Interview with Nikki Arneson, 11/23/2021

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐LC: This is Lydia Crow, interviewing my teammate, Nikki Arneson, on November 23, 2021, for the campus COVID stories, a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences in the time of COVID. Instructor Grace Lim is also with us. Thank you for participating in this project. First, could you please say your name and spell it out for us?

NA: Nikki Arneson N-i-k-k-i A-r-n-e-s-o-n.

LC: For the purposes of obtaining a good audio recording, please tell, please tell us again, your name, your year and major, and age.

NA: Nikki Arneson. I'm a fifth year. I'm a nursing major and I'm 22.

LC: Alright, just to get us started, we would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell me about where you grew up?

NA: I grew up in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. It's a little town west of Madison.

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

NA: My mom is a nurse, and my dad is a gym teacher.


LC: Alright. Um, did you always plan on going to college?

NA: Yeah, I always planned on going somewhere and I always planned on playing basketball.

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

NA: I came here because of basketball. I had a lot of other options, but Oshkosh was ultimately the best place for me.

LC: Okay. Tell us about your life at UW Oshkosh pre-COVID.

NA: Um, honestly, it hasn't really changed that much. I mean, basketball wise, it changed. I've always played a shooting forward for basketball. My love of the game actually grew a little bit more because I realized during COVID, how much or, how it can get taken away so, quickly? Competition over my time here has gotten better. Classes have been pretty much the same. I'm in nursing so my clinicals were a little different. I didn't get to work with COVID people because of protocol and stuff like that, but nothing's really changed for me. 00:02:00I've been an essential worker, so I've just had to, you know, work through the pandemic.

LC: Yeah. So let's go back to March of 2020, when COVID first hit the United States. So first of all, like where were you in your college career?

NA: I was a junior. It was the spring, so I was halfway through the nursing program and then a junior on the basketball team.

LC: Okay. Did you have a full class load?

NA: Yeah. Junior year is the hardest for the nursing program, so I did have a full class load.

LC: Oh, why is it the hardest?

NA: Well, so the nursing program is a two-and-a-half-year program. In the second and third semesters are the hardest, because it really digs in on like your skills and your clinicals are actually in a hospital and all that type of stuff.


LC: Okay. What was your living situation?

NA: I was living [unclear] in a off campus house with seven other people.

LC: Were they on the basketball team as well?

NA: Yes.

LC: Okay. So you remember the basketball team that was having a great season. The women's basketball team had made it to the NCAA Tournament in Minnesota. And in the Second Round on March 7, 2020, you played Bethany, Bethany Lutheran. You ended up beating them 67-60. So, like talk about what that game was like. Do you remember any specific like plays that happened or anything like that?

NA: Well, that game was honestly one of the, my favorite games that I've ever played, period, of basketball. At the beginning of the game, I actually got into foul trouble. So I sat the entire second quarter. Going into halftime, I think we were down five or something like that. Nothing was going good for us whatsoever. Our defense was not it right then. Second half, Leah Porath went 00:04:00off. I think she had, ended up having like 28 points. I don't think the starters came out the second half like, we, we knew what we had to do, and we, get it done. I mean, I remember I got the last rebound to seal the win, and ah gosh, it was the best feeling ever.

LC: So kind of explain to me that feeling of when that final buzzer went off, and you had the rebound, like you guys were heading to the Sweet 16, like explain like that feeling.

NA: I mean, I, the year before we went to the Sweet 16. I hit a buzzer beater to send us the Sweet 16, so like, but this was a different feeling. It was a different team, and we came back from, I mean we were down the entire game and that fourth quarter we came back and we, I got that rebound, I was like, oh my goodness, but we all just ran, hugged each other and we knew that we were on our 00:05:00way. And we were gonna play Hope, or Loras, and then we were going to Hope, and Hope was ranked number one in the nation, so we were just excited, really excited.

LC: Alright, so like what did that next week of practice and like, game prep look like?

NA: Well, I think if I remember correctly, I remember COVID was already happening and like we knew about it, but we were like, lowkey kind of just making jokes about it. We're like, "Oh, COVID, COVID", like we didn't think anything of it, we never been, been through something like that. So we prepared as normal, like we do for any other back-to-back tournament games. So we were excited to win.

LC: All right. Um, so like, you kind of mentioned that you heard about COVID, and you guys were kind of like joking about it. Did you ever think that it was gonna?

NA: No,

LC: Like affect you at all?

NA: No, I remember our old assistant Coach Frings, she came in with like little Emergen-C packets. And she was like, "Everyone take one of these Emergen-Cs", 00:06:00and we're like, "Haha, like, whatever." Like, we're always sick. We always have a little cold or whatever, here and there, but, and then right before we left, I think like Milwaukee closed down, then Green Bay, then Madison were like, "Oh, we hope Oshkosh shuts down." Like, "we just want to play basketball", and then we get to Hope, and it was like, everything's canceled. So like, we didn't even think about basketball being canceled. We only thought about like, "Oh class is canceled. Let's go!" But yeah.

LC: Okay, so you kind of mentioned this, but like, so the team ended up traveling to Holland, or Hope College in Holland, Michigan, like how many hours was that?

NA: It was about, I want to say five-to-six-hour drive. I remember driving there at night, we got to Holland, Michigan that night. And then.

LC: Okay. So you guys were gonna play Loras College in the Sweet 16 on March 13, 2020. So, what happened that day?

NA: Well the night before, like, the NBA got shut down because of COVID and we 00:07:00woke up and we did our shoot around like normal, and then, oh no, practice like normal. And then we saw a lot of like the coaches and administrators like talking. Vicci (Stimac) was there, our Assistant Athletic Director, and they're all just being like, whisper like [unclear], we're like, "What's going on?" And we got back to the hotel, and I remember getting a call from my grandparents and they're like, "All NCAA is canceled". And I'm like, "No, like, we're still playing, like, we're practicing", like, whatever. And then we get back to the hotel and Vicci (Stimac) and (Coach Brad) Fisher told us, so.

LC: So what did they say?

NA: They were like, "So unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we're shutting down, like, everything's canceled. We're going home." Like right away. We're on the bus. We're on our way home.

LC: Wow. Like, what was your reaction to hearing all this? Like, what were your feelings? [unclear]

NA: I think all of us immediately started crying. We're like, "oh my gosh", like this is real. Like we knew, like, COVID, but obviously, no one really knew 00:08:00anything about COVID. So we just sat there and all I could think about honestly was Emily Miller and Olivia Campbell because those were our only seniors and we went through so much that year, and then all of a sudden it getting taken away from us for something that we can't control, it was, it was hard to hear but.

LC: Yeah, so like heading back to Oshkosh, like you guys came all that way basically for nothing. Like what, like, were your team and the coaches, like what were they saying? What were they feeling, like on that bus ride home?

NA: Well, obviously the whole basketball aspect we were very like upset about, but ultimately, I remember the coaches just being like, "Get home, be with your family, like, stay safe." I mean, at that point no one knew, like everyone thought COVID was like you got it, died, got it, died. So, it was get home and just stay home, was the main thing. And I remember Vicci (Stimac) telling us 00:09:00like, once you, when you go back to Oshkosh, like, take all your stuff for a long time, like move out of your dorm room, move out of your house, like you will not be coming back here, so.

LC: So when you guys got back like, is that what you did? You just grabbed all your stuff and went or like what? What kind of, what happened? Like what happened with that?

NA: Yeah, so we all got off the bus. We, I don't even think we went back in the locker room, obviously. And then we all left and didn't see each other honestly for the entire summer. Like from March to August. None of us saw each other.

LC: So since campus like shut down, like how did you say goodbye to like your teammates and your friends? Like, did you think that this was gonna last?

NA: No. No. Honestly, I was like, there was talks about like the teams that were in the Sweet 16. In the summer they were going to get back together and do like games, actually see who the national championship was. And I was like, oh this is going to be like a two-week, two-month thing and it wasn't. I mean, we had to 00:10:00Zoom like our teams had Zoom meetings like weekly, we had FaceTimes all of this. So we didn't really get to say goodbye, but, I mean, we're still friends now. So sadly, we lost with no one really died. So it was, it was hard, but it was fine.

LC: Okay, um, what was the transition like from being on campus and going to class then, like having to go home with classes online? Like, what kind of, like how did attending classes and doing your schoolwork, like, how did that work out?

NA: Um, well, since it was at literally the worst time, like I was in my hardest classes, it was like Patho(physiology), Phys(iology), Pharm(acology), Adult Health, like it was the hardest classes. It was also hard, it's like affecting us now. Especially my cohort, because we didn't get that in person, like clinical experience, because we couldn't go into hospitals. But um, and I, in a way, it kind of helped me because I actually got to hone in on my actual classes 00:11:00and didn't have to worry about basketball, and have to worry about, like, the social aspect because I was literally locked in my room in my house. So, in a way COVID kind of helped me with like, my classes in that type of way. But yeah.

LC: Okay. Um, so like, what happened with basketball when like, everyone had to go home? Did Coach Brad Fisher, have you do anything basketball related while you were home?

NA: Yeah, so we ended up doing like, splitting off into groups, and we would each have like a weekly task to do or like workout, but obviously, not everyone has a court or a hoop at home. So, it was kind of like, whatever you can do, do it, but [unclear].

LC: Okay, how did the team dynamic change during this time?

NA: I think, nothing really changed that much, but.

NA: Oh.


NA: The team dynamic didn't really change that much. If anything, we got closer 00:12:00because we were constantly talking, we felt like if we couldn't see each other in person, we were always either on a Zoom meeting, FaceTiming, something like that. So.

LC: Okay. Um, so what was it like, do like, doing your schoolwork at home? Like where would you do your schoolwork?

NA: Um, in my room. I mean, I have, I mean it's my mom, my dad, I have a younger sister, older sister and brother. So all, and my younger sister is, she's 11 now, so what she was nine? So she had online school, my brother was in high school, he had online school. My other sister was in college as well. She's older, but so we all had different stuff going on. So I literally sat in my bed in my room, did my exams, all that, all my homework, so.


LC: Did you have any like problems with doing your schoolwork online at home? Like any WiFi problems or anything like that?

NA: Yeah. So then with all four of us, four or five, four of us being online, then my mom also worked from home. So having that, she's a nurse, but she's a nurse, legal nurse consultant now, so she had all of her work online. We had to get another WiFi router. And then, like, if I had an exam, I'd be like, "everyone get off the WiFi". So I can do, like, my exam. So yeah, it was very hard. Very hard.

LC: Were both of your parents working during the pandemic?

NA: Well, my dad, when they canceled school, so he had online gym too. He's a gym teacher, so it wasn't really, it wasn't really online. He'd send them like a workout for third graders gym workout. So, no, it was really just my mom working online.

LC: Okay. How were like COVID protocols dealt with at first like in your house? 00:14:00Like, were you guys wearing masks like sheltering at home like everyone was saying to do? Like, what was that? What did that look like?

NA: Yeah, so we literally sat at home, like, did not do anything. We were making masks, actually for like, people, like we were sewing. [unclear] My mom isn't very like handy like that, so like my grandma would like be on FaceTime because like, obviously, we didn't want to be around like older people. And so she'd be like, teaching us how to sew and so we made some masks for like, people in the community and stuff like that. But otherwise we sat at home. We did puzzles, we watched TV, like we literally didn't do anything.

LC: How did like your dynamic of your family change now that you, like, guys were spending so much time together?

NA: Yeah, I mean, it was fine, but I mean, we're all, there was five of us 00:15:00living in a house and so we got annoyed with each other a little bit, but if that happened, either we all just went to our rooms or there, but I love my family and obviously, you spend a lot of time with each other. Yeah.

LC: What were your feelings about finishing up the semester from off campus?

NA: I mean, it was, it was fine. It was, I think at by the, by the time the end of the semester happened, I was kind of used everything. So I just did my exams online and it was like May, and we had the entire summer after having already two months off, so or a month off, so.

LC: Okay, um, what did you miss most about not being on campus?

NA: I think seeing everyone in person. I mean, as we all know, from the past, what, two years or whatever, a year and a half. Seeing people is very important, especially like your friends. I mean, you can talk to them all you want on 00:16:00FaceTime, but actually seeing them and talking to them and spending time with other people besides like, my family, like I remember the first time I left and hung out with my friends. I was like, oh my gosh, this is so nice to get back out with other people that you're quarantined with.

LC: Yeah. How much did COVID impact your major? Like, did you ever think about switching it when COVID hit?

NA: Well, since my major is nursing, it impacted it obviously a ton. So, like I said earlier, though, like my clinicals were changed. I never thought about switching majors. I mean, I knew that the right protocols were put in place, for the most part at hospitals and like with PPE and stuff like that. It was scary, though. I was like, I am not going anywhere near anybody, but obviously COVID impacted nursing a lot and [unclear].

LC: Yeah, um, when were you planning to graduate prior to the pandemic?


NA: It would be this December, so summer of 2021.

LC: Yeah. Okay. So, like, how did or did COVID change that timeline?

NA: Um, school wise, no. Basketball? Yes. Because, since my senior year, so last year, we didn't get a full season, we got a year back of eligibility for basketball. So I just took that and so I extended my last semester of nursing school over two semesters.

LC: Okay. Um, so like, with everything that happened, and it happened so quickly. How are you feeling like emotionally?

NA: Um, I remember, like, basketball, like basketball's my life. So like, when basketball ended, I was like, I have no idea what I'm doing, like, now I'm in school, I don't have basketball, I don't have my friends. But, I mean, it didn't 00:18:00really affect me that bad because I knew things were gonna start to get back to normal, but I honestly thought it was gonna happen sooner, like things are still not back to normal, but [unclear].

LC: So like, how did you stay in contact with your friends?

NA: FaceTime, Zoom. I mean, I didn't see any, I did not see any of my friends for like months, so.

LC: Okay, so like going into summer of 2020. Did you have any jobs during this time?

NA: Yeah, so I worked at an assisted living in Madison as a CNA.

LC: Okay. So your job was considered essential at the time?

NA: Yep, absolutely.

LC: Why did you [unclear] decide to continue to work while others were sheltering in place?

NA: I don't know. I just knew also that people needed others at this time. And like, I remember, I've worked there, I worked there for a few summers before 00:19:00that and there was a lot of older people that work there. Not older people, but like 50+, and I was just like, they shouldn't have to work like, I'm younger, I could do it, so like. [unclear]

LC: So you put yourselves on like the frontlines during a pretty scary time of COVID. Do you think it was worth it?

NA: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there was others out there that needed help. And the smallest thing I can do, I mean, I felt, I felt pretty safe because I had the correct PPE, and the, I mean, the people at the nursing homes I felt worse for like, they couldn't leave, they couldn't see their family. So, um, yeah.

LC: Okay, what were some of the things that changed about your job?

NA: Honestly, not that much. I mean, the, like I said, the residents that were living at the assisted living or nursing home, whatever you call it, they couldn't leave so there wasn't really an issue with COVID in a way, it was like the providers bringing it in, like the caretakers. So, I mean we had to wear a 00:20:00mask, we had the like, it really wasn't that different. We just had to be more cautious of what was happening.

LC: Okay. Um, how were you affected by COVID? Like, do you know anyone who had COVID, or anything like that?

NA: Yeah, I knew, I mean, I personally haven't had COVID. We had a scare last year with our team. I mean, you were there for. So I mean, we've had a lot of false positives, or I had like a lot of false positives, but I've never been tested positive for COVID. But this past summer, my entire family had it. I was the only one that didn't get it. [unclear] So they're fine. They still don't have their taste and smell, but

LC: Really.

NA: Yeah. But a lot of my family had it, a lot of like, people that I know had had it, but I don't think I've really known anyone that has died directly. So that's a good thing.

LC: That's good. Um, what did you do basketball wise during the summer?


NA: The summer of 2020?

LC: Yeah, it was 2020.

NA: Oh, my gosh, I worked my butt off. I was literally playing basketball and lifting every single day that I could, I mean, I had nothing else to do. I had, like, you couldn't go in public anywhere you couldn't. So I would grab my brother. He's like, three years younger than me, and I just have him rebound for me constantly. We couldn't go inside anywhere so we would find a park in the middle of Mount Horeb, and we'd go to Verona, which is like 15 minutes away, and we'd go to an outdoor park there, so, yeah

LC: Okay, so coming, so now entering fall of 2020, what were your thoughts about coming back to campus in the fall?

NA: I was nervous. I remember saying like, I'm not taking off my mask, I'm not getting COVID, if I'm outside, I'm still gonna wear my mask. But it really 00:22:00wasn't that bad. The university had a lot of good protocols in place. But I think we were still in person, or online in fall of 2020. So yeah, like all my classes were still online, so I wasn't really in person besides going to basketball, but there we even had strict protocols, so.

LC: Yeah, um how was campus life different due to COVID?

NA: We, well, campus wasn't really open. I remember I don't even think Reeve was open, Blackhawk maybe a little bit, but even that was different. So, um, I remember like, we would just sit at home, all like my house. So eight of us would sit at home. We'd go to Kolf when we could, but we couldn't stay there long. We couldn't go in the locker room. I mean, we had to go upstairs, drop our bags off, play, and leave right away wear masks. So, yeah.

LC: Um, did you have any in person classes?

NA: Yes, I had one. So the nursing program made a thing where they at least had 00:23:00to have one in person class, per cohort per semester. So they could like check in on us and make sure everything's okay. So we did, but it was like you had to sit six feet apart, wear a mask, couldn't talk to anybody, so.

LC: Okay. How did basketball change during COVID? Like, what precautions did you have to take?

NA: Well, we had to wear masks. At the beginning of the season, in the fall, we had to, like split into small groups. So we couldn't practice with the full team. So we had, I think, eight freshmen, and we, none of us even really knew the freshmen before they even came in because we couldn't. Like we couldn't intermingle, like Coach Fisher would always put like, my house together so we wouldn't like intermix COVID if we did have it and then the freshmen [unclear] would be together and then the sophomores. So the team dynamic was a little 00:24:00weird at the beginning of fall, and beginning of the season, but yeah, otherwise.

LC: How did you feel about having to play with masks on?

NA: Horrible, I hated it. I don't think we were in enough shape either to do that. So we were also like constantly pulling our masks away from our face. We did get used to it because most of our games we did have to wear masks, and every practice we had to, so you definitely got used to it, but it was hard to get used to.

LC: What were your thoughts about the possibility of not playing any games at all last season?

NA: That was a horrible feeling. I hated that. I remember just sitting there, me and Leah (Porath), because we knew like, I think in the summer they came up with a thing that if you didn't play half your games, you could take your year back. So we were already planning on taking our extra year. So we're like, either we don't want to play any games at all, or we want to have a full year, you know what I mean? So, I'm glad that we got to get in nine games. I mean, that was 00:25:00perfect for conference and stuff like that. But initially, when they said we weren't gonna play any games, I was like, you gotta be kidding me, like, so, but it worked out good.

LC: Yeah. Um, how was the transition from playing in front of fans, to playing with empty bleachers for every game?

NA: It was bad. I mean, it felt like you were at practice again. So it wasn't the same, like experience for, at all. I mean, traveling, especially, and our fans are great. Like, our parents, our entire families come, alumni come and all that. So, yeah, it was very weird playing in an empty gym.

LC: How did the dynamic of the team change in season while this pandemic is still going on?

So like I said, like, before season began, like preseason, no one really knew anybody. I mean, the people that have been here knew each other. The freshmen 00:26:00didn't really, we had a transfer, Julia (Silloway). So none of us knew Julia at all. So we're like, she didn't live with us. She lived from home. So she was a commuter. So that was different. But once we got into season, we started hanging out more, and it was like, now everyone only hang out with the team. Don't go hang out with anyone else. So I think we definitely got closer because you can see it this year is we're all very, very close. So the pandemic did help out with that.

LC: Yeah. How did you feel about having to get tested every week for COVID?

NA: I mean, it was fine. It was, at the beginning [unclear], like, I was like, oh my gosh, every, like three times a week [unclear] before every game. The whole testing thing didn't really bother me, it was more the results because I was like, this can be positive or negative, I'm not feeling any symptoms, but all those false positives and whatever, asymptomatic stuff, so yeah. That was very anxiety filled for me.

LC: Did anyone on the team get COVID?


NA: Yeah, they did. A few people did. But they weren't really that sick. I mean, a little bit, a few of them lost their taste and smell. I know a few of the freshmen, yeah, got it. And then, but I don't think anyone was too sick [unclear].

LC: So like, what did the team have to do during that? Like, what happened with that?

NA: Well, we had to, at the beginning, like preseason, we shut down everything for like two weeks when someone got it. That was at the way beginning of the year like, first week of school. But then otherwise, it was like whoever was in contact with them or lived with them only had to, like sit out and wait and all that stuff. It's kind of like a gray area where like, were you in contact with them? Were you not? So, it was yeah.

LC: Um, how did COVID affect your view on basketball?

NA: I'm so grateful. Like, every time I walk out there, every time I sit there 00:28:00for the national anthem, I'm like, I remember last year, for the first time, our first game, I looked at Leah (Porath), and we were both like crying because we're like, oh my god, this is happening, like we're playing again. So yeah, I'm just so grateful that we can play again.

LC: Yeah. What were your thoughts and feelings about knowing there wasn't gonna be a national tournament last season?

NA: I kind of knew it was coming. But I also was like, really? Like, and then it kinda even made it worse that like Division I and Division II were able to do it, it's like, why not Division III? And I mean, the funding obviously is different for each division, but I think it made it better that I knew I was coming back this year. But like Karsyn (Rueth), if I was Karsyn last year, the only graduating senior, I would have been like, okay like, one like come on, even make like, make it not 64 teams, maybe 32? Like, I think they could have done it in some way, but um, yeah.


LC: Um, so how is basketball different now due to COVID?

NA: Like this year?

LC: Yeah.

NA: It's definitely better because we don't have to constantly test all the time unless you're vaccinated, which I think 99% of our team is vaccinated. So, I, we don't have to wear masks anymore, we're able to travel, we're able to do everything, almost pretty much as normal.

LC: Okay. Um, are there any challenges that your team does face like with COVID? Like if someone gets it or like, what happens if someone were to get it?

NA: So we actually had someone get it on our team, like, what, two weeks ago. It was a coach, so nothing really happened. We all just had to get tested and if we were negative, we were good to go. But the one person that wasn't vaccinated had to sit out for 10 days and had to have like three negative tests or something 00:30:00like that. So being vaccinated definitely helps.

LC: So kind of talking about that. So like in the fall of 2021, like vaccines are now readily available on campus and elsewhere, what were your initial thoughts about the vaccine?

NA: So initially, I was like, why doesn't everyone get it? Like, vaccine, vaccine, but then at the same time, I was like, wow things come out this fast, like, I don't know, and then all these side effects were happening, and then a bunch of rumors and all that stuff. So I mean, I definitely had mixed feelings about it. And like, different people in my family were like, pushing one way, the others were pushing the other and it's like, trying to meet them in the middle. And you're like, well you work in health care. It's to help others [unclear] to help others, not necessarily yourself. So I have it, but obviously, it's an opinion-based thing. I'm not going to judge anyone on their opinions and 00:31:00their personal views, so.

LC: Yeah. Okay, so now like in the fall 2021 season, you're able to play without masks and like fans could be in the stands again, describe what that felt like.

NA: Oh, gosh, that was crazy. Yeah, playing with fans is a whole different ball game. I mean, seeing my family up there in the stands, seeing my friends. Just having that atmosphere back was awesome.

LC: So this fall 2021 season, you're averaging almost 15 points a game, you're, which is your best season in the, in the five years you've been playing. Like, what do you think, made that difference?

NA: I think I'm playing like I said, like, grateful and just so like loose because I have nothing to lose. Like, this is my fifth year, my last year, and I 00:32:00know that and like my teammates have helped out a ton. I mean, we're a great team. We're expected to be a great team, and I just help out wherever I can. I don't really try to force anything or, I'm just there to play basketball. So I'm not overthinking anything. So I think that's helping.

LC: Good. Um, okay, so just to end, I would like to ask you some final questions. Um, first, like how much do you feel things are getting back to normal?

NA: Basketball aspect or just [unclear]?

LC: Anywhere, anything.

NA: Basketball wise, I think we're getting back to normal for sure. I mean, it was huge that we got to travel this year, sit in a hotel rooms, on a bus, going to gas stations like, I mean, that that had, if you would ask me a year ago, if that was gonna happen? Absolutely not. So, but worldwide, I think we are getting somewhere, especially with the vaccines, the booster shots, and things like that. But yeah, like going to clinical because I'm in like, my heart is clinical 00:33:00right now. So when I go to work and things like that, things are getting back to normal, there's still COVID cases and stuff like that, but doctors are hopping on things like Remdesivir and all those, there's a ton of medicine, medications that they can use. So that's definitely, positive direction.

LC: Um, so like, what does that normal look like for you? You kind of mentioned it, but like, what would normal be like for you again,

NA: Um, so for basketball, like kinda like I said, like, right now, it's mostly getting back to normal. For the nursing world, I think we're going to be wearing masks for a while and PPE and stuff like that, and we're going to be taking infections and colds and coughs and stuff like that more seriously. So I think that's just going to be a new normal that we have to get used to, in the medical field. So just going to get more, have to get more used to it and anything.

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

NA: Like at Oshkosh?


LC: Mhm.

NA: I don't think so. I think, I think the campus is really trying to get back to normal especially, I think at the Rec, you don't have to wear masks anymore. In Kolf, you don't have to wear masks anymore. So I think things are gonna get back to normal.

LC: Okay. What has living and learning during the time of COVID taught you about yourself?

NA: This is a hard question. I don't know, like I said, like, I've learned to think, like not let the like, the little things bother you. And COVID has made, like opened my eyes to a lot of things and it's like socially, basketball, and stuff like that. So I'm always just going to be grateful and going through it and like clinical, and in the hospital, and seeing what people go through in families. And at work, when I worked in assisted living like, there were people 00:35:00that said like, I just want to die because they didn't have others, their like family wouldn't come in. And I'm grateful for the family I have, from the friends I have, and they've always got my back. So I'm just grateful for a lot of things.

LC: So you ended up deciding to come back for an extra semester because of COVID for basketball. Was it worth it?

NA: Absolutely. I would have regretted it, 100%. Basketball, like I said, is my life if, if you were to tell me that I have to be a nurse in a few months, like a real one at a hospital, I would be like, oh my goodness, do not let me do that. But no, I'm just kidding. I'm actually fine, but yeah, I think spending time with my, like my teammates are my best friends. So being able to get that extra semester, I would have regretted my entire life if I did not come back.

LC: Do you have anything else you want to add?


NA: No, I don't think so.

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