Visitor Services Liaison Elizabeth Gregg interviewed Ella Stritzel about the process of writing about her spring 2020 experiences on August 5, 2020.
Read her full essay "The Little Things" here.
EG: What was the process like for you when writing about your experience?
ES: Writing about my own experience was actually really difficult for me. Personally, I wasn't terribly affected by COVID, so when I had the task of writing a 'student perspective', I was at a complete loss. I didn't think there was anything particularly remarkable or worth reading about the previous few months. So instead of making it seem like a thrilling tale people would be dying to read, I approached the assignment as a sort of journal. My writing turned into a stream of consciousness and I ended up writing down everything I could remember- how much I missed my friends, how draining school became, how all of my structure I spent so long building crumbled at my feet. Turning it into a journal made it more personal, and even though my work isn't the most exciting tale, I think a lot of people can relate to missing the small things about life.
EG: Did you find writing about your experience to be helpful to you?
ES: I really did. It made it all seem more real, like what I was experiencing was actually happening and wasn't some freak fever dream. Treating it like a journal helped me make sense of everything going on and understand that this is our new normal.
EG: What were your thoughts like when you heard that campus was closing down?
ES: I was really worried. Being physically present in class is so important to me because I lose focus really easily. Almost all of my life is centered around campus—where I eat, study, my job, my classes—so I had absolutely no idea how I was going to handle things purely in my apartment. I like to keep my school life separated from my home life, and combining them made me really anxious, and it started to feel like I couldn't escape my schoolwork.
EG: What was something you wished you had gotten to do last spring?
ES: I wish I got to play our end of year concert in symphonic band. We had some really amazing repertoire planned and things were just starting to come together.
EG: Were remote classes more or less difficult for you than in-person classes, and why?
ES: Remote classes are more difficult for me. I learn far better in person, as there are fewer distractions and campus has a very distinct feel that I'm in a study area. Having remote classes took that away, and it was so much easier to lose focus or be on my phone during lectures.
EG: Do you think you’re better prepared for fall?
ES: I don't feel prepared for fall at all. I don't really know what's happening with my classes, my housing situation, or even how I'm going to handle more than one remote class at a time. I'm very stressed.
EG: What are you most looking forward to this fall?
ES: I'm really looking forward to anthropology club this fall. One of my good friends and I are running it this year and even though we may not be able to hold it in person, we're already thinking of speakers to bring in and events to plan!