The coronavirus has become an element of everyday life. While some are more affected than others, senior Kelsey Childress has been put in quarantine twice due to close exposure to the virus. It has taken a toll on her athletic, academic and social life. Here she explains her experience.
Q: What was the end of the semester like for you last semester when coronavirus started to become a bigger issue?
A: Honestly I was excited to go home, and I wanted to stay home because it hadn’t hit me yet. When I thought spring break was going to be extended I was excited to spend more time with my family and friends, but what I didnt think of was all of the people I wouldnt get to say goodbye to. It didn’t register with me until we received an email that we wouldn’t be coming back. I remember opening my phone and instantly feeling upset. I thought about how I wouldnt be seeing any of my residents, because I’m an RA, my teammates, classmates or my professors. It especially hit me to think about the seniors I wouldnt get to say goodbye to.
Q: Since you have been back to campus what changes have you made in your daily routine, talking to residents and your athletic life?
A: It’s hard because last year I was in the freshman dorms and I took pride in how much I bonded with my residents. I created meaningful friendships with them, and this year I’m in Delevan with 56 residents and I haven’t met more than 10 of them. This has been so difficult for me because I want to know them and I want them to know me. It’s all because no one wants to leave their rooms anymore. Campus has become so different, especially the attitude with students. It makes it so much harder to build connections and it almost seems like we aren’t even on a college campus.
Q: Would you say that it’s also hard to make these connections with your professors?
A: This year, I thankfully have had all of my professors before so I have already built connections with them. If I didn’t have these connections already, I don’t think I would be able to develop the same connections, especially through zoom. Zoom creates such a weird and uncomfortable environment that makes it hard to ask questions and feel as confident in my ability to talk in class. When you’re actually immersed in the classroom you are actually able to make that connection, and your professors get to know who you are and the things you like. Online is just not the same. It’s nearly impossible to have the same level of bonding over zoom.
Q: Do you feel that because of class online you feel behind on your studies or that your studies have been impacted greatly?
A: This semester has been better than last semester when it was thrown on us. It was horrible last semester. I felt like I was not learning anything. I was just going through the motions trying to get to the end. Some of my classes this semester are hybrid so I luckily get to go to class and see my professors. It’s still not the same. It’s so easy to get distracted when learning online, and it’s the same with doing my work. Knowing work is optional or if I don’t have to turn it in to my professor makes it much more difficult to get it done.
Q: Aside from academics, I know you are also an athlete. How has this impacted you athletically, especially with being quarantined?
A: When I first came to Buffalo, I was required to complete a two week quarantine because I was coming from a hotspot state. Thankfully, this summer I was still able to practice but I haven’t been in the pool since Aug. 1, and once we were able to start practicing, I was placed in quarantine again due to exposure to someone with coronavirus. Being in quarantine knowing my teammates are practicing made me feel discouraged. Even though they were only training for a week longer than me, I still felt left out. When you can’t do something you love for months, those four days you could have had make such a difference.
Q: What is quarantine like here at Canisius? What are they providing and doing for you?
A: It’s been a struggle, and there has been a lack of communication. Quarantine has been very lonely, and no one from the college has checked in on me. The people who are checking in on me are my friends, my professors and my residents. I would have liked for Student Life to connect with me more, whether it be a phone call or email just to check in and make sure that I was okay with everything. It’s extremely mentally draining and I felt that they could have been more effective in connecting with quarantined students. The meals have been great. They are delivered on time everyday and there is enough to keep me full. Student Health is good about keeping contact with me. I am required to fill out a survey each day for my symptoms.
Q: What have you been doing to keep up your mental health and what do you recommend to other students?
A: I rely a lot on Facetiming my friends and family. I have been super lucky that people are willing to talk to me. It is so important that you keep up communication with others. Blocking yourself out from the outside world will make quarantine ten times worse than it could be. Two weeks is a long time not to see anyone and that small five-minute interaction over Facetime can boost your mood so easily. Students need to remember that we are all in this together. Everything is so different and at this point it’s uncontrollable, so make the best of it.