luxembourg is a very small town. Very much everybody knows everybody kind of place. The typical small town you'd see in like TV show or movie.

KR: Can you tell me about your parents? What did they do?

HB: So my dad works for Georgia Pacific. It's a paper making company, and he has had a few different jobs. He's bounced around there. But as of right now, he works in the office somewhere planning the machines and stuff like that and then my mom is a secretary at a filtration company. So they sell like the big air 00:02:00filters that go in the air ducts in buildings and places.

KR: When did you start thinking about going to college and was it always a given in your house?

HB: Yes, I would say for the most part, it was expected that I would go to college. That was kind of just the next step that came after high school. I would say I started thinking about colleges and potentially where I would want to go towards the end of my junior year of high school and then into summer and then into my senior year.

KR: Why did you choose to go to UW Oshkosh?

HB: So I chose to come to UW Oshkosh because it has a great nursing program and that's what I'm intending to major in and then also because I wanted to play volleyball somewhere, and I had an opportunity to come play here. So between 00:03:00nursing and volleyball, this is the perfect place for me to go.

KR: Okay. Now let's move on to the early days of COVID. At the beginning of spring spring semester 2020, where were you in your schooling?

HB: So spring 2020. I was a senior in high school.

KR: And when do you first remember hearing about COVID?

HB: I remember hearing about COVID I would say briefly throughout maybe January or February of 2021. But it was kind of like this far off thing that I didn't really think would ever impact me or my life here. But then I would say around March was when I first heard of it coming to the United States and specifically coming to Wisconsin. I remember hearing about a case in Madison and I think 00:04:00that's when like everything kind of started to sink in that it was going to come here and it was going to be like a problem for us here.

KR: What were your feelings as everything in mid March started shutting down all of a sudden?

HB: So I remember being in school in March. And there were like you would hear stories in the news about college campuses closing and sending kids home. And then around my high school there were rumors that we were going to get sent home as well; we weren't sure for how long.But I remember there was a Friday, I'm not sure which day it was but it was in March and they told us to pack up all our things because there was a chance that we weren't going to come home that we weren't going to come back to school for the rest of the year. So we had to pack 00:05:00up all our stuff from our classes, clean out our lockers and at the time I was a senior in high school so I remember walking through the halls thinking, this could be the last time I stepped foot in here.

KR: And how did that make you feel? Knowing that you might not come back to your senior year?

HB: Um, I kind of had mixed feelings about it. I know, a lot of my friends were very upset and emotional, that they would be missing out on the last few months of their senior year. I would say I was not as upset as they were. I was kind of in the point where I was ready to be done with high school and move on to the next part of my life. So I wouldn't say I was super upset about it at the time. But it was still a very surreal thing. That the day before, we never would have even considered it. And in a day's notice, we were told that we weren't going to come back to school for the rest of the year.

KR: How would you describe your feelings about the disease itself?

HB: So COVID is a very interesting disease. From my point of view. I would say, 00:06:00like at first people, you would hear people talking about how it wasn't a big deal. It was just like a flu or a cold or something like that and I definitely know people that have had COVID, that would agree with that experience, I would say it wasn't a big deal for them, they felt a little bit sick, but it was nothing too serious. But then other people, like definitely, it affects them more so than the others and they're down, they're sick, they're in a hospital on a ventilator there and it's just very strange to me, how different the disease can impact different people, especially like it does, you can't really expect how it's going to impact somebody, it's not the same, like a completely healthy person could be down in the dumps and then an old person could barely have a cough and it's just very strange to me.


KR: How were other people in your family affected by COVID?

HB: So I would say I didn't really know anybody personally, who got COVID until fall of 2020, which was my freshman year in college. But, I did hear stories about people that got sick, and even some died. So I would say it didn't hit me personally until that fall when I was actually in college.

KR: Okay, and how are COVID protocols dealt with first in your home?

HB: So I'm in my hometown, again, it was the small town, we weren't really like near a big city so I would say my town did not take it very seriously. Especially with masking, like nobody wore a mask, nobody wanted to wear a mask, 00:08:00if you would go because Green Bay is like the closest city to my town and if you went to Green Bay, like, at some point, they had a mask mandate there so if you went to Green Bay, you had to wear a mask. But, I would say people in my town put off those types of protocols for as long as they could.

KR: Okay, since you spent a lot of time with your family during the spring, what were some challenges of being around them so much? And were you able to get out of the house when you needed to?

HB: So my mom was actually, she works in a small office. She has her own office, and there's maybe like, three or four other people in the office at a time max so she was actually able to keep going to work. She didn't have to stay home at all and I think at some point, they put in place that she had to wear a mask. And then my dad, he works for a bigger company so he actually got sent home and then obviously I was home from school. So, we both kind of had our little like 00:09:00office spaces set up. My dad was upstairs on the dining room table and I was downstairs in our basement on a big table and it was very interesting, because obviously, I don't know, I'm pretty close with my dad, he and I do a lot of things together. But, we would wake up everyday, have breakfast together, and then go our separate ways to do our work, potentially, like have lunch together and then we actually got into like a routine of he and I would go on bike rides almost every single day we would. That was kind of like our bonding thing that we would do. We spent a lot of time together and got very close, especially right before I moved into college so it was neat having that time with him.

KR: So once you did find out that your high school was going to be all online, what were your feelings about finishing your senior year online?


HB: Finishing my senior year of high school online was very, very different. So the Friday that we actually got sent home, my high school worked on a block schedule so we had half our classes on one day, the other half on the next day, and they would alternate. So we were actually allowed to come back to school that following Monday, have all of our classes and it was just enough, like just long enough of a time for the teachers to explain their plans for putting stuff online, where you would find their work, if they were going to have a zoom class, and all this stuff. So it was just very, like a lot of information coming at you at once and then I remember being home on Tuesday and kind of like an Oh, 00:11:00crap moment, like, do I remember where everything is? Am I gonna miss the chat, a chunk or a section of the things I have to do, because I don't remember where they put it. So it was very much scattered when I got home trying to remember everything that I would have to do and where to find all the instructions and things like that. But then after a while, I kind of got set in a routine of I do this class's class work on this day, at this time, and I just kind of fell into routine and it wasn't so bad after that.

KR: What do you think you missed out on from your senior year?

HB: So my senior year, I actually, I participated in track and field. It wasn't something I was super serious about or even super good at, it was just kind of something I did to be with my friends and to stay in shape because I did play 00:12:00volleyball so it was it was a little bit hard that we weren't going to have that season and we weren't going to have that opportunity. But I think other, other people that I'm friends with, it hit them harder, because they had a spring sport that they cared about so much. But, I would say for me, volleyball was what I really cared about and I got that I got to have that experience in fall of 2019 and I was just happy I got to have that and grateful that that part wasn't taken away from me.

KR: Prior to COVID, how excited were you about going off to college and being away from your parents?

HB: I was very excited to move off to college. I'm an only child. So I had never had like an older brother or sister that went through that experience. But, I had older cousins that talked about how much fun they had in college and how 00:13:00they met their best friends in college and they had these great experiences so I was very excited to move out of my small little town and meet all these new people and kind of start over with friends in an environment where nobody knew who I was, or nobody knew like everything about my life, because that's kind of just how the town that I grew up in was.

KR: And how did the pandemic affect the way you were preparing for college?

HB: So, going into college, anticipating to be a student athlete, over the summer, Oshkosh, volleyball hosts a bunch of youth camps throughout the summer and my plan was to work those and help out with those and in the meantime, meet my future teammates. Get kind of acquainted with the space in the gym and the people and be able to familiarize myself with like how the environment was going 00:14:00to be and slowly one by one throughout the summer, these camps got canceled and I found out and eventually all of them did and it was it was frustrating because it was something if I was nervous about moving into college, this was kind of going to be like a practice round like ease myself into it before fully moving away from home and so yeah, that experience was kind of frustrating.

KR: With everything that happened so quickly, how were you feeling emotionally and how were people around you coping with COVID?

HB: So I would definitely say a lot of the people around me were very frustrated about you know, everything closing down from me with the camps to people getting 00:15:00sent home from school, people getting sent home from work, restaurants, closing businesses closing all these things, you just kind of felt very isolated and very, like your life got put on pause, but time kept moving. And I would say, I definitely gained and learned a lot of patience from that situation because any anticipation of anything that you were looking forward to, like, I had concerts, concert tickets bought and planned that I was going to go to these things, and they'll slowly got canceled as well, or postponed and I would say just a lot of patience that I learned like, nothing was guaranteed at that time, even if you were anticipating being able to do something or go somewhere, like it could be taken away from you in an instant. And that was just something you had to kind of be okay with. So it just kind of took a lot of expecting that things weren't 00:16:00gonna go your way and just accepting that, like, that's just how it was gonna be and you might just have to wait on some of those things.

KR: During the summer of 2020, can you tell me about any jobs you had?

HB: So I had actually throughout my whole senior year, and then throughout the spring, I had worked as an in-home caregiver for a man that lived just up the road from me, who was actually paralyzed from like, mid chest down. His family owned a farm that was just up the road from me and then he lived in a small house across the street from them. He still lived in a house pretty independently. He had a wheelchair with like controls that he could maneuver around his house, and for the most part do almost all of his daily tasks. But I 00:17:00would go there every morning before school, or not every morning, I would alternate with another, another caregiver. But, I would go there in the mornings and I would get them out of bed, clean them up, get them dressed, and get him ready because he actually did work as well. So I was still able to do that throughout spring while I was in school and then once we got sent home from school, I was actually still able to do that and then in summer, I also picked up a job working at a nursing home as well as a CNA or a Certified Nursing Assistant and I worked there and that was also a really good experience. So I had those two jobs summer before college.

KR: So then going back to the one where you were a home caregiver, how was that affected once COVID started coming through?

HB: So once COVID started to become a bigger deal. We actually the caregivers 00:18:00that came would, we had to wear masks, COVID there weren't a whole lot of cases in our area so I wouldn't say we were super concerned about bringing him the disease and stuff like that but, we were still trying to be cautious and wear masks. I don't know if there was some type of travel restriction or how that went. But, I actually got a basically a permission slip from the farm, his family's farm saying that I worked for the farm and that if it ever happened that I got pulled over and I needed an excuse to be on the road that actually had a permission slip saying that I worked for an essential business and I worked for the farm and I was able to drive to work. It was never super clear about the rules around that or if there was like a huge restriction. But I 00:19:00remember them handing me that sheet and it was so strange, like, I had to be given permission to drive my car even if it was just to work. But yeah, throughout the pandemic, then also the man that I took care of he because of his disability and because he would be more susceptible, he stopped going to work. He just stayed home, which was tough on him because he's already in such like a restrictive state of that he can't do too much and going to work was something that he enjoyed doing and he had like he had friends and stuff there and it was something he loved to do and love to socialize. So I know that was hard on him when he couldn't go to work anymore. But yeah, I was still grateful that I was able to still go see him and still take care of them because he was such a joyful and like inspiring person to be around.


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

HB: So I remember before I was ever able to sign up for classes earlier in the summer, we had been given the news that classes would resume in person, and we would be able to go do that. So I was super excited, because I had spent months of doing high school, online classes and online work and I was honestly not interested in doing that, again, I didn't, I don't know it's harder to learn that way, it's harder to focus that way. So I was excited that I would be able to go to college and that first experience of college classes, I would still be able to do online. Later on, and by the time I got to enroll for classes, that had changed, almost everything was online. So I was enrolled in I think, five 00:21:00classes my freshman year and it actually turned out that only two of them were in person and they were actually like, I don't want to say easier but the easier of my classes. My science classes, the really tough ones, were online and I had a writing class and a political science class that was in person so I was grateful that I did get the opportunity to have at least a few in person classes, because I think it made the experience more normal but then the other classes I did have to do online.

KR: Okay. What was your vision of your freshman year, going to be like pre COVID?

HB: So while I was working out the nursing home, I had this all planned out, I was gonna be done working on this day, I was gonna move into preseason 00:22:00volleyball on this day and I was so excited, I was going to move in, I was going to meet all these teammates that I was excited about meeting, I was going to start volleyball, I was going to start school, I was gonna have this brand new college experience with all these people and new experiences. And then at some point, we had a Zoom meeting with our whole volleyball team here at Oshkosh, and our coach told us that preseason was not going to happen, we weren't gonna be able to move in early, we weren't going to be able to do that. Which is super disappointing, I really wanted to be able to do that after having the camps canceled and all that. So then I found out I would be moving into college, like with everybody else, with all the other students at the big rush, move in and so then I had to go back to work and tell my boss that, hey, I'm actually available 00:23:00for two more weeks. I know I said that I would have to move into college early, but that's not happening anymore and she was happy to hear that she wanted the extra staff there, but. So anticipating that, besides just volleyball, I was excited about classes, I was excited about meeting new people in the dorms. I was excited about being in a new place where nobody knew me and I just kind of got to have a fresh start and that kind of got pushed back and a little bit dampened.

KR: So talking a little bit more about volleyball, how do you feel like it affected you emotionally during that time not having a regular season or not being able to see your teammate as much as you probably would, with a regular season?

HB: Yeah, so with a regular season, it's a similar schedule to how like high school sports would be like you practice Monday through Friday, unless you have a game and unless you're traveling, obviously but with COVID, we weren't allowed 00:24:00to have any games, not a single one so we would practice like three or four days a week, from September all the way through December when we got when we went home from winter break and it was just very strange. You know, like, usually if you play a sport you practice anticipating to play somebody anticipating to compete against somebody and to just practice knowing that it wasn't really building up to anything specific. You were just kind of practicing to practice. It got a little frustrating after a while, because you know, you play sports to compete and you play sports because you want to like play against somebody else and do all these things but it was just kind of a very frustrating experience to just go to practice almost every day and then not have it be for anything specific like obviously it can be for preparation for later on but you want that 00:25:00gratification of practicing so that you can play somebody else and that kind of got taken away, which was disappointing.

KR: And then how do you feel about the COVID protocols that were in place at UWO? The masking, testing being put in quarantine dorms?

HB: So, when we first got to campus, fall of 2020, which was my freshman year, they were very strict about masks. You know, you were, as soon as you got in the building, you needed to have a mask on, if you were in the hallways, if you were in the bathroom, if you even, I got warned once or twice, I was in my own dorm room, but my door was open and they said, hey, you know, if your doors shut, you can take your mask off but if your doors gonna be open, then you need to be wearing a mask within your own room, which is just crazy. Like, when you're at college, and you're living in a dorm, that room is your new home, it's like the 00:26:00place where you go kick off your shoes and relax and it's kind of your own space and to be told, Hey, you have to wear a mask in there, too it was just so bizarre to me and yeah, the masking was really strict. People were constantly getting warned or written up about that and I think we had to COVID test once a week when we got onto campus and so you had to make an appointment online, and you had to test right on campus. But then, yeah, again, back to in the dorms like, you could only have a certain amount of people in the elevator. So, if there was a big group of people that wanted to go an elevator, only a few could go in, and then you had to wait for the next one or if you want to, you were meeting new friends and you wanted to have people over in your room. Well, you could only have I think at first it was only like three people in the room. So you, your roommate and one other person and you know, you want to meet people so 00:27:00like you not that you sneak people in, but like people just kind of come in your room and then all sudden you get a knock on your door, CA's how many people are in there and you have to open the door and like there's way too many people in here and there's only four. So you have to tell somebody to leave and it was just very like it felt less like home like it was supposed to like you make your dorm all roomy and homey to try to make it feel like a new home to you but you're still told all these things you can't do.

KR: And how was it? Did you find yourself like isolating a lot when you were in the dorms? Or did you find it pretty normal?

HB: It was definitely not normal. I think that's like the opposite of what I would have called it. There were a few people on our floor who kept their doors open and I did my best to kinda like if I was walking down the hall kind of peek 00:28:00my head and introduce myself, if there were people just kind of hanging in their room, and I did meet quite a few friends that way and so that was nice. What was the other part of your question?

KR: Did you find yourself isolating a lot?

HB: So yeah, there were, you couldn't eat in the dining hall for a while or if you did, you had to sit at your own table. So a lot of times I found myself just I don't know where else to go. So I'll just sit in my room and it kind of got a little claustrophobic at one point, like you want to go out and you want to go do these things but there's not really anywhere you can go. So you just kind of sit in your room with your roommate and yeah, it very much felt like a box and a like a place you were a little bit trapped.

KR: And then what were your thoughts about campus dining?

HB: So I kind of said it a little bit earlier but at first we moved onto campus. 00:29:00If you went to the dining hall they had all the tables all spread out, you could tell like, that's not the setup they intended for like the year before and there were all these tables spread out like really far apart and if you wanted to go eat with friends, like you had to go sit at your own separate table, you can sit at the same table with them and it was just very impersonal and very spread out. So a lot of the times we would take our food and go eat outside or go in our room. But you know, the food was bad. It was pretty good actually for being like cafeteria food.

KR: So you were kind of saying how your interactions changed with people. Do you feel like you became less social because of COVID?

HB: I would definitely say I don't know about less social but it was more 00:30:00difficult to be social, you had to go out of your way to go peek your head in somebody's room. Like you weren't just with people say in a class or somebody or somewhere where you got to meet people that way you had to go out of your way to go peek your head in somebody's door or like intentionally do something rather than going to go hang with people after class or going to go do things in just like a more natural way. It was more intentional that you had to be about socializing.

KR: How do you feel the department and faculty did about the hybrid approach to classes? Like did you feel like you got a good education?

HB: I would definitely say they did their best to adjust to online learning. The classes that I did have online, they would have zoom calls, or some of them would do their best to explain. They would provide the PowerPoint presentations 00:31:00that they might have used. They really did their best and especially when I got sent to quarantine, I emailed them and they did their best to accommodate to the position I was in and continued to be flexible with the situation that we were all in.

KR: So you said that you were put into the quarantine dorm. So did you ever test positive for COVID?

HB: I actually did not test positive, but my roommate did. So she got sent to the quarantine dorms and I got sent to a different dorm that was for someone with close contact because depending on when you were exposed to them, it was possible that you might develop COVID later on but you just hadn't like weren't able to test positive yet. So I actually got sent to Gruenhagen to quarantine for close contact. My roommate had to quarantine for 10 days, because she 00:32:00actually had COVID but I didn't have COVID and I had to quarantine for longer. I had to quarantine for 14 days. So,you know, I got notified that she had tested positive and it was kind of like, Oh, crap, what? Like, what do I do? What do I do now? So I found out that I had to go to the quarantine dorms. So we were both kind of packing up, packing up our things, and getting ready to move out of the room that we were finally starting to be familiar with and we had to go our separate ways, go to different dorms and quarantine there.

KR: And how did being in the quarantine dorm affect you?

HB: So being in the quarantine dorms it was very much like getting sent to exile like, there were, I was on a floor that looked almost identical to the one in my 00:33:00dorm room except it was a floor of what would have been like 20 something people, but there were only five people on the entire floor. So I don't know, you didn't run into people too often. But there were two friends of mine that had actually gotten quarantined at the same time because we are exposed to the same people and, you know, for the first few days, we were hesitant, we're like, oh, should we interact should we like, potentially expose ourselves if one of us did, like, get COVID later on. But after a few days of sitting in your room by yourself and you know, you can only FaceTime so many friends from home in the day to make it feel more normal. But after a while you're just in a room by yourself. You're in a box, you're isolated. You go stir crazy in the room, not 00:34:00being able to talk to anybody. So I think after a few days, we had like, texted each other and we're like, hey, like I'm going to go crazy. Are you going crazy? Yeah, let's just hang out, who cares? Like not, who cares? But like, it's more harmful to our mental health, then helpful for our physical health to just not see anybody or not have any human interaction for that long. So the three of us kind of quarantined together. We would do our homework and then hang out, watch movies, watch Netflix and we kind of made the best of the experience. Like I definitely wouldn't say quarantine was a fun time and I'm so glad I went but for the like as unfortunate as the situation was like we did try to make the best out of it. We kind of fell into routine and we were able to lean on each other to make the experience go by a little bit faster.


KR: Okay. Now think about your second semester as a UWO student. It's Spring 2021. How did your living and learning experience change?

HB: So in spring 2021, I was actually able to have more in person classes, I was able to have my chemistry lecture in person or my chemistry lab in person and so that was kind of a neat experience, because my lab from the previous semester was online and just more stuff kind of started to open up the dining hall, you still had to keep some distance, but you're able to sit at a table with other people. And more stuff kind of started to open up, there were more activities available and there were more people just moving around on campus. Fall semester, the few classes that I did have in person, I would walk to class, and 00:36:00I would maybe see like a handful of other people, even on the sidewalk, within an eye shot, spring semester, I would walk to class and not that the sidewalks were packed, but you would see more people in passing and it felt like, like, it felt a little bit more like how it was supposed to like other people are going to class and you were actually seeing people like move around on campus where I think for first semester people were more isolated in their rooms, and maybe they didn't leave her room for a class.

KR: Okay, and then when the vaccine first came out, what was your initial thought of it?

HB: So, since the pandemic started, they, I remember hearing things about, oh, we got to get a vaccine out, we gotta find something to help, like, prevent this kind of thing from happening and help people not get sick and then you would hear things about, Oh, no way, that's not going to happen for a long time like that stuff takes a lot of testing a lot of research, like they're starting from 00:37:00scratch with a brand new disease that nobody knows about, this is going to take forever, for a vaccine to come out. And I think it was January of 2021, when it actually did come out and it was kind of a thing that was like, oh, it's already here. Like, we didn't think this was gonna happen for a long time so I would say there was a lot of hesitation at first, just because it did come out so fast and you were kind of a little critical about it. But I did end up getting vaccinated sometime during the spring semester and I decided to do that because I knew I was going to be working in healthcare and working in the nursing home and that kind of thing and I wanted to go back to work, knowing that I wouldn't unintentionally bring COVID or bring that disease to somebody whose loved one, 00:38:00somebody's grandma, somebody's mom, family member, I didn't want to be responsible for getting them sick and doing that kind of thing so I made that decision.

KR: And then in the fall of 2021, vaccines became readily available on campus and strongly advocated so what were your thoughts about the VAX Hub campaign that urged students to get the vaccine?

HB: So yeah, it was very highly encouraged for students on campus to get vaccinated and with being a student athlete, it was even more so encouraged because I think at one point, they kind of incentivized us that, hey, if I forget which percentage it was, it feels like 80% of the team. If 80% of the team gets vaccinated, you guys don't have to wear a mask at practice next semester or something like that and so between work and being an athlete and all 00:39:00the encouragement, I decided that that would be a good choice for me and I think there was even an incentive at one point where, hey, if you get vaccinated, and then turn in, like a picture of your vaccine card to the school website, you'll get put in a drawing for a free MacBook and I was like, you know, heck yea like, I want a free MacBook and so there was just kind of all these incentives and push factors to do it. So if it wasn't gonna be the athlete thing or the health care thing, you know, the chance that you'd get a free MacBook was enough for a lot of people that I know.

KR: And now looking at Fall of 2021, how do you feel? How much do you feel like things are getting back to normal on campus?

HB: So it is even more open than it was so in spring of 2021 and it's even more open now in fall of 2021. I think at one point, I heard that the dean or the 00:40:00chancellor, somebody, their intention for this semester was to be exactly like a normal semester would be, but you just have to wear a mask. So they're still, they're reopening events and activities, and clubs, and intramurals, and all these things, and sporting events and all these things and it's as normal as it can be, you just have to wear a mask, and obviously, test and encourage to get vaccine vaccinated. And so I think it feels a lot more normal and I can kind of get a glimpse of like, what college life is supposed to look like through this semester. And it's definitely getting to be more normal, but just quite not there yet.

KR: And are there any aspects of COVID that you think won't go back to normal?

HB: So, one thing that I noticed throughout the pandemic since the beginning, a 00:41:00lot more things are getting cleaned more often, whether that be the countertop at a at an office or at a literally anywhere, or they disinfect the pens that you sign a paper with, or they're disinfecting door knobs, they're, like, through my mom's company, I'm, she's telling me that it's crazy, the all these companies and buildings and facilities are replacing their air filters, because they want, like more clean air for people with COVID and just like all around and hand sanitizer everywhere, you can find hand sanitizer within 20 feet of anywhere you walk and obviously, that was to try to keep people safe and try to prevent people from getting COVID. But I think that's something that'll stick around, like just people being more cleanly and people being conscious about cleaning things and disinfecting things more often. I think that'll stick around.


KR: And how do you think COVID has changed you?

HB: So COVID, I would say, came at a pretty significant time in my life. You know, when it first happened, I was 18 years old. I'm 20, almost 21 now, and you know, that's like a big part of your life, a big part of life, coming up of adulthood, and a time where you're supposed to soak in and learn all these things and experiences and you know, kind of got hit with a ton of bricks of like this, like crazy, unexpected experience with COVID and it kind of forced you to grow up a little bit faster and become more mature and become more patient and all these things I would say it definitely impacted me in the way that I'm more patient and grateful for the things around me because I know how 00:43:00fast they can get taken away and like my young adult years are like, running away pretty quick and like a lot of it got taken up by COVID time but making the best out of and not taking for granted the the experiences and the time that I am able to take advantage of.

KR: Do you have anything else that you'd like to add?

HB: I would just talk about my work experience with working in the nursing home. I would say my senior year of high school that summer when I worked there COVID was still pretty new and the pandemic hadn't really hit that area yet. So you know, we wore masks but there weren't allowed visitors. So that was kind of my first experience with working in healthcare; was a experience where people can't 00:44:00come in, visitors can't come in and there were masks and it was all spread out. The residents all had to eat dinner at the table, but spread out and so like that was kind of the way I was introduced to health care and working in health care. People, you know, people come in to see their family members, people come in to see their grandparents, but they can only talk to them through the window or over the phone or we had iPads that you could like, FaceTime them. But it was a little bit heartbreaking because some of the people did not get visitors as much as others and they were lonely and they were homesick and maybe they were new to the like to the nursing home where they were used to living at home and now there's kind of almost a similar experience that I was with college like getting sent away and not being able to see your family as much as you want to and kind of like the shock to the system. They had lived at home for how long 00:45:00and now they're getting sent off to this place in a tiny little room almost like a dorm room. Eating food like cafeteria food that other people make for you like they kind of almost went through the same experience that I did. But obviously a lot different but and then when I worked out the summer after my freshman year I went back to this nursing home and even that winter I did too and for COVID outbreak did unfortunately hit my nursing home that I worked at. But oddly enough, it was always when I was gone at school. So like I was there during summer in COVID, hadn't really hit, we didn't have a single case, I went off to school during fall and they had a huge outbreak, a bunch of the residents, a bunch of the staff all got COVID, they had to lock up, like send people to, in their rooms, they couldn't come out. They had to, like, shut down doors of hallways and stuff and then by the time I came back, you know, nobody had an 00:46:00active COVID case, they're obviously still very cautious but there were no active cases by the time I came back and it felt similar to how it was the summer prior. But obviously, they had gone through a lot in that time span while I was gone and then a similar thing happened from winter to spring. I was gone in spring, and then they had another outbreak and kind of like not experiencing it, but hearing the stories and like knowing the people that went through that experience.

KR: And any other last additional comments?

HB: Not that I can think of just like I don't know, like how we're so, I feel like we're so used to living in this time and where COVID is not normal, but it's our new normal and like, I just can't imagine like what our lives would be 00:47:00like almost without it anymore. Like you know, we always talked about going back to normal, but like I don't even know what normal looks like anymore. Like I would love to see like what, people 50 years in the future, like, look back at our experience and like ask us about it and all this stuff so I think that's kind of like what this is for. But it's just kind of interesting to think about, like, how strange this time is and how it's going to be looked back upon.

KR: Alright, well thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate your contribution to the campus COVID stories at UW Oshkosh.