Interview with Lydia Crow, 11/16/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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LB: This is Lauryn Berg interviewing Lydia crow 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 experience and the time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. First, could you please pronounce your name and spell it for us?

LC: My name is Lydia Crow. It is L-Y-D-I-A C-R-O-W.

LB: For the purposes of obtaining a good audio recording, please tell us again who you are.

LC: I'm Lydia Crow.

LB: Great. What is your major and year? And how old are you?

LC: I'm a sophomore. My major is kinesiology and exercise and sports science. And I am 19 years old.

LB: Just to get started, we'd like to get to know you a little bit. Can you tell me about where you grew up?

LC: Sure. I was born in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. But when I was a baby we moved to Libertyville, Illinois where I grew up. It's like a suburban community, like the 00:01:00northern suburbs of Chicago about two hours from here.

LB: Can you tell me a little bit about your parents? What do they do?

LC: Sure. My dad is an electrician. My mom and dad actually work at the same company, it's called ADVI. It's a pharmaceutical company. My dad's an electrician there and then my mom she works in, like works with contracts or something. I honestly don't know what she does-- but she works in an office.

LB: Now, did you always plan on going to college?

LC: Yes, I did. I knew because I play basketball. So I've played ever since I was little. So I always knew it was always a dream of mine to play in college. So I always wanted to pursue my education and my basketball career in college.

LB: So why did you decide to come to UW Oshkosh?

LC: Mainly, it was, at first it was because of the basketball program, because there's a really good basketball program here. And when I visited, I just fell in love with the campus and they have really good education systems. And the 00:02:00major that I wanted to go into was here and they have a really good program here for Kinesiology.

LB: What did your parents think about you moving so far away to go to college?

LC: I think it was a mix of emotions. I think they were happy that I could be independent and kind of live on my own. But also, like, they were sad, because I am close with both of my parents. So I think it was definitely an adjustment for them. For them to be home alone, because like I have an older brother, so it was just me at the house. So I think it was an adjustment for them to finally be, like, by themselves.

LB: All right. Now let's move on to the earlier days of COVID-19 UW Oshkosh. So in what ways did the pandemic impact your perspective on school and learning?

LC: It definitely impacted how I see school now. Because, you know, when the 00:03:00pandemic first hit, like, I was in school and then we got taken out. Like my senior year of high school we moved to online learning, which I'm not a fan of at all, and then when, like last year for freshman year, my freshman year here. It was my, all my classes were online, so it was really hard for me to stay engaged in school. And it definitely is, like, affected. Especially now since classes are in person. It's like, it's hard for me to adjust back, I guess.

LB: Did the pandemic impact your perspective on your major or your future in your career that you wanted to go into?

LC: Not really just because I knew that the pandemic wouldn't be forever. And like now that things are starting to get a little bit more normal there's like hope for me after I graduate, because like, I want to be a strength and conditioning coach. So I know that I can still interact with people and there 00:04:00are still jobs for that after this.

LB: So how was your relationship with your family during the start of the pandemic?

LC: It was good. It was like I said, I am close with both of my parents. And like it was kind of weird being around them all the time. But it was also good because we got to spend a lot more time together. We got to bond, like, watching TV or just eating dinner together. Like just the little things definitely brought us closer and I definitely appreciated them more during the pandemic, just because it was, like, just us.

LB:Did your family dynamic change in any way?

LC: A little bit like my dad. He wasn't working at all because he's an electrician so he couldn't go into work. So it was different because he was home a lot. So I spent a lot of time with him. And then like my mom continued to work 00:05:00from home so really, it was just like, the only thing that was different was my dad was home more.

LB: How did the pandemic impact your friendships that you've had?

LC: So-- while going into college I didn't really know anyone because first the pandemic was happening. So I couldn't really meet anyone except for my basketball team. So then when I got to school, my basketball team was like the only people that I knew. And so that kind of forced us to be even closer, just because we couldn't really go out we can hang out with other teams and other people. So I definitely formed strong connections with them in the beginning.

LB:What were some of the difficulties of participating in basketball during the pandemic?

LC: There is definitely a lot of difficulties like we had to, well, first of all, our season didn't start until, like, the end of December and normally, it's 00:06:00like games start in October. So we went like, two, three months with just practicing alone. So that was a grind because it was, it's hard to just practice and know you're not going to play games, or if you do play games, if you're only going to get a certain amount. And so, like, we only had eight games last year. So obviously, that was different. And then, like we had to practice with masks on, like our bench was separated. So like it was just one chair, like five feet from the other chair, and it was just a whole thing. So you weren't really sitting next to anyone. And then we didn't have fans at all, they weren't allowed to be there. We, like during practice, we would stay in the same group. So you were only, like, having contact with certain people in case there was a positive case, then you can contact trace and all that stuff.


LB:What position do you play in basketball?

LC:I'm a shooting guard. So I like to shoot threes.

LB:How do you feel about these new regulations that were put in place during basketball? And did it impact how you played?

LC:Yeah, so I obviously was not happy about the regulations that were being put in place. But also, I wasn't like against them. Like, I knew that they were there for a reason to keep everyone safe. And obviously, everyone's health is way more important than a game. And-- so I think that, like, for one, I was a freshman at the time, so I didn't really play in the first place. So it was more of a like, just a learning experience about the team. So I was, like, our COVID year was kind of actually beneficial to me, just so I could, you know, learn the 00:08:00team, learn the plays we do, learn the coaching style, all that stuff.

LB: How did COVID impact your relationship with your teammates?

LC:We definitely got closer. So like last year, like we only ever hung out with each other, like, on the weekends when we didn't have stuff we would just be at, like the basketball house all hanging out together. So it was super fun. We all got really close to each other and like we spent more time together last year than like we do this year. Now that things are changing a little bit more.

LB:What impact has COVID had on your ability to form relationships?

LC:Like romantic relationships?

LB: Romantic or friendship, either one.

LC: I mean, like, friendship wise, it was difficult at first just because like you couldn't really go out like I was living in the dorms, it was you couldn't 00:09:00really meet your neighbors really that much like on your floor just because everyone was kind of like taking precaution. And so I didn't really get to meet a lot of friends that I like lived with on my floor. So I really just relied on my basketball team because I did spend the majority of my time with them.

LB: What types of other clubs were involved with on campus, if any?

LC: I was not involved in anything else except for basketball.

LB: How did being in school during the start of the pandemic affect your mental health?

LC: It definitely took a toll on me mentally. I think it-- I was not as productive in school I like like I said all my classes were online so it was really hard for me to stay motivated to study or to pay attention in class when I had my phone right next to me and-- or just to even like, it was hard just to 00:10:00even pay attention, just like, I woke up and had to turn my laptop on and I was in class. And that was like, I was almost falling asleep. It's just hard that way. And then, I guess that kind of affected me now, just because I do feel like I'm still not as motivated as I was. And I think COVID would be a really big, like, reason for that.

LB: Was it ever lonely during the pandemic?

LC:Yeah, sometimes it did get lonely. I mean, like, I had my roommate, and the dorms, but-- like I said, like, I didn't really get to do a whole lot except for be with my basketball team. So. And like, they did help with the loneliness. Like, I knew I could always count on them, like, everyone was kind of in the same boat. So they definitely helped me out of like, the isolation part of it.

LB:What sorts of coping mechanisms Did you resort to during the pandemic?

LC: I mean, I watched a lot of movies. I went on social media a lot. I listen to 00:11:00a lot of music. I learned to do things for myself, like, I learned that like, I really like to drive by myself. And I just like, give myself a peace of mind. Kind of give me a like a reset. So I think the COVID has really taught me how to take care of my mental health, because I don't think I realized how hard it could be or how, you know, bad it was, until COVID hit, I guess.

LB: Had you ever contracted COVID or known someone who had that during the pandemic?

LC: I have never had it. But I have known a lot of people that have gotten it, like half of my basketball team got it. When we first started the season. Last year. My brother's fiancee just had it a few weeks ago, my assistant coach just 00:12:00got it this week. So a lot of people that I know have had it.

LB:How safe did you feel when you were living on campus during the pandemic?

LC:I honestly did not feel that safe, at least from COVID. Because, like, so my mom, she has a compromised immune system. So I was really cautious about what I was doing, where I was going, who I was with, because I didn't want to give anything to her. Because if ,like, she would have gotten it, she would have been in the hospital. And so I did everything I could to take the precautions I needed to help her. So I, like, I didn't go out that much. Just because I, like, I don't know who is there? I don't know, like this. People weren't wearing masks like when they go out. So I'm like, that's risky. I don't want to take that back 00:13:00home with me.

LB: Going a little bit back to the summer before you started your freshman year. Did COVID impact any of your plans that summer?

LC: I mean, not really that summer, but like, right when COVID hit we planned like a spring break. Because it was March and so we couldn't, we ended up not going obviously. And so like that kind of bummed me out. But like the summer we didn't plan anything just because like we took it seriously like we quarantine we isolated. So it was really just like, me and my family just hang out all the time. Like we would go outside do things, a lot of things outside together.

LB: So for fall of 2020 So did you have any concerns when you were first coming?

LC: Yeah, I mean, I was concerned with the COVID because of my mom, because I 00:14:00didn't want to bring anything home. And I was concerned about school because I knew that I'm like a visual learner. So I knew that online classes were going to be hard for me. And then basketball wise, like we had no idea if we were going to play like there was no guarantees. We didn't learn until like the end of November that we were going to start playing.

LB:You said you had all online learning for your first semester, right?


LB: What were some of the-- what did you find most difficult about that?

LC: I'm probably just like, honestly, just paying attention. Like some like some of my classes were an hour and a half long and I had to sit there in my room, trying to pay attention to some, like, to a professor who's like, all monotone and I it's really hard to pay attention for that. And then just like making myself, like, study when there wasn't like outside factors, it was literally 00:15:00just me.

LB: What were some of the regulations that were put in place in the dorms when you first came?

LC: We had to wear masks everywhere if you weren't in your room, so I had to put on a mask to go shower, to go to the bathroom, to go anywhere. We were only allowed I think, like, one, we first of all weren't allowed any guests. And then I think towards the end, we were allowed, I think one or two. I think it was like one, one guest per person. So like, there's a lot of like four people in the room. But yeah, and then like the dining halls and stuff were all different. And like you weren't allowed to eat in it, eat in there at all.

LB:How did that impact your social life and connections on campus?

LC: I mean, it definitely impacted, like I couldn't, I couldn't go eat with people. Like I had to stay in my room with my roommate. I mean, so I really 00:16:00relied on my basketball team for those connections. Because if I didn't have those, I would seriously only have my roommate and like, feel a lot more alone than I did.

LB: How did you feel about having to be tested for COVID?

LC: I didn't mind it honestly. Like at first, it was kind of like, I guess annoying, just because we had to, like, during season, we had to test three times a week. So I kind of got a little I guess, like, annoyed with that just because how it'd fit in my schedule and stuff. But honestly, I would rather do all that and be safe and careful than risk not knowing if I have it or if I'm spreading it to other people. So I didn't really mind it that much.

LB: What was the process like of getting tested? How did it happen?

LC: So we-- like the COVID testing site is in Albee, so like there's a pool and 00:17:00a gym in there. So you'd have to go in. Normally, there's like a line sometimes it was busy, sometimes it wasn't. And then obviously the social distance in the line. And then there is workers there who like called you up to like the desk or the computer. You had to tell them your name, what time your appointment was, if you had any symptoms, if you have been exposed. And then you like swipe your ID, they gave you a label with your name on it and your date of birth. And then you had to go to another table where the nurse or doctor, I don't really know who does it, but the medical workers were they like, they always asked you confirm your name and date of birth, and you give it to them and then they're like blow your nose put hand sanitizer on and then they swab your nose and then put it in a thing and then you can go so--


LB: When the vaccine first came out, how did you feel about it?

LC: I was excited about it. Because like I knew, I knew when it came out that I wanted to get it because despite everyone and like their doubts about it, or like their fears, I'm like, I don't think that the medical field or like the FDA would put something out there that wasn't good. Like I don't, I didn't believe the skeptics about it like so-- and I wanted to protect my mom. Like that was honestly number one, that like I was gonna get it so I could keep her safe. So I was excited about it, that I could finally do that.

LB:Is there anything else that you wanted to add?

LC:I hope that things are gonna get normal again soon. Like-- they look like 00:19:00they're going in the right direction, like things are getting a little less restricted, but hopefully soon we won't have to be sitting by each other in masks anymore, and things will be back to normal.

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