Interview with Karina Hansen, 12/11/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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KH: This is Kory Helm interviewing Karina Hansen on December 1, 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 and the time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. First, would you pronounce your name and spell it out for us?

Karina H: My name is Karina Hansen, it spelled K a r i n a n H a n s e n.

KH: For the purposes of obtaining good audio recording, please tell us again who you are, your age, your major and your year.

Karina H: My name is Karina Hansen. I'm 20 years old. I am a social work major and I'm a junior.

KH: Just get started. We'd like to get to know you a bit. Where did you grow up? What can you tell me about it?

Karina H: I grew up in Ontario, Wisconsin. So it's about like 30 minutes away from Tomah, Wisconsin is a bigger city. And it's about 500 people, so it's a pretty small, close community.


KH: Tell me about your parents. What do they do?

Karina H: My dad is a high school teacher, actually at the high school that I graduated from. And my mom is currently doing her own personal training business, with elderly adults.

KH: When did you start thinking about going to college was it always given in your house? Did your parents go to college?

Karina H: Um, both my parents did go to college, and I guess it wasn't always given but just kind of something I always wanted to do. It was important to me so most of my life especially in like In Junior High and High School, I decided I wanted to go to college.

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

Karina H: Um, I guess there are a couple reasons why, a part of it is because they are known to have a good program for my major of social work. And it was one of the closest places that offered my major to where my hometown is. I wanted to stay close and then I also knew someone from that college as well.


KH: When you learned that UW Oshkosh was returning to in person classes for the fall 2020 semester, what was your reaction?

Karina H: Um, I guess I was excited because then like everyone else's last year, it was everything was moved online, which I didn't mind the online classes. But it would be nice to actually be able to get to know classmates, make some friends with some classmates and meet professors better.

KH: That semester, UW Oshkosh chose to offer some classes in person, but most online, what did you choose to do in this new reality? Why was this at that time, the best choice for you? Do you feel in retrospect that that was the right choice?

Karina H: Um, in fall 2020, most of my classes were online. I had a few that I did pick in person, but they actually ended up moving to online halfway through the year. So I had most of my classes online, which I didn't mind. I kind of liked the online classes for, especially like when it was like the generals, 00:03:00like I like having that. I could choose having more like my own time in my schedule kind of thing. So I, for me, I thought was best because I learned a lot still.

KH: How did you manage group projects, or final projects or labs if you had any? How did you deal with technology issues?

Karina H: With group projects, it was a little bit tough, but we made it work with some of mine I had, we would actually meet over Zoom for a couple times and work on things together and divide it equally so it wasn't so much working together, but it wasn't too bad. It was definitely harder to do things online versus in person with them. And then for technology issues, I didn't have too many, I have an occasional issues like this, and usually I just email my professors about it and they were pretty good about it, and making things work for me.

KH: How much do they COVID impact or major? Did you ever think of switching due to COVID changes?

Karina H: Um, I don't think COVID impacted my major too much, I didn't think 00:04:00about switching, I always, been always pretty set on social work. And it's always been something interested. It was definitely at first, like harder to learn in some of the classes when they're online because it's very, like, you have to like, talk about things more in person class. So that was harder in some of them but it didn't want me, I didn't want to switch my major at all.

KH: How did you feel the departments and faculty did with this hybrid approach to education? Were you getting a good education?

Karina H: I thought all the professor's I had did a really good job at like, being able to still teach us as much as they could, even though it's all online and trying to still make it enjoyable. And I had a couple professors too, like, every time before like we actually started class online. They would just ask us how we're doing with everything with COVID and make sure we're still okay and like checking in with us a lot. So I thought the staff and faculty really good at that,

KH: Did you live in the dorms at UW- Oshkosh?


Karina H: Yes, fall of 2020 I lived in the dorms I lived in Evans. Also, majority of them are freshmen at that time. I was a sophomore, too.

KH: How was it living in the dorms? Did you find yourself isolating yourself a lot.

Karina H: I didn't like it that much because like I said, I was a sophomore and all them are freshmen. So they were new and I was kind of set in my ways and everything. So it was difficult for me to make friends. So I didn't really go out with anyone in the dorms or anything, kinda just stayed in my dorm room. And I was pretty close with my roommate, so that was nice, at least, but I wasn't crazy for the dorms. I didn't think it was that great, but I didn't mind it.

KH: Did your interactions with other people change because of COVID, in the dorms at least?

Karina H: Um, I guess, possibly because I feel like there wasn't as many people like, either in the dorms in general or like, out of the dorms either because 00:06:00like, I honestly I didn't see many people in the hallways or anything. Like I didn't really meet anybody in my dorm besides my roommate, because I lived with her. So I think yeah, COVID could have affected that.

KH: With everything that happened, and so quickly, how are you feeling emotionally? How were the people around you coping?

Karina H: Um, I guess with COVID It was different with being home so much and everything and I think I was fine because I have such a good family and I was able to have a good place to go back to, with all that and people to talk to you. So I think for me, it yeah, it was tough not being able to hang out with everyone as much as often but I was able to manage and still talk over social media and texting friends and everything. But I think I was able to cope well, and I think most of my friends and family too, were able to cope well and still try to keep in contact as much as possible, even though we weren't able to see each other as much in person.

KH: So mostly just over social media?

Karina H: Yeah, over texting probably.

KH: How are they handling everything?


Karina H: My friends and family? I think about the same like we all managed to cope well and still talk to each other and everything. And I know some of them maybe struggle a little bit more because they're more isolated, either they didn't live with a family or they live by themselves. So that was harder if they live by themselves to like, be able to, because when I, I lived at home. And so I had all my family still with me. So I had people to talk to then, but people that live by themself, I guess struggled a little bit more with it, but it wasn't terrible.

KH: So when was the first time you heard about COVID?

Karina H: Um, I guess I heard about it a little bit, like, it was beginning of 2020. Like you kind of hear, like, things going around, like especially with my mom being in healthcare, like stuff is going on. And going around, my sister also work as a CNA in health care too. So like you kind of hear things, that like rumors, but like when you like for sure heard about it. It was more later, 00:08:00like February and 2020, you hear about it more and it was becoming more like, things are shutting down and like new laws are coming out about it and stuff like that.

KH: So how did you do, or what did you do to prepare for this?

Karina H: Um, well actually, I knew the college I was at was shutting down and moving to online. So I actually, before they did it, I moved everything out of my dorm, moved completely back home, and tried to get everything set up at home with my family and my mom still had to work too, so she was able to get groceries for us. But otherwise the rest of us just stayed home and made sure we had everything we need before, it kind of happened the shutting down.

KH: Oh, where were you living at, at the beginning of shutdown?

Karina H: I was living at Western Technical College in the dorms there, that's where I was going my freshman year. And I moved back home when everything shut down.

KH: Did you move out right at the shutdown or at a different time?

Karina H: I actually moved out before it was kind of at the beginning of spring 00:09:00semester, I switched all my classes online and moved back home for more personal reasons and kind of just, I like that better and like there's rumors going around with COVID. So I thought "better safe than sorry" and just moved back home right away. But I did occasionally, like, I still had the dorm. So I had a couple stuff still left up there, but I also did work in that area too. So occasionally I would go back and I worked select shifts here and there but otherwise, I moved back home right in beginning of spring semester of 2020.

KH: Were you able to work through the shutdowns?

Karina H: No, I did not work at all, I just stayed at home and finished my classes online.

KH: How much do you feel things are getting back to normal? And for that matter, what is normal to you? What would school have to be like for you to call it normal?

Karina H: I feel like things are slowly getting back to normal. For me it'd be nice to not have to wear masks anymore, just be able to not worry about masks 00:10:00and like, I guess go being tested for COVID all the time, like that being like a regulation. Versus it'd be nice to just, if you felt sick, yeah, I'd get tested for COVID. But that'd be my reason for getting tested and just not having to wear masks inside of buildings or anything like that would be normal. I do think it's slowly will get better, hopefully. But as right now there is still the masks we have to wear

KH: When you lived in the dorms, what did you think about the weekly testing regulations?

Karina H: Um, at first, I was like, not a huge fan of it, because it was kind of uncomfortable when they test you and the way they test you at first, then doing it for so long you get used to it. And so it kind of just came part of my routine, it was pretty normal. So I didn't mind it, but it wasn't like the best.

KH: Are there any aspects about COVID life at school that you think won't change back?

Karina H: I guess, I don't know. I mean, I could see possibly like, they keeping masks at certain things like, just because that also can help with other 00:11:00diseases and illnesses. But I think that would be the only possibility.

KH: Maybe like the sanitation of things and stuff like that.

Karina H: Yeah, like the sanitation keeping things clean.

KH: They'll just be a little more conscious about it.

Karina H: Yeah.

KH: What about you? Are there any aspects of yourself you think COVID has changed for good? How do you think this historical event might have changed you permanently?

Karina H: I don't think it's changed me too much. I guess like, with being more like, in certain times, you'd be more by yourself and not going out as much. I got kind of used to like, not having to go out as much. So maybe like, I just don't feel the need to be out and about, and more willing to stay in if I need to, will be the only way it changed me. But otherwise, I think I pretty much stayed the way I was before COVID, it kinda maybe changed my views on some things, but that would be about it.

KH: Do you think you're more conscious about staying clean and social distancing now?


No. I don't think so. Like, yeah, COVID is scary, and like, it can be very bad if you get it. But I don't think now with everything being better. And I know I have like, a stronger immune system. So not too worried about social distancing. And a lot of like, I do the basics of washing my hands and keeping myself sanitized. Like, I should be pretty good because it's worked before COVID. So I think it would keep working now.

KH: Just to revisit a couple of topics. Why did you choose Western Technical College?

Karina H: Um, I choose that college for financial reasons, because technical colleges are quite cheaper. And it was close to my hometown, and I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go yet for my major of social work. And like, I can't get my major at that technical college. So I thought I'd go there for a year, get my generals, and try to figure out what college I would want to go to and maybe talk to some advisors there too, see what they thought and kind of figure out from there.

KH: So why did you choose UW- Oshkosh?


Karina H: Um, there's a couple reasons I guess. Part of the reason I chose Oshkosh is because I had limited options. I did really want to stay in La Crosse area, but there is only one college that offered my major and it was a private college. It was a quite a bit more expensive, and I didn't want to be spending that much on college. So I was looking into other colleges. And so Oshkosh was known for having a pretty good social work program too. So that was kind of always in my mind. It was kind of between Oshkosh. I thought about going to Green Bay too, because they're about the same distance from my hometown. That was like one of my big factors is I didn't want to live too far away. So Oshkosh is about two and a half hours away, which is pretty far, but it was kind of the closest college that offered my major that I actually liked. Like when I went to the campus, I liked the setup of the campus and the environment was pretty nice. And I actually, I had my significant other, was also going to that college too. So it was kind of like, I at least knew someone there, so it wasn't a completely 00:14:00unfamiliar area.

KH: What were your experiences transferring from WTC to a four-year university?

Karina H: Um, it was kind of scary, I guess, because like at Western, it's close to my home and it's kind of a really small college too. So like versus going to Oshkosh, which is a much bigger college and everything. So it's pretty scary with that and like trying to figure out all the new things and it's a completely new area for me too. So like learning the area, learning like the how the college is set up, and like how like things normally run with all the different professors and stuff like that. And also like the thing I didn't really like, because coming in to Oshkosh, I was a sophomore. But the way they had everything set up because it's a new college. I was kind of like, in a sense, a freshman. I was considered, so it was kind of like, almost like, going through that same freshman stuff I did at Western and I to do it again here, which that part kinda sucked. But like I see why they did it. But it did affect me especially with 00:15:00like the dorms choosing. I was a sophomore, and I got, not very good picks with dorms. So I ended up having to be like a, what they consider freshman dorm, Evans Hall. So everyone else there was freshmen besides me, which was a little difficult with that, too.

KH: So going to a new college, and during the pandemic, how did your classes go in the fall of 2020?

Karina H: They did, I did good. But like it was definitely a change to go from completely online at a technical college to a four-year college with partially like in-person or like the hybrid classes, it was very different and like, kind of challenging at times, like learning, because like it was also a different system, because Western doesn't use Canvas. So I had to relearn a new online system completely different from what I knew, because Western Technical College uses Blackboard actually. So it was like relearn a completely new setup and 00:16:00system. So that part was kind of scary, and like learning that, and I didn't want to like miss assignments or anything because I didn't know what was going on. So relearning that, [Unclear], I guess learning something completely new was harder on top of like, more difficult classes too, because I was getting more into my major. So I had like harder classes. But I did well in all my classes still, but there is still those extra challenges I had to accomplish over.

KH: So, what changes did you see between your classes in the fall of 2021, in the spring, or fall of 2020, and spring of 2021

Karina H: I guess, fall of 2020 there, most classes were either hybrid or online still. And, there were people living in dorms, too, which was different, but so like, occasionally you would have in person classes. But I know for spring of 2021, most classes were actually offered, like there's a majority of classes 00:17:00still that move to in person, there are still the occasional online classes. But I actually moved back home for second semester because I was kind of ahead in credits. And so I only had to take two classes. So I took two classes online and just moved back home to help my family because they're kind of still struggling with COVID with, I have younger siblings and helping them out with that because my parents like my mom still being in health care. And then my dad's still having to work too, online because he is also a teacher. So I kind of moved back home to help out with that, too. So I guess it was different for me than what most people would of have been because I know most people still stayed on campus. And they had more in person classes. But I chose to have online classes actually, during second semester.

KH: Were you able to work during the spring of 2021 while you're taking your classes?

Karina H: Yes, I was actually able to work full time at my local high school 00:18:00actually, is where I graduated from. They needed, like, extra like AIDS within like the special ED program. So I was able to work there, pretty much full time whenever I got the chance to work and I was still able to complete all my things and assignments for my classes and get really good grades in that too, which was kind of another reason why I'm back home to be able to work more and have more opportunities working kind of close by.

KH: Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Karina H: No, I don't think so. I think we covered pretty much everything.

KH: Thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate your contribution to the campus COVID stories at UW Oshkosh.