Wooster Student

Dublin Core


Wooster Student


COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020; College campuses; Self-care; Media


Over the summer, this anonymous participant stayed on the College of Wooster campus. We talked COVID protocol, self-care, and podcasts. Photo courtesy of D. Zuver.


Delaney Zuver












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Laney Zuver [00:00:13] My name is Laney Zuver, and you're listening to another interview from my project, 2020 Summer Stories. This interview features an anonymous participant. We talked about her experience living on a college campus over the summer and her self care practices.

Wooster Student [00:00:35] Twenty one years old and I spent the summer Wooster, Ohio.

Wooster Student [00:00:40] In may be like gave us like 24 hours in the middle of.. In the middle of finals to move to our summer accommodation, which was ridiculous. And so I like I was living in Stevenson, which is one of the dorms, and I was there for the most part. And yet I was there for the whole summer what am i saying and then I did an internship. So I took a class during the semester, global social entrepreneurship. And it had an internship where I was supposed to go to India, but unfortunately due to covid go. So I did an internship working with a nonprofit called Enable India. We essentially had to create an Assisted Solutions network. So like basically connecting developers and non-profits and like entrepreneurs of assistive solutions to users of assistive solutions and creating a platform in which users could ask very specific questions. And producers could, you know, like adapt .. what you call.. invention's. Yeah. To suit the people that they needed to help. So, yeah, it was really cool. It was very stressful. I was... Because India, India's 12 hours ahead of Ohio, I was working like nonstop like I was... I was working at another team and a team of two. So it was me and this other girl. And luckily, like we lived on the same floor. So it wasn't like even the words were being close to each other so much easier. And yeah, it was really stressful.

Wooster Student [00:02:12] Like half the time we were working, like would wake up for eight a.m. meetings, work all day, have like meetings at like 10, 11 p.m. and then probably work through the night and like sleep by like five a.m. and be up at 8 for it to start again.

Wooster Student [00:02:27] And like there was times that like we worked on the weekends, like throughout the weekends too, because on Friday they'd be like, oh, you're presenting on Monday. But it was honestly a great opportunity and I loved it and I'm glad I got to do that during covid. Glad I got to still get to have my access like the same opportunities.

Wooster Student [00:02:47] during Covid. But when I was doing that on campus, it didn't feel like it was actually covid because we were having a lot of like there was almost like only two hundred students on campus and we were all staying at the same three buildings.

Wooster Student [00:03:00] And like everybody knew everybody, the school didn't have that many regulations in place. They didn't really care about us like that. And everybody was like being safe. You know, everybody that had been on campus had been on campus for a while and like was being, you know, sensible. So it was like we had like lots of like little parties and like hang out. So we got picnics together and stuff like that because like, you know, it was like safe enough because there wasn't that many people. Everybody knew everybody. And yeah. But then school started that died instantly.

Wooster Student [00:03:34] But yeah, that's mostly what I did.

Wooster Student [00:03:35] So I was like in between internship and then just like spending time with friends on campus and like trying to enjoy like the summer in the middle of a pandemic.

Laney Zuver [00:03:48] First, I asked her to explain why she had stayed on campus.

Wooster Student [00:03:53] Of course, so I had to stay on campus because I'm an international student from Ghana and but my mom lives in Switzerland and my dad was in Ghana. So when everything happened, my parents are just like... So having a student visa in the US, like if I want to stay, like apply for an extension on my visa next year, then I get a job. I have to stay with the US for a year and I have to be like an active student under my visa for a year. So that in like February next yearm I can apply to stay in the country after I graduate. So I couldn't. Leaving the country wasn't necessarily an option for me just because, like if I left with covid weren't sure if I'd be able to come back and they got to shut their borders pretty early on. I think by like mid-March, Ghana shut their border Switzerland shut their borders like early March. So there really was nowhere for me to go. And in terms of like family and friends, like I all my family, like, I just felt like going.. I don't have any family members in the US that I would want to go and stay with extensively for like, you know, during a pandemic, I felt like I would be intrusive, like this space. Like it would just be weird seeing on campus where I had my own space that my friends and I had a job. I you know, things were like it was like the best option given the current circumstance. And staying on campus during the summer is actually not that bad because you don't have school stressing you out. So you can just, like, enjoy Wooster. And it's when I was at its most beautiful trees and flowers, and it's just like good vibes.

Laney Zuver [00:05:37] Then I asked her how this distance affected her relationship with her family.

Wooster Student [00:05:42] Yeah, like I think so my family has lived apart from each other most of our lives. When I was seven, we moved to Kenya and, like my dad was here... and like my mom travels for work so much like right now, my brothers and I don't ... we haven't lived in the country for maybe 10 years, the same country for maybe 10 years.

[00:06:02] Like so we're used to being apart from each other and covid kind of just like brought us closer because so we would have said calls three times we week like we would talk to each other all the time. I'd call my mom like every day, like twice a day.

Wooster Student [00:06:19] It was I think it's like when we were all very isolated and alone, it was nice to fall back on people and have like a support system that you could fall back on. Sometimes it was kind of stressful because like my parents were like, you don't take covid seriously enough.

Wooster Student [00:06:35] I was like, um excuse me? Like, what? Because I wanted to go spend Thanksgiving with a friend. You can't you're gonna get covid, which I ended up doing was on campus. But, ya know, it was I think, like having already been like already being used to being so far away from each other. And then they covid coming in. We really had like the foundations and stuff like that. So it's totally fine.

Wooster Student [00:07:05] And but in terms of the conflict, I think when there was, because there is always conflict with family, its a given. And when there was conflict it was nice, to just like, end the Facetime call. Not going to lie just end the FaceTime call, and just ghost for like a week

Wooster Student [00:07:23] But I think it also like the distance gave for, like, my family got really close this year. Like, we've already been super close. Like, I don't know, I think we got closer like in new ways, especially because they'd be forced like my mom is like you have to call me every day. And like I called my brothers every day too just because you never know, like, literally somebody could die, like, God forbid thats horrible. But like any of us could have died in our houses and nobody would have known for days on end. So it was like really important to keep in contact with constant communication and just especially like mental health.

Wooster Student [00:08:00] And like I know I had a really rough time, like having my family be there and they keep me accountable. It was really helpful.

Wooster Student [00:08:09] I transitioned back to talking about Wooster, and I wondered what it was like spending the summer in a small college town with so many different important events occurred all across the country.

Wooster Student [00:08:20] It was wild, especially in 2020. I've spent a lot of summers... Ok, i've spent like one other summer on get out of the three summers. And so, like being on campus during breaks and stuff like that as an international student is like super normal. Like Being in during the summer is not terrible.

Wooster Student [00:08:41] It's like that's the one time of the year where, like its nice out and you can go on walks and like there's all of these things happening downtown. Yeah.

Wooster Student [00:08:49] So it's like usually not bad. But this year it was ridiculous, like especially one election year wearing like a red state in the middle of nowhere.

Wooster Student [00:09:03] The Trump supporters had so much energy, they just were Trump supporters with their chests in ways that, like I was like... anyways about getting into that, it was just like wild to me.

Wooster Student [00:09:17] And then also, like in the same, like seeing how politicized like covid became. Being on campus, Wooster is such like a bubble. And like the schools all like we care about you we care about like, you know, inclusion and social justice but like once you literally step out of the four walls of Wooster, once to off campus, it's literally the exact opposite. Having, like, that dichotomy of like on campus is like super inclusive and lovely. I mean, even campus has its problems, but comparatively compared to the city of Wooster, it's very inclusive. And so it was wild, especially like you said, with the Black Lives Matter stuff, I was like that really hit me really hard, not necessarily because of like the time. I think it was just like it was very frustrating that now was when people decided they wanted things to matter. Like, I was very frustrating that it was like George Floyds death for everybody to suddenly be talking about Black Lives Matter and stuff like that. And I was like, yo, we've been... Some of us been protesting. Some of us been donating because this is every day for us. Like, this is not just like something that you can post on social media or whatever. Yeah. So just I think like this year I've just been hyper aware of all like my identities because in some way, shape or form, every single part of my identity has been like, you know, challenged in some way, shape or form, like a woman being queer, being like an immigrant student, like everything, being Black, like every single level. It was like being attacked in some way and like being like the number of times I got catcalled, just like made.. Me to feel very uncomfortable, like on the streets of Wooster this year was more than any other year. And so that was so annoying. So, so annoying. Yeah. It was like so many incidences of like security driving around and following us on campus and like a strange men, like pulling up and like beside you would not leave you alone. Just be yelling at you and scream all these things down. Beall Ave, it's the main road that goes through the College of Wooster. So, yeah, it was I would say, not the best time to be in Wooster Ohio. for sure, hands down. But being on campus was definitely a very good safety net. And like having people around me that were like.. It was nice that I didn't have any, like, explicit racists in my inner circle.

Wooster Student [00:11:55] A lot of people realize that the people in their lives were very problematic. And luckily for me, like the people who I felt were going to be problematic proved themselves. And so that was great.

Wooster Student [00:12:06] And just having. Yeah, like staff members and faculty members of my staff, like, really being there and being a support system and like making sure that I was OK and I had everything that I needed that definitely did help... Help me get through it. But I didn't realize, like, I spent that much time in Wooster until I left. I was like, I just need to get through this. So I put everything else, like, OK, it doesn't matter. And we're just it is what it is. Get through it. You have to... Because I was essentially supposed to be there from January, 2020 all the way until May 2021. I was supposed to be there the full time. Right. So I was like I can't, I just gotta suck it up.

Laney Zuver [00:12:45] Next, I asked her to go into more detail about her thoughts on the covid guidelines she was asked to follow.

Wooster Student [00:12:51] So when everything shut down, they were like, OK, Lowry's closed, they closed Lowry for like a few days.

Wooster Student [00:12:58] And then they said, OK, you have to wear a mask if you want to come into Lowry. And that was like essentially it. Lowry was like all to go, no eating inside, which was like totally fine. The food... not great,

Wooster Student [00:13:09] But they tried, they tried, we appreciate that. For so long, we had no information, they reduced swipe access so you couldn't swipe into any other

Wooster Student [00:13:24] buildings you were definitely confined to your own building. And like so during the summer when they gave us 48 hours, like I think was like a Monday they were like "okay, You need a move on Tuesday at this time." And I was like yo, I have finals like what .And it was like it was ridiculous because they increased the cost of spending the summer housing cost like three times the amount. So it was so expensive to stay during the summer one.

Wooster Student [00:13:52] And they justified that by saying, oh, we want to put all of you in the air conditioned dorms and space you out so that you will, like, have enough space and like social distancing and whatever. Lies. Because we were all tuna like we were packed like sardines literally in the dorms, like it was not... Social distancing was not possible. There was no like no rules, new guidelines like in August. The only... Like when all the RAs came onto campus like before, you know, are you come in like two weeks before it starts, which was for RA training. RA's are the Resident assistants. And so they came on campus for training and like that's what we also heard all of the news, like all of the information. So like during the summer, they did not care about us at all like none of the international students on campus. They did not care. We could have all died from covid and like nothing would have happened. There was one night when my friends thought he was, but he had covid and he was feeling very sick. And he, like he called security is like, hi, I'm feeling sick.

Wooster Student [00:15:00] Can you drive me to the emergency room? And they're like, no, sorry you have to figure that out by yourself, but if you do have Covid, please let us know. It was like in the middle of the night.

Wooster Student [00:15:10] And he was like, look, I can't call the ambulance because that will be like, a, what, three thousand dollars? Like fee for a five minute drive to the hospital.

Wooster Student [00:15:23] I feel like the school I know they were doing their best and they were very stressed with, like, trying to figure out how the semester would go. But I think that they definitely did neglect a lot of the students on campus, given that it was like at the beginning when very few of us like knew, you know, like what was actually happening. There was still a huge gap in information.

Wooster Student [00:15:43] I feel like during the summer, you know, he knew like the basics of covid. But I think like so many other little little details, like we didn't know.

Wooster Student [00:15:51] And I guess that's part of why the school, like was... It didn't have as many existing resources of things as they could have. But yeah, it definitely, definitely felt like they just kind of didn't care.

Wooster Student [00:16:04] Like Lowry was open and that was it, which was fun for us as college students on campus during the summer. But during the pandemic safety wise, they technically should have had... I didn't realize that until after the summer where there's all these restrictions in place.

Wooster Student [00:16:22] And I was like, wait, so you mean I could have died?

Laney Zuver [00:16:26] I asked them to tell me about what she would do with her friends and how, if at all, it helped her mental health.

Wooster Student [00:16:32] So I did like a lot with my friends.

Wooster Student [00:16:34] We would like to do movie nights.

Wooster Student [00:16:37] We would like go on walks, like there was lots of green places like open.

Wooster Student [00:16:40] And I think like like a five minute walk off campus, there was these very rich people so kindly opened their very large estate, to the poppers to go and chill over the summer, as like a ___ they call the Covid rest area.

Wooster Student [00:16:57] And it was really cool.

Wooster Student [00:16:59] So we used to go there sometimes. they had like swings it was just beautiful. Lots of like cooking.

Wooster Student [00:17:05] I definitely cooked a lot because.. So I got this is not allowed, but I got like a little like hot plate in my room because my mom as soon as covid hit my mom was like, OK, rice cooker, hot plate. You need like certain things because I was like, I can't be going to cook. in these communal kitchens. That are one already gross normally. So I made a lot of like meals.

Wooster Student [00:17:28] I definitely sharpened like my cooking skills. It was fun, like eating pasta, we made some very extra sandwiches, made soups, was fun, was great stir frys. Lots of French fries also.

Wooster Student [00:17:45] And like towards the end of the summer when like some people like in our bubble were leaving, like some seniors were graduating, others were like people were going to see family members like because you couldn't stay on campus anymore.

Wooster Student [00:17:55] More we had like Progressive's, they were really fun, like we planned it out and like, I don't know, it was like really fun, like.

Wooster Student [00:18:03] Yeah, like a whole community. And we all have, like, our little rituals, like everybody have like work or something that they were doing.

Wooster Student [00:18:09] During the day, but by 4:00 p.m., five p.m., everything outside like just go there's a bon fire, we'd just talk, play soccer, you know, just do like college kids stuff.

Wooster Student [00:18:23] Yeah.

Wooster Student [00:18:23] And it really felt like we owned the campus like it was there was no one there.

Wooster Student [00:18:29] And so we could go any and everywhere.

Wooster Student [00:18:31] This led us to talking about what her self care practices looked like over the summer.

Wooster Student [00:18:35] I went on like almost like a minimum of like an hour walk every day.

Wooster Student [00:18:40] And those were amazing, like just going by yourself and walking on campus.

Wooster Student [00:18:47] There was times where I get so stressed because of work and I was like, go and sit outside Kauke and, just cry the trees.

Wooster Student [00:18:53] Like it was very therapeutic. And also what else did I used to do? I definitely have a lot of spa nights, lots of face masks and like, you know, just taking care of myself, like really long showers, spending an exorbitant amount of time, just like making myself feel pretty.

Wooster Student [00:19:14] I also like... I started drawing again, so that was fun. And like lots of coloring books. Yes. And Netflix, Netflix saved my entire life I could not have gotten through Covid.

Laney Zuver [00:19:30] I wanted to know what had she been watching this summer.

Wooster Student [00:19:34] I too much, but that's the problem. I think I need to make of this stuff what I watch, because I'm pretty sure I've watched over 100 shows this year easily. I have probably spent more hours watching Netflix than I have been asleep. I think like during the summer, the show that really stayed with me was Hannibal because I was watching that like during the summer and like so when I think about, like, shows during summer its definitely Hannibal. it's kind of dark and it's yeah, I don't know. I like dark shows. And so watching something super dark in the middle of a pandemic seemed fitting.

Wooster Student [00:20:14] Netflix and Hulu both have shows about the pandemic and their bullshit. Like it's it's literally the same show just called different shows it's called love in the age of covid. I watched one episode and I was like this. This is accurate. You really hit the nail on the head. However, to soon, I don't like for what's on TV to be relatable in my real life. it's supposed to be an escape.

Laney Zuver [00:20:39] I ended by asking about what other kinds of media she had consumed.

Wooster Student [00:20:44] So I, like in March, just started hating Instagram. It just became very toxic for me.

Wooster Student [00:20:51] But Instagram is like my social media choice, you know, videos like that one app that they're like addicted to mine is Instagram.

Wooster Student [00:20:59] And it just got so, so toxic and so, like, it just was not good for me. So I would go on Instagram like once every two weeks. So in terms of like ... I like I would know what was like happening in terms of like social media and stuff like that from friends and from like the one time I would go every two weeks. But like, I was not super invested in it, like the way everybody else was. It Just became so overwhelming.

Wooster Student [00:21:25] And like, I would see all these people that were still making money during covid and like killing it.

Wooster Student [00:21:31] And I was like, how? That's not me. I felt bad. And so I needed a break from that for sure.

Wooster Student [00:21:38] And like especially with all of the fake news and stuff like that, I was like, this is stressful watching people debate things that are common sense and things that should be common knowledge and like politicizing like a pandemic where like people are dying, like you can't ... like just very basic things that like it was frustrating to see on the Internet.

Wooster Student [00:21:59] I listen to a lot of podcasts. That's like how... That's how I kept, like, updated with like so that engaging with news like I had two news podcasts and then I just like listened to like everything else that was not related to like news or anything.

Wooster Student [00:22:16] I was trying to gain a lot of knowledge that had nothing to do with covid. I was trying to like rekindle passions also as a form of procrastination. I listened to this podcast called.

Wooster Student [00:22:33] I said what I said.

Wooster Student [00:22:35] It's essentially it's very similar to The Bobo and Flex. So the Bobo and Flex show for the purposes of your IS is essentially like a critical thinking podcast.

Wooster Student [00:22:45] Like it's these it's a South African living in Australia, ay no, a South African living in New York and a Kenyan Australian living in Australia. And they basically just talk about like whatever.

Wooster Student [00:22:59] And so "I said what I said" is very similar to that. It's very like it's two sisters talking about love and life and like self growth and spirituality and stuff like that. Each episode is different.

Wooster Student [00:23:11] I listen to this podcast called AfroQueer, which is essentially ... i'm so glad i found it. Its just like sharing.. Each episode shares like a story about different queer stories or culture or like a historical like something to do with, like a queer history around the African continent, because that's very like queer history is essentially erased. or like vilified.

Wooster Student [00:23:39] So it was very nice to discover that. What else, I lisented to The Economist a lot.

Wooster Student [00:23:45] Oprah's super soul Sundays I love,

Wooster Student [00:23:48] I love that podcast, so great.

Laney Zuver [00:23:52] Thanks for listening to be sure to check out more stories at woosterdigital.org/2020summerstories


Delaney Zuver, “Wooster Student,” 2020 Summer Stories, accessed December 6, 2022, http://woosterdigital.org/2020summerstories/items/show/14.

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