Interview with Nick Hanke, 12/02/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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JR: This is Jordyn Raba interviewing Nick Hanke On Thursday, December 2 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?

NH: Nick Hanke, N I C K H A N K E.

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

NH: Alright, I'm Nick Hanke. I'm a junior right now. And my major is marketing.

JR: And your age?

NH: My age is 20.

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

NH: So I grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin, about a couple miles out of Milwaukee and I grew up with my two parents. And then in elementary school, they got a divorce. So now I live with my dad and my mom and stepmom, not stepmom, stepdad. 00:01:00And then I have two younger sisters, Olivia and Lily, and one of them is at Waukesha West and the other one is attending [University of Wisconsin] Madison.

JR: When did you start thinking about going into college?

NH: I didn't know for sure if I was gonna go to college. It was kind of, I wouldn't say last minute, but I wasn't looking too hard into it. Oshkosh was actually my only college that I did apply for. And I always thought about going to college because I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life. And I think coming to college, I actually figured out what I wanted to do. I first started going for computer science, and then I changed it to marketing. So before coming to college, I didn't know what I was going to do. And I think college really helped me figure out my path in life.

JR: Were your parents an influence? Like Did they go to college?

NH: My dad went to college for half a semester. He just didn't like it. He wasn't really a school guy he dropped out and it wasn't really, given that I 00:02:00would go to college, they kind of pushed me towards it. Because they knew this was gonna be a better path for my future. And this could help me succeed more in life and just be able to provide if I do have a family, provide for those.

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

NH: I chose to go to UWO because there's a lot of opportunities and like I said, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do and Oshkosh here, there's a lot of different majors that I can go for. And it's just a lot of variety. And I wanted to get away from my house. I thought about going to UW Whitewater, but it was too close. I wanted to kind of get away and branch out and kind of expand my horizons.

JR: Can you tell us about your pre COVID Life at UW Oshkosh? Like what was your freshman year like?

NH: So pre COVID, I was living in the Webster dorms with my high school friend and I played football with him, Trae. And it was actually very enjoyable. I 00:03:00actually really liked the dorms and I had a lot of fun. I made a lot of new friends and kind of, it just got me open to more of the college life. I kind of had no really expectations coming into college. I just thought it was go to school. study. That's about it. But I learned there's a lot of new opportunities on campus, doing intramurals, going to the gym, doing group activities, things like that. And pre COVID It was, I was doing a lot of those activities. I was hanging out with friends. And once COVID did start I kind of leaned away from that because I didn't want to transmit the virus

JR: at the beginning of spring semester and 2020 Where were you in your college career?

NH: So I still believe I was undecided at this point. And I think maybe I was going for computer science. I kind of think over that spring semester into the 00:04:00fall semester. Next year after that I kind of figured out what I wanted to do with that. And I think taking all those prereq classes, I kind of figured out what I liked and what I didn't like. So that kind of helped me out on my path.

JR: And then did you have a full class load that semester?

NH: Yes, I was taking 15 credits. I've been doing that since freshman year. So it's kind of, it's been a lot of work, but it's paying off in the long run.

JR: And then did you live on campus spring semester?

NH: Oh, yes, I did. I was living in the Webster dorms.

JR: And then what was the first thing that you remember hearing about COVID-19?

NH: I just saw a little news clips on Instagram, Facebook, things like that. I, I just thought it was kind of, I kind of related it to Ebola when it first happened down in Africa and I because Ebola had a couple cases here, but never 00:05:00fully got here. So I was like, oh this is just going to be another thing that's happening in a different country, it's not gonna affect me. And I wasn't really nervous at first, I was just thinking, I'm just gonna keep going about my normal life. I didn't think about wearing masks or anything like that.

JR: And then what were your feelings as everything like at Oshkosh and everywhere else in mid March, when everything started shutting down?

NH: I think I was more scared than anything because the uncertainty with this virus, because when it first started happening, you heard the several cases popped up in Chicago and New York. And you, you just kind of didn't know how fast it was gonna explode. Because in China, it really kind of just started with a few cases, and then it expanded really fast. And I think I was more worried about it, affecting my family more than me. I just didn't want to transmit it to people who I care about, because I'd put a lot of like, that's, if I got someone 00:06:00else sick, I'd really kind of put that on me for getting those people sick.

JR: Prior to the university shutting down, how much planning had you had for a shutdown? Like, was it a game, there's a game plan, did you?

NH: um, I don't think I had much of a plan at all, I knew my parents would totally be fine with me coming to live with them. Because they're, I go home once every month, if that and then I stay with them, they have no problem with me coming home. And then I just thought, when it first happened that we were just having an extra spring break just so they can get ready and just have the testing centers get brought up. And I didn't really know what was gonna happen. And I knew if something were to like the school shutdown, I knew I could just stay at home. And I could live with my family that way.

JR: So we were sent home a week before spring break, did you have any plans?

NH: So we were actually going to go down. My dad, my sisters and my girlfriend, 00:07:00we were going to go down to Alabama down in Orange Beach. And I was actually very excited for this. And we were thinking about going down there, Still, because the COVID cases were very small. And down in Alabama, they actually had like, like 10 COVID cases at that point. So we thought we were pretty safe. And then a couple of days prior to the trip, my dad ended up canceling because one thing, he had to go to work and he also didn't want to get COVID and then miss work. So that was another big thing. And but when we were supposed to go down there, we actually, the US went into lockdown that week. So we would've got locked down down there. And we probably, it would have been pretty bad because we had no idea what was going on at that point. And we didn't know if we would have enough money to get back up here. If we had to live down there, we didn't know if we could pay rent down there for food, things like that. So we were 00:08:00kinda, I'm kind of happy, we didn't go because that's a major problem that would have happened for us.

JR: So what did you do during your spring break instead of going on vacation?

NH: Ah, so spring break I, I was kind of thinking about maybe coming back up to school if they were to reopen it. So I was kind of thinking about that and how they would do it. And I also was kind of thinking about how they would do online school. Because a lot of these teachers didn't know what was going on. And a lot of my teachers said, oh, we'll see you after this extended break, which I don't think they had any realization of how big this was going to actually be. And then during my spring break, I would just go fishing a lot down in my hometown. And I wouldn't go with like my friends or anything. So it was just a nice way to get out and enjoy the nature, enjoy myself, and kind of get away from life. And get away from the COVID scare that was happening and just kind of get my mind off things.

JR: Do you remember how long you initially thought you'd be home?


NH: Yes. So I thought I was gonna be home for just that extended week. And then like that extra spring break we got I thought we were actually gonna come back up. But then once I got home and more cases started popping up and then kind of saw how bad this was actually going to turn out. I kind of figured out that we weren't going to go back up to school for that rest of the semester.

JR: How did your transition back to living at home go? Like was it difficult to be living with your family again?

NH: The transition was pretty good. I'd say I didn't, I have a really good relationship with my family. So me going back there wasn't that big of a deal. I think the biggest thing was kind of adjusting to living at home and doing college because that's kind of hard for me to do when I'm at home. I don't want to be doing school. I kind of want to spend time with my family. So that was a difficult transition to kind of, when I am home I need to be doing school and kind of focus on that.


JR: And then how are the other people in your home affected by COVID.

NH: So when COVID first started, there was a lot of uncertainty with my parents with their jobs, then they didn't know if they were to be considered essential workers. So this was, was probably one of the biggest things that was first affecting us when COVID happened, because we were more worried about if our parents lost their jobs, if they can provide for us if they can provide for and keep our house. And that was probably one of the biggest thing, and then how else they got affected. No one got COVID. At that first initial wave that happened, we were pretty lucky to not get it for almost a whole year. So that was a nice thing. Because no one, we didn't really have to worry about any of our family members dying or getting seriously sick and spreading it to others.

JR: And then how were COVID protocols dealt with first in your home? Like did you mask up, did you social distance?

NH: The first thing was social distancing. So once the lockdown happened, and 00:11:00COVID kind of got out of control, if you want to put it that way. social distancing, we weren't able to see our friends, the only people that we could see was like our girlfriends or boyfriends. And this was, like their families, we're also doing the social distancing. And for me, masking wasn't really, I wasn't really doing it at first, when it first happened because I thought all I'm a teenage kid, if I do get it, it's just gonna be like the flu, nothing else. And then, kind of a couple weeks, I kind of thought about if I were to get and give it to my grandparents, my dad, and if they got seriously sick, what could happen and I didn't want to lose a family member. So I first started masking up then

JR: Since you spent a lot of time with your family, what were some of the challenges of being around them that much?

NH: I think just, I wouldn't say annoyance, but kind of just small arguments 00:12:00that you get, especially with me and my sisters, we just like to pick on each other. And I wouldn't say it's really a struggle that happened or a challenge. It was more just family, I guess it was just kind of adjusting to my new environment now and trying to put family life, school life, all together in one and I had to get it all done. So that was probably one of the major challenges. I just, it was kind of hard to put school first which I ended up figuring out how to do that I figured out how to kind of manage my time better and this was, probably helped me out even to now now that I'm able to be back up here at school, I kind of am better at doing my work to get done for school.

JR: So how did you find the transition to online learning? Like, what did you do to prepare yourself?

NH: Ah, I didn't really prepare myself much. I just thought it was gonna be, like I had a few online lectures once in a while if like my professor was sick 00:13:00or something or couldn't make it that day, transportation issue. So I was like, I didn't really know what to prepare myself for I was more just thinking it was going to be easier, I guess, because I'd be able to be at home, kind of be comfortable instead of sitting in a lecture hall. But I think mainly the toughest part was kind of focusing when you were at home and on the online classes, because the online classes, the teachers not really seeing you. So it's pretty easy to go on your phone, get distracted, go get something to eat and miss some of your lecture, or even just skip all around because you don't want to get out of your bed. So that was probably one of the main things I had to adjust for online classes is when I did have my classes, I needed to focus in on that and kind of just get that done out of the way. And then I could enjoy my free time.

JR: Did you have any labs or group projects for like finals week?

NH: Yes, I had a presentation for one of my classes. It was kind of strange, 00:14:00because I've never did a presentation online. So it was kind of new to me. And it kind of I wouldn't say it didn't go well. But I wasn't putting my full effort into it. I think I kind of I'd say I'd slacked off more than usual. I got it done last minute. And all my other group mates, we didn't really communicate well with each other. So it's kind of hard to put the presentation together. And that was for information systems. And I enjoyed that class, but it was kind of difficult when it went online like that because it was very difficult to communicate with my team members because it was more, it was gonna be a group based class and it was just hard to communicate with them.

JR: And then what were your feelings about finishing up the semester off campus?

NH: Um, I was kind of excited because I like to go fishing a lot. So when it did go on online, I'd be home, which means on the weekends and stuff. And if I 00:15:00didn't have class that day, I could go fishing. And I actually really enjoy doing that. So I didn't really mind doing it, Finishing off campus, the only thing that, um, kind of made me upset was I was having really a great time with all my roommates. And then people who were living next to me, it was a, it felt like family pretty much it was. And I'm still in connection with a lot of those people I met, and we're all really good friends. So I think that was the main thing that kind of affected me the most was not seeing them and kind of having a good relationship with them.

JR: And then you mentioned that you were undecided when you first came here, did you decide your major? Like, did the COVID have anything to do with that?

NH: No, I COVID didn't have too much to do with it, I kind of realized that the degree that I was going with was computer science, once I did decide, I was thinking more into it and did some research. And I didn't think it was a good 00:16:00fit for me. So I decided to go with marketing, because I like talking to people. I like figuring out problems, how to make things better for people. And I just thought marketing had a more wide selection. If I didn't enjoy the marketing thing that I was doing for a company, I thought I could go somewhere else, do things like that. So it kind of had a wider variety for me.

JR: Did you work during COVID, like after you've gotten home?

NH: Yes. So I was working at Halquist Stone at a stone company down in Sussex. And I wasn't working full time or anything like that, it was just part time around my school schedule. So a couple of days out of the week, I would only have one class. So after that, I'd go into work for six hours, and I tried to get stuff done and, and a couple times during the weekend, I'd go there and work Saturdays too depending on how much I had to do for school. It was kind of weird, because at that time, they weren't taking too much protocol. Like in the 00:17:00inside portion for the selling part, which I wasn't in there at that time, I was just out in the quarry just lifting stone. So for me, I didn't really have to worry too much about COVID at that time, it was, it was pretty much just me out there. So I didn't have to worry about social distancing, anything like that. So I wasn't too afraid of getting it.

JR: So were you considered essential?

NH: Yes, we were considered essential for construction. So that's why we could stay in business. And that's one of the main concerns because we didn't know at the time when COVID first started happening if we were considered essential because my dad also works there. So that's one of the main reasons why I worked there too, is because we were considered essential, and it was a great way to pay off like student loans. And then now I'm living off campus. So now I need money for food, rent, things like that.

JR: And then what were you making at the time?

NH: So I was making $16 an hour, I believe 16 or 15? One, the two, we would get 00:18:00$1 raise each summer. So it was one of the two. And it would at that time I was doing a, we call it a pallet rule. So every pallet of stone we would get done, I'd get paid a full hour for that. So it was kind of based on how many pieces I would get done is how much money I'd get for the day.

JR: Did you think it was worth it? Like the pay?

NH: Yes, I think it was worth it. It was good money. It was good spending money. And I didn't know at that time, how i'd be paying for school, which I'm not taking on any student loans right now. So working there really helped me kind of helped me pay for school. And if I didn't have that job, I don't think I would be able to do what I'm doing right now. And the pay there, I was doing the pallet rule at that time during COVID. And it's a matter of how much I wanted to 00:19:00work and how much I wanted to put into it. And I could have done two pallets and got paid nothing or I could have done eight to ten and got paid a lot more.

JR: But everything that happened so quickly. How are you feeling emotionally? Like how are you coping and how was your mental health?

NH: I'd say my mental health was pretty good. I think I had I had a good support system around me with my family and friends and girlfriend, I think we all kind of we, were scared at first because of the uncertainty we didn't know how bad it was gonna affect us if we were to get it, what would happen if we did get it, if people, we couldn't see each other, if someone had to go to the hospital, if we transmitted it to someone else we cared about. I think the uncertainty was just the huge part because we didn't know if we were gonna be on lockdown for months. We didn't know if it was gonna be for a week. We just had no idea what was going to happen about tests, things like that. So the uncertainty was the big part of that.

JR: And then like with your friends and family that you never, or that you 00:20:00didn't see as often, how did you stay in contact with them? And like, how are they handling everything?

NH: So the main thing that we did was group FaceTime calls. So we do that once every week, every two weeks, something like that. So we'd all join in, just say hello to each other, ask how everyone's doing, we'd like text, communicate, and group chats, kind of asking how they're dealing with it. And if anyone's been sick. Pretty much we just, it was kind of hard to stay close with them. Because we didn't get to see them as much, we kind of, it was it felt like something in our life was missing. And then also with friends, it was kind of weird, because we were all living together like two weeks ago, very close with each other, enjoying our life. And then all of a sudden, something happened. And now we don't get to see each other. We can't go outside our house much. It was just a really weird time in our life.

JR: Once a semester finally ended, how did your life change? Like, what do you 00:21:00do during summer?

NH: So once the semester ended, I just went to work full time. And at that point, I was just working outside. So COVID didn't really affect me much during the summer, it was, I would just carpool with one of my friends. And we both just worked together there. So we, so I didn't really have to worry too much about like social distancing. Because the only time I was kind of close to someone was in the car right there. And we both were kind of staying away from people. So we didn't really have to worry too much about it. But it was still in the back of our heads that something could happen and we could get sick.

JR: And then when you learned that UW Oshkosh was returning to in person classes for the fall of 2020 Semester, what was your reaction?

NH: I was excited. And I, online earning I wouldn't say is easier. But when it first happened, the classes were easier because the teachers didn't really know 00:22:00what was going on there. They were all kind of confused. They were just putting slides up telling us to look over this stuff. And then one of my classes, it was all political science. And me and Jordyn actually took that class together. And that class was, at first when we were at, we're in person, we were doing the tests, we were having actual tests online, or not online, in person, which it was, the tests were actually pretty hard. It was hard to understand the concept, which because I'm not a political science major, I don't fully understand that concept. But it was, it was an interesting class. And when it did go online, we had to do, Yeah, we stopped all the tests and everything like that, we were just doing a discussion posts pretty much. So it was a very change of pace for that class, it was very different, I guess, because I was used to studying, taking notes and doing a test. But now I have to kind of wrap my head around the 00:23:00concept and write out what I think about it. So it's kind of difficult to kind of do that class. And then another class was business class, I forgot what it was, I think, essential as a business or something like that. But that class, we had a huge test coming up that week, we got sent home, and I didn't get to take it. So I was just thinking all out to study over this extended spring break and kind of come back and get it done. But we didn't end up going back. So that class, he didn't really know what was going on for it. So we kind of had to, we were just doing quizzes online and doing our chapter things. And that was the whole grade for our class. So that class ended up being very easy, because we didn't have to do any of the exams. It was just quizzes, which the quizzes were actually I wouldn't say easy, but it was easy to understand if, because we could have our notes on it because it was you beforehand, we could use our notes on 00:24:00the quizzes. So it was just quizzes and then the assignments so that class was, ended up being very easy for me.

JR: So that semester, Oshkosh chose to offer some classes in person but most of them online. So what did you like what, what did you choose to do during this?

NH: So at first I had one class in person and the rest of them were online. I decided to do online because I didn't really know what the, what was going to happen if I did go in person. So I did do one in person class. I actually changed it to online eventually because a lot of my other classes were online like right after that class and it was just kind of struggle to walk to that class and then come back and then get on that class right away. So I just changed it to all online and I I enjoyed it online, but I also don't learn as good as a person because I focus better in person. I kind of wrap my head around it and I kind of get more of a connection with the teacher because it's in 00:25:00person. So I kind of understand it better when I am there and kind of being able to pick up cues on why he's focusing on a topic more than others, things like that.

JR: And then did you come back on campus for fall 2020?

NH: Yes, I was living in the Fletcher Hall. And I was living with my friend Bryce at the time.

JR: So what was life like at UWO when you came back?

NH: I think everyone was just uncertain what was happening. We didn't know the COVID cases were rising on campus, there's a lot of cases that were just popping up week over week, and we thought we were gonna get sent home again. But we ended up didn't. I think one of the major thing was, like the food, how they did the food we were, So we were, I was living with my roommate. But when we went to go get food, we had to sit six feet apart, but we live in the same dorm. So I didn't really understand that because we were literally sleeping right next to each other every single night and living with each other. But we couldn't eat 00:26:00right next to each other when we would go get food.

JR: So how did you feel about the other types of protocols that were put in place, like the masking or testing?

NH: The masking, I was totally fine with, I think it's probably a good thing that there was masks, there still is masks, because it's just one kind of boundary for you to not get COVID. And masking, So it's just, it's not going to prevent you from getting it, but it's gonna prevent you from spreading it and getting other people sick. So the people who did end up getting COVID, if they were their mask correctly, it should have helped the the tests, like the testing rates go down, because less people are going to come in contact with that person and not be able to spread it as much. And then social distancing, I understood what was happening. But I didn't also at the same time, because like I said, the 00:27:00dorms, I was living with my friend at the time, and we'd be next to each other all day. But then when we would go out to get food at the cafeteria, we couldn't sit within six feet of each other. I understood, like if you didn't see people why they want you to be split up, because it's less likely to transmit it. But we're all eating there without our masks on and everything. But then we couldn't sit next to each other. So it kind of just didn't make too much sense in my head.

JR: So how was it living in the dorms? Like, did you find yourself isolating there a lot? Or did you see your friends often?

NH: Ah, I did not enjoy that semester, because I was I wouldn't say I was isolating myself, but I was trying to stay away from others I don't communicate much with because I didn't want to get COVID. And because I didn't know what was gonna happen, when I did get it. And I kind of it kind of made me, I wouldn't say sad or depressed. I was just kind of in a funk I guess. I just wasn't myself 00:28:00during that time, I was kind of feeling like I was missing part of my life, which I was was the communication with close friends, family and that. And I just thought that during that time, they were pretty strict on being able to see your friends like that, and being able to go work out things like that. And I just thought that they could've loosened it up a little bit. And it probably wouldn't, it probably would not have had too much impact on us.

JR: Did you meet any new or more people or more new people? Or did you just stick with like the friendship that you had before

NH: I did not meet any new people at all. I actually just stayed with the friends that I knew. I wouldn't say I was scared to go meet these new people. I just didn't have too much of an interest going to kind of get a friendship and we were going to be living off campus next year, and I didn't really have too much of a need to go find new friends. And if I did find new friends, we wouldn't be able to see each other much because we were living on campus and there was restrictions on how many people can be in dorms at a time, things like that.


JR: So then what do you think was the biggest change at UW Oshkosh that you saw from the spring semester of your freshman year to the fall of your sophomore?

NH: The biggest thing was just how strict they were on restrictions. Before COVID happened they were, had no restrictions pretty much about people in dorms, things like that. And then once I came back, it was pretty much a totally different place. You couldn't eat together. You had to wear a mask which is totally fine. I totally understand that. And then dorms, go into shower, things like that. You had to wear a mask as long as you were in the bathroom unless if you were like brushing your teeth, showering. So it was just a totally different lifestyle I guess because I was used to going, hanging out with people going to the gym and then coming back and not being able to do a lot of those things kind of made me feel just different.

JR: So how do you feel that the departments and the faculty did with this like 00:30:00approach to your education with all the protocols or even going online?

NH: For the most part, I thought they did pretty good. I just think when we first went online, we didn't, no one really had an idea what was happening. And none the teachers knew what was gonna happen going online, because a lot of these teachers, they first started learning about

Canvas and stuff. And there were a lot of my teachers were actually still trying to figure out how to use that. So throwing that in there with putting it online, grading everything online, doing lectures online, I just think a lot of the teachers didn't know what was happening and they, I think now if we were to do it again, if something were to happen like that, I think a lot of the teachers would be totally fine doing that. But at that time, there was just a lot of confusion, what they should be doing, what, how they should be teaching us things like that.

JR: Did you feel like you were getting a good education?

NH: I wouldn't say a good education. But I thought I was getting educated enough 00:31:00to understand what I was doing. Because going online like that, they had to cut things out of their lectures, they had to, like that one class, we didn't have any tests or anything, so I was still learning the materials, but I just wasn't fully committing myself into learning the material because we didn't have the test so I kind of just didn't put my full foot in the door to learn the stuff. And I think, coming back now, it's kind of, I wouldn't say affecting me. But it's taking me a little bit longer to relearn this stuff, and to kind of get in the new groove.

JR: So in the fall of 2021 vaccines were available on campus and everywhere else. And it was strongly advocated by administration and the CDC, what were your initial thoughts on the vaccine?

NH:So my initial thoughts, I just thought it was gonna be like the flu vaccine. So I didn't have too much of a problem getting it, I actually got it pretty much as soon as I could up here. And I have both my doses. The only thing that kind 00:32:00of scared me about the vaccines was the first thing about the Johnson and Johnson's, when they were getting blood clots, things like that. And there was the recall, which I didn't get that one, I was just more worried because some of my family members have gotten that one so I was worried more about them and their well being. But I wanted to get the vaccine right away, because I wasn't really thinking about myself, because our age group don't, like the death rates very low when you do get COVID But people still do die our age. So I wasn't really too worried about that. I was more worried about the, like my grandparents, my dad, mom about getting it because there was a lot of uncertainty of how bad it's gonna hurt them. And a lot of people that I do know have gotten hurt by it or have died from COVID.

JR: As of now, how much do you feel that things are getting back to normal? Or what's normal to you?

NH: I feel like we're pretty close to back to normal. I think the only thing is, 00:33:00I don't have a problem wearing masks, but I just wouldn't consider that normal because that was, my whole life I've never worn a mask. And I just think once we get rid of that, I think we're be pretty much back to normal. I just don't know how normal it's going to be once like if you get COVID again, and it's not gonna feel normal because you're gonna have to isolate yourself, stay away from people so that's gonna be one of the major things why I don't know if we'll ever get back to normal unless if no one has the quarantine, which I don't know what's gonna happen with that.

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

NH: Um, I don't think so. I think everything's kind of back to normal. The school has been lifting like the mask mandates for the gym, people living on campus in the dorms and then things like that. So I think that was one of the major things is they have been lifting stuff and I don't think it really matters 00:34:00if they start to do testing, things like that, I feel like that should be considered normal because they don't want to get us, Other people sick. They have a responsibility to protect us which they're doing by the testings and still having the mask mandates. But eventually, if we get more people vaccinated, I think they should lift the mask mandate, because, like in the classrooms, because I'm fully vaccinated, and I'm not scared to get COVID Because I've already got it. So I'm just more worried about giving it to other people. So I just don't know what they're gonna do about that in the long run.

JR: So you said you had COVID? What was your experience with that like?

NH: So when I first got it, I was sitting in my girlfriend's dorm, and we just got tested that day. And it was just a random testing actually, I didn't sign up Because I was feeling sick. I started feeling sick that day. So I first got a headache, and I just a pounding headache, I took medicine, nothing was helping 00:35:00it. And I was like, I just probably have a headache. I've been sitting inside all day doing schoolwork, things like that. And then a couple hours go by, and my girlfriend gets her test results back, and it's negative. And then usually mine would come back right away. But then I didn't get mine back for another couple hours. And then I was kind of confused by that. I was like, oh, did they misplace it or something. And then later that night, I got the test results that it was positive. And I think I had a feeling that maybe I'd have it because of the headache. And I know that was one of the symptoms. And I could still taste everything like that. So I was just confused. So I called my parents and then we kind of figured out, because we had to go either quarantine in the dorms or in Gruenhagen or go home. So my parents both needed to still work so my grandma was out of town and my uncle lives with her so my uncle already had a COVID before 00:36:00that so my grandma stayed at my dad's house when she did come back, and we were quarantining in my grandma's place. And there was a door that we shut and we just stayed in like these three rooms. So that was kind of what happened. So I had to go live there for the week or two and my symptoms so, that the headache i would, I had the pounding headache for a week straight, I took medicine, never stopped. I never got a fever or anything like that. I did lose my, like smell and taste, which was very weird, because I would have a soda, I would have like a pizza or something like that. And I could not taste it at all, just I wouldn't say it tastes like water. But it pretty, pretty close to that it was not much at all. And beside the headache and couldn't taste I did not have much symptoms. And then my girlfriend also came in quarantine with me because she was in close, 00:37:00close contact. And she started coming down with symptoms the next day. So she was pretty much on the track to get COVID either way, so we just decided to quarantine. So she had a fever all day, like all the day she couldn't taste smell, things like that. And she also had super bad body aches, which I didn't get much of. So we had kind of different symptoms, but they both kind of affected us heavily. We, during like school, we just couldn't focus. We just wanted to sleep all day, we were very tired, things like that.

JR: So then what has living and learning during the time of COVID taught you about yourself?

NH: I think one of the main things is that a phone distracts me very much and not being in the classroom has kind of affected my learning. And because when I was doing the online stuff, like I said, it was very easy to get distracted. And I didn't take like the full concept of while I was trying to learn. I think that 00:38:00coming back in the classroom, like this semester, I've been doing really good in my classes. And I've been able to kind of, it was easier to study and kind of get my head around the topics and kind of be able to when I do these tests, I am able to kind of understand what's going on and kind of being able to do good on these tests.

JR: Great. Do you have anything else you want to add?

NH: Um, I'll just bring up like some family members that have got affected by COVID. So my stepdad is in his late 40s. Yeah, like 49, 48 I believe. I don't know his exact age. But a couple weeks ago, he got COVID and he did not get the vaccine. Neither did my mom or my dad, because they, they have yet to get affected by it. So my stepdad did get COVID And so a couple days goes by he's just laying on the couch. He's not doing good. He's just so tired. So they 00:39:00brought him into the hospital, and he was, he got put on oxygen, because he couldn't breathe we;; his blood ox level was super low. And it was kind of, because he has a couple underlying health conditions, which I know COVID really hits harder if you do have that. So it was just a scary time because we didn't really know what was going to happen with him. And I think

just kind of, all our family support, like texting him, calling him saying you're gonna do better, we can't wait to see you. Things like that kind of helped him because he was in a down mood when he first got in there because he didn't want to die. No one wants to die really. It's he just, I think he was more scared of letting things go in his life if he was to die and not being able to do things. So he got out of the hospital. He's doing good now. And it's just, it's kind of brought a new light to our family, because someone close to us got 00:40:00seriously impacted by this. And it could impact, it could have been way worse. He could pass the way things like that, had long term effects from this, but we're lucky that nothing like that ever happened. So we're just kind of happy with how that turned out. And now we're all more worried about COVID I guess, it's kind of we're not as like, super strict on masking, the six feet apart, but where you're just like taking care of ourselves. We're looking for symptoms, things like that. And we're staying away from people who might and who have been in close contact with COVID.

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