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Undergraduate Life During the Covid-19 Pandemic - Group 2 Interview

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TIAH EDMUNSON-MORTON: Okay. We're rolling. Let's get started everyone. Today we're going to do a group interview for our HC 407 Hidden History of OSU Women and Oral History class. You will all be asking each other and reflecting on questions related to experiences over the last year. We're going to go around a circle and I will ask you all to agree and consent to have this recorded, added to the Voices of OSU Women portal, and the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Collections and also agree to have it transcribed. We'll just go around: Anda, Aubrey, Harry, Mikaela, Teresa. Anda do you agree to have this recorded?

ANDA GHERGHE: Yes. I agree.

TEM: Aubrey?


TEM: Harry?


TEM: Mikaela?



TEM: Teresa?


TEM: Thank you. Before we actually get into the questions themselves, we'll just do a really quick introduction where you will say your name, your major, your year, and where you have geographically been this term. Starting again with Anda.

AG: My name is Anda Gherghe. I'm a Microbiology major. I am a sophomore, so class of 2023. This year I have been in Corvallis, Oregon.

TEM: Aubrey? I have the list and I keep saying it wrong. Aubrey?

AO: My name is Aubrey Olsen. I am undecided on my major. I am a freshman and I have been living in Corvallis this year.

TEM: Okay.

HW: Hi. I am Harry Winsper. I am a sophomore majoring in Political Science, 00:02:00minoring in Journalism and I have been Corvallis for this whole year so far.

TEM: Mikaela?

MS: Hi. My name is Mikaela. I am a Human Development and Family Sciences major with a minor in education and I have also been in Corvallis this whole year.

TEM: Rounding us out Teresa.

TV: I'm Teresa Valdez. I am a senior in Bioresource Research with minors in Chemistry, Public Health, and Toxicology. I have been in Corvallis for the year.

TEM: It's sort of fun that we're all in the same city [laughs]. Far away in time and space. Let's go ahead and get started, Anda with you, asking Aubrey questions.

AG: Yeah, so, this is to Aubrey-what has your OSU story been like and how has 00:03:00Covid impacted it?

AO: My OSU story has actually been pretty short, considering I'm a freshman. I mean, lots of Zoom classes this year but I would say my Covid experience started almost a year ago today. It's been about a year now. That's kind of crazy. Last year I was still in high school, actually, and we kind of started hearing all these rumors about Covid-19 but I don't think anybody at that point predicted that it would become as integrated in our lives as it became. We were told on March 13th, it was a Friday, it was like right before spring break started that our spring break was actually going to be a month long, instead of a week, because coronavirus had reached the U.S. That was actually a lot of people were 00:04:00super excited about that news. They were happy because they got a whole month off school. I personally was really stressed out about it because I was a full IB candidate when I was in high school. Essentially you spend your entire high school career studying for these exams that take place in May. It was March, so it was only a couple of months away and I knew that it was time to start preparing and really get down to business studying for those exams. Hearing that we were going to have a month less to study, I was really concerned and very stressed about it. We did have this whole break off, though, so my family and I decided to go camping. While we were camping my family went into town to get service and they got the news that we just weren't going back for the rest of the school year.

I was really devastated by this news, although I was definitely expecting it at 00:05:00this point because your whole childhood you look forward to the last few months of your senior year. You have graduation and senior banquets and proms and my senior season of tennis. I had music festivals to look forward to. All that stuff was just gone. I was very, very sad to hear about that. I guess we were quarantining and I had all this free time so I decided to get a job and I started working as a direct support professional supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. That kept me busy over the summer until I started school in September. I actually had two in-person classes in the fall, which was I think pretty unique. Most people were lucky if they had one. I had my rock climbing class was in person and that was a lot of fun. We were just 00:06:00very Covid cautious, ensuring we were social distancing. Of course, everyone had to wear masks and washing your hands before and after. My other class it was optional to go in person. It was my business class. I chose to go in person for a little while and then eventually I decided to go remote because I felt that was the safer option. This term I've been completely remote. I'm fortunate enough. I've already received both of the Covid vaccines because I'm a healthcare worker. I was in the phase 1A. It's been over two weeks now. I think that means that I'm kind of immune but I'm still encouraged to wear face masks, of course, because even if I'm protected they don't know if I can still transmit the virus or not. That was really exciting and I know that the general 00:07:00population as a whole is becoming more vaccinated, more people are becoming vaccinated. Cases have been dropping as of late. I'm very optimistic about returning to normal within the next few months.

AG: I know you mentioned that the short ending to your senior year of high school was challenging. Were there any other challenges that you faced during the pandemic and during the last few months? What have they taught you?

AO: Yeah, I don't know. Of course my senior year being taken away from me I felt was the biggest challenge. At the same time, we were all quarantined. It was hard to go from seeing all your friends every day to being trapped in your house. Of course, it was for the best, protecting our community, but it was also 00:08:00difficult and I feel like it taught me a greater appreciation, like I don't know. I don't think I'll ever complain again about going to school in person. That's something I really value. I miss it a lot because Zoom classes, they're just not quite the same. I'm tired of looking at computer screens all day. It definitely has been challenging.

AG: Now that you're a first year student here, I guess I'm just wondering how has been like if you're searching for opportunities to get involved on campus or how has that process been for you?

AO: That's also been very challenging. Last term I think I was a little better about getting involved. I joined the intramurals girls' tennis team. That was a lot of fun. There were only four of us competing. We just every we like would 00:09:00rotate between playing against each other. We ended up playing each other multiple times over. It was a lot of fun. I'm currently living off-campus because I was very concerned about Covid and possibly transmitting it to the people I support at work. I felt like it was a good idea to live off-campus. I have an apartment with a couple of my friends right now and this term I feel like it's been harder to get connected. Winter it's rainy all the time and it's hard to get out as much but it's nice I have some family that lives, like my sister also goes to OSU and my cousin recently graduated from OSU. My family is 00:10:00only a 40-minute drive away in Salem and I still have friends in Salem. It's definitely difficult to get connected. I feel like I haven't met that many people this year, but I feel like it's okay because I'm trying to help protect the community. Next year I'll be able to reach out and make more connections, but this year it's okay to stay at home.

AG: In the same vein as that, looking forward to next year, do you have anything in mind that you want to take advantage of? Or any opportunities that you have in your sight?

AO: I'm actually really hoping to study abroad next year. I haven't figured out it if it would be next year or the year after, because I'm concerned about Covid still being pretty prevalent and I wouldn't want to risk, I don't know-if I'm 00:11:00going to study abroad I would want to be fully immersed in the culture and not have to worry about social distancing and wearing masks everywhere I went. Depending on where we are at in the fall, that's definitely something I would really want to do. I would want to go for an entire year, probably. I want to learn Spanish and I feel like that's the best way to do it by going to a Spanish-speaking country and fully immersing myself in that culture. If that doesn't work out I would definitely want to get involved with more clubs as long as I felt like it was safe to do so. I am really interested in everything outdoors. I know there's a hiking club and a backpacking club and some rock climbing groups. I would definitely want to get more involved in those.


TEM: Is that it for your questions, Anda?

AG: I think so.

TEM: Okay. That was our awkward pause. Next will be Aubrey interviewing Harry.

AO: Cool. Alright, Harry, I want to hear all about your Covid experience and what that has looked like for you.

HW: Okay. Well, same as you kind of it was almost a year ago today. I remember it was March 12, because that's my dad's birthday. It was on a Thursday last year. Basically, I was going home for my dad's birthday to celebrate that. Then I was planning on coming back to campus on the Saturday because I had my 00:13:00fraternity's house dance on that Saturday. Then I was home on that Friday, didn't have any of my stuff, and we were just talking through logistics (my mom and dad and I). They're like, yeah it would probably just make more sense for you to just come back now and just get ready for an extended spring break because you're going to be at home for like a week longer than you thought you would be. I remember it was just a couple of days before. Actually, no, it was just that Wednesday before my dad's birthday was when it was announced that all of our finals for that winter term would be online. This memory will probably be one of the most vivid memories I ever have in my entire life. I was studying in the library with my friends in my international relations class. We were studying for our final, and we were taking a break and so I went on Snapchat and 00:14:00Instagram and I was just seeing all my friends from U of O reposting things on their stories, saying our finals have been moved online. They're going to be remote. We can cheat on our finals now. My friends and I were all in the library, and we're like oh my God! Yes! I really hope Oregon State follows U of O. I really, really want online finals. That would be so nice. Then Oregon State did release the email saying they would follow U of O's example, put finals online, extend spring break by a week. The library was still obviously packed at that point because there was only one case in Oregon, or whatever. The library was packed. Nothing was not normal and I remember everybody received the email 00:15:00at the same time and there was just a frenzy in the library. It was the beginning of an apocalypse. Everybody just got up out of their seats and off their table groups and everything and they were like, oh my God! It's like the beginning of the end!

I was going to go back to the UK for spring break because it was my grandpa's 90th. My mom was planning a surprise birthday party in England for him. My mom was supposed to be leaving that Friday the 13th or Saturday the 14th. It was one of those days. I vividly remember I was on my way back from the library and I 00:16:00FaceTimed my mom and I said, wow! They've just made our finals online and extended spring break by a week. I guess that means we can go to the UK for a bit longer and spend more time with the family. My mom was like, well the European Union just shut down all of their borders. My flight's canceled and I'm not going anymore. I'm not leaving a week earlier than you. I said, oh, well, I guess that just means we can fly together next week when the borders reopen. Obviously we just had no concept of the timeframe and we thought we were just going to a week lockdown and we would be done with it. Yeah, so then obviously that trip got canceled and then spring break. My birthday was over spring break. I had a quarantine birthday.


Then spring term felt like a fever dream, really. It was just really bizarre and thinking back to that original quarantine and the routines that my parents and I got into, I mean looking back at it, it was actually a very, great quality time, I think. The positives that I got out of it, my parents and I. I'm an only child, so I'm already super, super close with both of my parents but just having that extra time to spend with them I guess was really nice looking back at it. Obviously, not getting the college experience was disappointing, especially because spring term is supposed to be so fun. I don't know. I can't complain. Then just the summer was, I made the most of the summer. I got a job, worked at 00:18:00Lululemon for three months. That was fun. It was my first real job. Yeah, summer was as normal as it could possibly be. By the time fall term last year rolled around I moved into my fraternity house and I'm living there right now and Covid's really just impacted that, obviously. We can't do anything in person with other houses, which has been disappointing, but I was nominated for seven positions and officer positions in my house. I got elected as our social chair, so I under normal circumstances I would be in charge of planning all of our 00:19:00social functions with sororities and planning all of our events from like helping out with philanthropy stuff to actual functions on weekends. Now I can't do any of that. I feel kind of useless at my job in the house right now, but I'll still be social chair in the fall. I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to actually do my job normally by then, or somewhat normally, less restricted than I am now. Honestly, that first day when finals were announced that is always going to live in my head rent free. That was just the most bizarre thing that's ever happened to me, was that first day. For sure. That's basically my 00:20:00Covid experience so far.

AO: Can you think of any other experiences that you missed out on due to Covid-19?

HW: Yeah. One of my most significant experiences that I was going to have this summer was I was gonna to go to the Olympics in Tokyo. My dad is one of the vice presidents of Under Armour and he is in charge of looking after all of Under Armour's athletes. He personally trains them and develops new technology. He comes up with their sleep schedule, training schedule, diets and everything, works personally with the athletes. He was going to go to Tokyo with the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team and work with them for the two, three weeks. I don't 00:21:00know how long the Olympics is, but he was going to be there. He was going to bring my mom and I with him just so we could go watch. I really wanted to watch the tennis because I've played tennis since I was 10 or 11. I really wanted to go watch the tennis in Tokyo. Yeah, I missed out on that. Obviously the Olympics never happened. I missed out on Tokyo. My family's just big travelers. We go on like couple vacations a year, like international. We just absolutely love traveling. I haven't been out of the country since beginning of January 2020 when I was on my way back from visiting the UK for that Christmas and we went to the UK and Amsterdam. Amsterdam was the last country outside of the U.S. that 00:22:00I'd been in and that's been over a year and two months, which is the longest I've gone since I was born without leaving the country that I live in. That's been really disappointing for me, because I feel like I've missed out on travel opportunities. That's one of my favorite things to do is travel. That was disappointing. I don't know, I'll hopefully make up for it when things can go back to some kind of normal.

AO: Yeah, I feel that. My last question to wrap things up-I'm just curious what your biggest takeaway has been living through a global pandemic?

HW: My biggest takeaway is probably just the realization of how people can 00:23:00interpret the same situation. I think that, obviously especially here in the U.S., it's just bizarre how a health crisis can be turned into a political opinion to me. I think that is very telling of American culture. I just, I'm still, I just still really don't understand why people just can't understand that-I don't understand why people can't understand this issue. It was interesting, like I talk to my grandparents every week and both sets of my grandparents still live in the UK and I was surprised to hear that even in the 00:24:00UK there's a decent amount of the population that are anti-maskers or don't believe that it's actually happening. It's not just the U.S that is dealing with ignorant people and I found that interesting because I think people are so quick to blame Americans and oh Americans are so stupid. They just have no sense of reality and they're just so dumb. That happens in other countries, like the UK. My uncle and some of my other family live in Canada and the same some people in Canada are just protesting the lock downs and everything. I think the biggest thing that living through the pandemic has taught me is just how people can 00:25:00interpret the same situation just makes such a different case for their viewpoint on something that should just be something that we need to collectively work together in order to beat. I think that's been the most eye opening thing for me for sure. Yeah, that's about it.

So, now I am onto Mikaela now. Let me pull up the Google docs that was shared so that I have the questions prepared. Alright, Mikaela so my first question for you is what was your experience like when Oregon State's campus first closed last winter term?


MS: I remember hearing a little bit about it, similar to what you were saying and getting a little worried. I was working at the Boys & Girls Club and I also had an on-campus job. I was worried about when there was rumors floating around about things closing down. I was worried about money because I was like oh how would childcare work, and on-campus jobs, and stuff like that. Luckily they found a solution for all that, which I'll talk about in a second but I remember when OSU announced that they were shutting campus down for a bit. I don't remember a lot of it. It's kind of hazy, to be honest. I was taking some pictures with my friend Rachel, because she was moving to Boston in a couple weeks for grad school. We were taking the last couple of pictures and we had just gotten off work because we had the same shift. Then we got the email, and we were like, I was like, by Rachel and bye campus, I guess. That was a weird 00:27:00day. I don't remember a lot after that. I remember just getting an email from the Boys & Girls Club saying they were shut down. That was at night, so I was like stressing that night. I think it was a couple days later. They ended up only shutting down for like a couple weeks and actually let us kind of work remotely with planning activities and stuff. They paid us for the rest of March, which was super nice, while they tried to work on getting an emergency childcare permit set in place. Starting in April they started the emergency childcare program for kids of essential workers. That's what it was at first. Kids that were there were only there because their parents had to work essentially. Where else were they going to go, you know? Then I also was still able to work for the 00:28:00College of Public Health and Human Sciences as a peer advisor. We were just working remotely. That was super nice.

It all went well with that, so I think the biggest change was not being able to go on campus. That really sucked, but I remember having the mind state of having oh we'll be back in a couple weeks. Maybe not for spring term, but we'll definitely be back for fall for my senior year. That won't be a problem. Now here we are. But I think the most interesting thing and the biggest change in my life because of Covid was definitely my work at the Boys & Girls Club. So, I'm probably going to focus on that a little bit. When the program first started there were barely any kids enrolled so we had a lot of days where we like left at like 3:00, got there at 12:00 and left at 3:00. It was not as busy as my typical days were, but as the program continued we got more kids. They were 00:29:00figuring out about the program. It was really cool, basically. I guess I will describe what we do in a daily thing, because that's literally my entire life now and has been for like almost a year now. We each have our own little room and we each have a grade and we're categorized as an emergency childcare teacher. My grade, it was third grade last year but now they're all 4th graders. Now it's fourth grade. I've stayed with the same group of kids the whole time. We're in one room and the cap is at 15. It was at 10, but now it's at 15. I've had, there's a couple new kids that I've had in the past couple months, but most of them are from all the way in last April. It's been a while. We just planned enrichment. The morning staff does Zoom calls with them, since they're all doing 00:30:00online school. That is a super interesting thing. I've started working mornings and afternoons, like mornings a couple days, afternoons the others. I get a little bit of both and it's definitely a challenge to keep fourth graders on top of online school. It's really not a great system for them. I'm looking forward to them being able to go back at some point. They are starting to go for a couple hours a day here and there. Anyway, then in the afternoon we basically just plan enrichment activities and we have specific gym times. We all have walkie-talkies and we can't take our kids out of the room if there's someone else in the hallways going to outside or the gym everything gets sprayed off before the next group goes. We have to walkie when a kid's going to the bathroom because there can't be more than one in the bathroom or using the water fountain. It's a very tight ship. They go all day. They get there as early as 7:30 and they leave at 6:00 p.m. It's a long day for them. That was the biggest 00:31:00change in my life.

I also would say that that's probably the highlight of all of this, if I'm going to pick a silver lining out of all of it. I've gotten to know these kids super well and it definitely solidified the fact that I want to go into teaching, especially elementary. I also thought that I wanted to work with younger grades, but I feel like I do really well with 4th graders now, so I feel like upper elementary would be good as well. I feel like that's helped me in my career decisions and then I just love hanging out with the kids. I have my own little group of 15 of them and I feel like sometimes they're my own children, because I'm literally there with them so often, probably more than they hang out with their actual parents. They actually just started calling me mom the other day. They all want me to adopt them. Yeah, it's a good time. I guess that was really like the biggest changes for me. School-wise, it's been like disappointing. I 00:32:00definitely wanted my senior year, I wanted to be able to go to some more football games and baseball games. I wanted a commencement. That's a big let-down. I also wanted to be able to defend my thesis in person and not over a Zoom call and go to the thesis fair. I don't know, it just all seems like a lot of work and the reward at the end of it doesn't feel as great anymore as it would have if everything was in person. That kind of sucks, but I'm planning on going onto my master's. I guess it won't be my last graduation, but I don't know. It still kind of sucks. I do feel really bad for people that missed out on their senior year of high school. I feel like there's so much in that year that a lot of people had to miss. That does suck. My little brother missed his spring term of his freshman year and I feel like that's always the most fun term of 00:33:00college, in my opinion. Freshman year is fun. You don't have as many responsibilities yet, so I feel for those people, too. I would say that work is my biggest change, but also my favorite part about it. School's probably the biggest let-down. I also feel like I can't take classes as seriously. I get really distracted and Zoom calls are just, it's a lot sometimes and working remotely, I don't take that job as seriously as I used to, working in the office, just because not as many things happen and you're just working remotely and technology's annoying at times. The phone system's not great. I guess that's it. Do you have any other questions?

HW: Yeah. There's a couple more I see here. You talk a lot about your job. That 00:34:00was the subject of quite a few of the questions, pretty much, but what's the best thing that occurred over the past year for you, do you think?

MS: Probably being able to meet those kids and hang out with them. I know I talk about them a lot, but that's literally what I do every day. I don't really do a lot else. Obviously, I'm not traveling or anything. I don't have as many travel options as you did, Harry. That sounds really cool. Sorry that you missed out on those. That's awesome. I would say probably just meeting those kids and definitely being able to change their lives a little bit for the better, because they all have, from what I've learned over the past year, very, very difficult home lives. A lot of them have parents in and out of jail, just stuff like that. 00:35:00There's a lot with that, and a lot of them don't have a lot of good role models at home and some of them don't want to go home at the end of the day. It's nice that there's someone consistent for them every day that they get to see. I'm glad that I'm a part of that. I think that's probably the best thing over the past year.

HW: Yeah. That's really nice. You just don't even realize how many kids are affected by that kind of stuff and can understand that at a young age, too.

MS: Exactly. I don't think they know how to comprehend and process it yet, obviously. Sometimes they just say things off-handed, and you're like whoa! That's a lot to unpack. There's one kid who has two different colored eyes and he's super cool. If you compliment them, then he's like: thank you! I had brain cancer when I was three. That's why I have them. You're just like, oh! Okay. 00:36:00There's a lot of things that kids aren't really able to know how things are impacting them, yet. I think it's nice that they have someone to be consistent, because a lot of things aren't consistent at home.

HW: That makes sense. How were you affected in the summer versus the school year? Do you still work that job over the summer, too?

MS: Yeah, I actually did not work that job over the summer. I went back to my parents to save a tiny bit of money. I was working remotely full-time for the college. That was different. I was working 8:00 to 5:00 remotely and that was super boring, definitely not the most fun way to spend a summer. That wasn't great. I also actually got married last summer in August. That was a definite 00:37:00interesting change in planning, because we'd been planning it for two years and then all of this happened. We had to change a lot about that. It still was able to happen because it was outside and we all just had to distance ourselves a lot more. We had masks as favors and hand sanitizer everywhere. It was definitely not the original plan, but it was still nice and it still happened. Our travel plans afterwards were definitely different. We just had to go to Bend and kind of just isolate there instead of going where we wanted to go, which was Mexico. That wasn't going to happen. That was a big change, too, but not huge because it still was able to happen just with a lot of modifications. I went home, that happened, and then I came back to Corvallis right afterwards and started working 00:38:00at the Boys & Girls Club once I was done working full-time for the summer for the peer advisor job. I think I joined the Boys & Girls Club back again in late September once summer stopped and classes started again. HW: Wow. You've had a busy year even though you can't really do much, but it sounds like you've definitely done a lot. I think that's, those were, you basically hit all the topics of the questions. I think that's about it. Thank you.

MS: Thank you.

TEM: I wanted to say that Bend is the new Mexico.

MS: Yeah, I mean it was nice. I actually might go there for my master's program now for teaching. I really liked it while we were there. I was like, well, where can we go that's nice and we don't have to get on a plane.


TEM: So, Mikaela you are up next interviewing Teresa.

MS: Yes, alright. Let me open the little document. Okay, I guess we'll just start with how has your OSU experience been impacted by Covid, starting last year and just continuing into this year now that we're at the one-year mark.

TV: Yeah, so, I remember getting the email, the infamous email, saying that we were going to spend the first two weeks of spring term online. I was actually in the leadership seminar class. It's a cohort that stays together for the entire year. We had learned how to be vulnerable with each other. We were like, cool, we can be scared and excited to be online together, assuming we would come back for the rest of spring term and it never happened. I remember everyone being 00:40:00like, oh my God! It's happening. We get an extended spring break, basically. We were excited. Obviously, shouldn't have been excited because now we're here. I remember that. Looking back to spring term, there was a big change in how devoted I was to school, because when we went online my brain did not like it. My brain did not want to do that. I'd taken Ecampus classes before, but those are different than classes that are taught in-person on the Corvallis campus moved online. A lot of the professors that term didn't know how to do online classes. I don't blame them, but it made learning a lot harder and it made being engaged a lot harder. I definitely stopped showing up to classes because 00:41:00professors were like oh, I'll record the lecture. It's fine. You can watch it later. Then I binge watched all the lectures the night before the exams. Not the best way to do things.

With Covid going on, I lost so much motivation because I had also when that had happened my mom and I had made the decision to stop visiting each other. I live 60 minutes, 70 minutes from where my mom lives. I would go home every weekend because we have a close relationship and that stopped. We just couldn't do it anymore. She's a nurse. It wasn't safe. I think that definitely had something to do with it. It just pulled me out from everything. I remember going through the motions of spring term, and saying okay I'll be back in the fall. We'll be back in the fall better than ever. Didn't happen. I think also in spring term there 00:42:00was a lot of financial struggle because I worked two jobs on campus that didn't happen. I'm an Honors College ambassador, so I meet with prospective Honors College students and we moved those meetings to Zoom, which is fine, except no one wanted to spend more time on Zoom than they had to. We didn't really have students, or prospective students, signing up to learn more about the Honors College. At that time, basically if no one showed up to learn we wouldn't get paid. I went from working 15 hours a week on campus to maybe getting three hours if I was lucky. That was also something where I was like, this is hard. I don't know how to deal with this. I already have loans out for school, I shouldn't be worrying even more about money. That was definitely really difficult and even 00:43:00though OSU had given all employees, I think, like their average two weeks if they got Covid that they could use to get more hours, it was two weeks and we were looking at a whole term of basically nothing.

I think that also affected my academics because that became a big source of stress and I spent most of my time being okay, how am I going to pay rent? How am I going to get food? What's going to happen? I also work as a research assistant in my lab that I'm writing my thesis in. Thankfully, I got paid as much as I would normally work. That was nice, but I couldn't do a whole lot of 00:44:00stuff. It felt like my thesis was at a standstill for a while. We didn't actually do anything for my thesis until the end of fall term, so there's been a lot of progress recently. In the spring, it was very we're just going to watch my poster. See if it'll add to itself, I guess. That was interesting. There was a lot of losing motivation, which sucks, because I'm in my senior year now and that's always a year where you lose motivation because you're so close to the end. I'm feeling that now. That was kind of spring term. I think with all the negative things that had happened and all the stress that I had experienced, I grew a lot, partially because I wasn't seeing my mom as often. I learned how to be a real adult instead of an adult with my mom there just in case, which I 00:45:00think was nice. I liked that growth and I like that I can now handle myself in I'll make phone calls. I wouldn't do that before [makes no sound]. Wouldn't catch me on a phone call. Not going to happen, and now I do. There's been little random bits of growth and I really like looking back and reflecting on that I appreciate the struggles that I went through to get there.

MS: That's good. Yeah, there's definitely been a lot of struggles with that, but I'm glad that you can find a little bit of good in that. Looking at the questions, I think you already touched on a lot of them. You talked about how you grew. Are there any more experiences that you lost or missed out on due to Covid, specific experiences or is it things that you already touched on?


TV: Yeah, so I turned 21 last May when everything was closed. Everything was taken a lot more seriously, I think, in May. I feel like I didn't actually turn 21, but that's fine I guess. Whatever. We'll make up for it as some point. That was the first big thing that I feel like I missed, where I was like oh this is how it's going to be. Okay, cool. I also missed a research conference that I was going to. I had everything paid for by the school. I had a hotel in San Diego, I think is where it was. I was going to stay there for the weekend and present my research. It was going to be super exciting. It was also going to be a networking opportunity for grad school. Couldn't do that. That was just flat out canceled. They didn't move it to Zoom or anything. Then I was also going to 00:47:00celebrate my 21st birthday in June after classes had finished with my mom and my partner. We were going to go to Disneyland. Saying that out loud it feels very shallow to be upset about not going to Disneyland because it's Disneyland. It's not like a big life moment but it's something we had planned for quite a while. We planned it I think since January and we were like saving up for it. It was going to be a big deal and that didn't happen. That was sad.

Looking forward, I obviously won't get a commencement. Not a normal one. It'll be on Zoom, I think, or it'll be online somehow. That's really sad for me. I'm not a first-generation college student, but I watched my mom go through college. 00:48:00I'm the first traditional college student in my family, and my dad dropped out of high school. This would have been a huge thing and I was excited to go through the commencement to show my siblings that just because our dad didn't graduate high school doesn't mean that we can't do these awesome things and do school. It's something that I'm sad about but I'm doing an accelerated master's program at Oregon State now, so I'll get to go through commencement next year for my master's, which hopefully will be kind of normal. We'll see. I think 00:49:00commencement is the one thing that I'm like, this really sucks. This sucks the most to miss out on because of Covid.

MS: I'm right there with ya on that one. Looking forward into next year, what do you think/hope that will look like. You kind of already touched on it with commencement, but I guess anything else? Your master's program or anything?

TV: I'm hoping that we reach some sort of old normal, even if it's not fully like the way things were. I'm very introverted. I'm very, don't talk to me. It's fine. I'm going to go read a book. Y'all can socialize. I'm going to go. I don't 00:50:00like people, but this year was the first year that I've gone without human contact, really, for a while, other than my partner and that's kind of it. I hope next year there's at least some way that I can have some sort of social something, whether it's we're still socially distanced, but I don't feel as scared to go and eat dinner with someone. Anything like that. That's kind of my main hope for next year, and I think we'll get there with vaccines and stuff. At this point, it's kind of hard to have any sort of real hope until we're almost there. Those are happening, but not as many people as we'd like are getting vaccines. It's kind of like, are we actually going to get there? Or is it just going to be this weird, half the population's vaccinated and half the population 00:51:00doesn't want it? How do we do things? I just hope next year I can go outside and feel kind of normal.

MS: Yes. I agree. I think we all hope that a little bit. I think that's it. I don't have any other questions for you. Thank you.

TV: Thank you.

TEM: Teresa you will be interviewing Anda.

TV: Cool. Okay, Anda. Tell me about your lovely Oregon State story and then how Covid came along and what that did.

AG: Yeah. One second. I lost my mouse. There it is. Okay, just Zoom things. We've gotten used to it. I moved to Corvallis in fall of 2019 for my freshman 00:52:00year. I had a bit of a normal term. Most of fall term for me was spent adjusting to college, specifically adjusting to the academics, since it was pretty different from high school. I had to change my learning style, how I took notes, how I studied, all that stuff. Most of fall term was spent focusing on my academics, trying to meet people. I had a roommate that I didn't know before that I met online. That was nice to see some new faces, but there were people from my high school who also came to Oregon State, so that was nice to see some old faces and to get some familiarity. Fall term was mostly spent adjusting for me. Winter term, once I felt that I had a bit of a grip on my classes and that I could do well in them, I decided to spend a lot more time looking for opportunities on campus and how to get involved. Yeah, winter term I ended up 00:53:00looking into some research labs on campus, and I ended up trying to meet with a couple of professors in January, February right before spring break and spring term. I ended up getting an interview at a lab and I ended up getting accepted to it, and I accepted the position right before spring break and we had planned to start my training over spring break and into spring term and actually have me start going into the lab over spring term, which obviously didn't happen. More on that later. Then I also applied for a position as an academic learning assistant in the residence halls. I did have an interview for that in February or beginning of March, and I accepted the position like right smack before spring break, like a couple of days before. For that, this kind of it's like an 00:54:00RA position, so you work in the dorms. You are a live-in staff member, so a lot of stuff is done in person, which obviously had to change for this year.

Some other stuff that happened winter term, in January I had bought a ticket to go to Arizona for spring break for a couple of days. I was going down to visit my partner who at the time went to school there and also a couple of our friends and I was one of the people who very foolishly didn't think that Covid would be around very long. I bought the ticket in January when things were still pretty much centered in China and then by February I think they had spread around Europe and different parts of Asia, but I don't think they had come into the U.S. yet. I was still holding onto my ticket. My plan was just to leave straight from campus after finals and go to the airport and fly out. Then about a week or two before spring break started, we started to get the news of cases in New York 00:55:00and California, Washington I think those were the hot spots at that point in time. But I still wasn't sure what was going to happen. I know Arizona was having some cases, so I was definitely getting a little bit nervous and then it was just a couple of days before, I think it was two or three days before my trip, that it just seemed like overnight a lot of stuff was changing. The borders were closing. There was talk of closing the border between U.S. and Mexico. I heard things about maybe closing travel between states. It just didn't feel like I could very securely go to Arizona and know that I would come back to Oregon. I decided to cancel my trip, which was definitely disappointing. I had already bought a bunch of new clothes for my vacation, which seems very trivial but I was very excited for it. I ended up asking to see if I could get a refund 00:56:00for my ticket, but I think just a lot of people thought, I think the airlines also thought that Covid would kind of go away and people could get back to traveling. They ended up giving me a travel credit and so they waived all the fees related to canceling and rebooking and what not and told me I could travel later in the year. Obviously I planned to travel in the summer, but that didn't happen. Then school started and I couldn't do anything either, so they ended up extending the travel credit to the end of next year, so we'll see if I can go anywhere and use it. That was a pretty big change in my personal plans for spring break.

Before spring break as well when we got the email, I had already I think I had already moved back home for spring break. I left all my stuff in the dorms because I just thought that we would come back. I think at that point we hadn't 00:57:00got the email that campus was closing down. I think they had just said that finals would be remote. They were still discussing some other plans. I think it was the day after I got home they told us, hey if you want a full refund for your dorm, the amount of money that you paid for living in the dorms, you have to move out by Friday. My mom and I ended up driving back that next day and packing all my stuff in the afternoon and leaving. It was pretty sad. My roommate lived near Seattle, so she had driven up also before she got the email to move all our stuff out. As soon as she got to Seattle, she got the email, so she drove all the way back down here. We had missed each other when we were moving out. It was a very sudden goodbye that none of us were really expecting, but I don't think it really had registered for me what spring term would look like. I'm very much a homebody. I love spending time at home and with my family. 00:58:00Spring term for me, I was very fortunate that my family didn't face a lot of hardship and it was more just trying to adjust to a new schedule, which I know is not the case for a lot of people. My spring term was pretty mellow. I didn't find online classes to be super difficult. I think the hardest part of online classes was definitely getting rid of my distractions around me. Then summer term I did take some classes over the summer, which were also online but with summer a lot of my time was spent going on walks. I have a dog and he was probably so happy. I think if anyone has benefited from this it's been the pets, since everyone's always at home and he got to go on lots of walks. Lots of outdoor stuff, and then in the fall, this past fall, I moved back into the dorms for the ALA position which has been interesting and then also for the lab position.


TV: Can you talk a little bit more about what it's been like working on campus this year for you?

AG: Yeah. I don't really have anything to compare it to, because last year I didn't work on campus. I was just very focused on my schoolwork. I guess I'll start with the Academic Learning Assistant position. Like I said, it's traditionally like an in-person job. I do a lot of outreach to residents to help aide their academic success, however they define that. I do a lot of referrals, a lot of one-on-ones. I hold office hours. We do workshops in person traditionally, is what I've heard the position does. All of that has moved online, which has been pretty tiring. It's a 15-hour per week position. Doing a 01:00:00bunch of online stuff on top of online classes has been exhausting, but I think the hardest part of the job has been trying to get students to engage with me, which I think it's very understandable because we do a lot of stuff now through email land through Zoom it's hard to expect students to want to come to a lot of workshops, to reply to emails constantly. Zoom fatigue is very real. Email overload is very real. Trying to get creative and how we reach out to students and how you can support their academic success. A lot of stuff now has centered around mental health as well, especially as we reach winter term with changes in the season but also just continuing that Zoom stuff and then also hearing that spring term was online. I think it definitely brought a lot of emotions in a lot of the students.

The dorms have also changed. I know last year I lived in Sackett and I'm in 01:01:00Sackett again this year for the position. We could have friends in our rooms. I remember my roommate and I would have tea with some of the people in our floor or we would go out. Now you can't have any guests above the second floor. A lot of students are living in a double room by themselves to eliminate how many roommate pairings there are to keep the building safe. As a first year student you can imagine that's pretty difficult. Meeting people is a lot harder. There's not a lot of things on campus happening in person. A lot of that is online. Again, it kind of continues the Zoom fatigue cycle. We do get tested every week now. We are required to do that, which gives me some piece of mind. I've also gotten the vaccine. I'm getting the second dose tomorrow, which is exciting. Because we are live-in staff we do get that benefit, which I think is nice. As 01:02:00for the research assistant position, obviously training did not happen in person over spring term. I joined the lab sort of at the last minute that I could and I did a lot of spring training online, which was interesting. Then fall term I also did a lot of stuff online. I did a lot of the emailing to participants and scheduling stuff but I still wasn't trained to interview and to do a lot of the paperwork and database recordings. I just actually started going into the lab like two weeks ago, which is really exciting. It's funny only a year after I got hired I could finally go into the lab. Even now you can only have one person at a time, so you have to coordinate with the other people on the team. It's been interesting. I don't know, I guess, life otherwise, since I've just been working online this whole year. If I do return to the ALA position next year I'm interested to see how that might look different in a hybrid situation or back to 01:03:00in-person. I would say I'm fortunate enough not to have faced anything significant during this time, and a lot of it, like I said, has just been adjusting to a new lifestyle, but nothing too bad.

TV: I have one last question for you and it's what has been your biggest takeaway from this whole year?

AG: Yeah, I tried to think about this a lot. I don't know. My answer always changes. I would say right now I used to be very hard on myself and I used to hold myself to a very high standard. I think with this pandemic I've learned that it's important to take a step back and take care of my mental health and my physical health and not always push myself to the maximum. If anything, I think I've gotten a little bit more lenient with myself, which has made me really 01:04:00happy and I think that my quality of life has improved in some way from that. I think it's pretty cliché, but not taking things for granted. I think things changed so fast before any one of us could really understand what was happening, so I'm excited for things to go back to normal and to try to live life to the fullest.

TV: Thank you for sharing.

AG: Yeah, thank you.

TEM: Well, I have questions of course. I have questions that are on script but also other things. Thank you all for sharing. There were times where I was feeling teary. So it's good that you weren't in person and I wasn't having to talk with my quivering voice. I think this loss of milestones and markers, the things that maybe we weren't even sure how important they would be until they didn't happen. I like - Anda, not on purpose, but we ended with you and this 01:05:00reflection of not taking things for granted. I think I hope that's something we can carry through. Also, all of you talked about this in a way-the delay in it registering in your own brain what was happening. We had our last class of this class last year on Wednesday, also, at this very time, and we did a group interview with a faculty member from HDFS, and then we never saw each other again. We just canceled the final presentations. I think it is this very strange thing for us to be doing this on the year anniversary in terms of the day of week of term: the reflection on what we thought was coming and what actually ended up happening. I'm going to pull up my Google doc.


I am also, some of you talked about this a little bit touched on this, but for those of you who didn't or for those who want to say more, I'm curious what you remember from last summer/what sticks with you from last summer. We can just do open, anybody who wants to talk. Now it's a free for all. What sticks with you for Summer 2020, the standouts?

MS: What I've kind of noticed, it's kind of like spring and summer of 2020 versus now, is I noticed a lot of people are feeling nostalgic for last spring and summer because I think that everyone, first of all, we've been in it for a year now so I don't think we're as like oh, this will pass really soon as we were like last year. So people weren't as worried about it in some ways. Obviously in other ways maybe more so. I feel like a lot of people are feeling 01:07:00nostalgic for the beginning of it, because everyone was like oh we get some extra time to do fun hobbies. People were like exercising more, going on walks. I remember I was going on a lot of walks with my roommate and that was the fun thing that we were doing and just different fun activities people normally don't have the time for, and I feel like people aren't doing that anymore and we're really burnt out.

AG: I will kind of second that. I remember from summer I did just a lot of walks. I'd like wake up in the morning and try new recipes or work out, do puzzles. It was just a time of exploring things I never have the time to do because of school. It was very relaxing. I don't know, I would wake up in the morning and I almost felt like I didn't really have anything to do. It was just kind of like go with the flow and see what happens in the day. My friends and I would do car circles, so we'd all meet up in a parking lot in our own cars and 01:08:00just chat until the sun set or we'd have outdoor get-togethers on people's patios. I think it was just a very relaxing time.

TV: I think for me I have the exact opposite experience. Summer 2020 was probably like the worst time of my life because at that point I had talked about how financially the spring term was rough. Summer was no different, so I got a job off-campus. It was my first off-campus job. I worked at Safeway and that threw me right into like dealing with the public and also how a lot of the public would make sort of like backhand comments about like, masks are so stupid. There I am wearing a mask eight hours at a time. I don't want to be 01:09:00here. This is really risky, but I need to pay rent. I think that really took a toll on me and my mental health because people were very ungrateful for I had to work there. I had to clean the conveyor belts. I had to clean the pin pads so you could pay, and there were a few standout customers who would thank me for working, but a lot of people would rip their mask off as they got up to the front and I was like can we not? We weren't allowed to ask them to put the mask back on, because I don't know if you all remember but people would get violent towards cashiers and stuff. If they took the mask off I would just have to sit there and engage with them and I would just kind of, it was terrible and it was 01:10:00very rough.

AO: Yeah, I remember feeling like in the summer a lot of people were starting to give up on caring about Covid. A lot of people had been like, yeah wear masks. We can do it. We can get through it, but then it's summer and everybody wants to return to like, you know, summertime is like you go on vacation and you hang out with your friends. I remember a lot of people just really loosening their precautions that they had previously been taking. For me personally, the summer I wanted to keep busy, so I was working like 60+ hour weeks, which was probably good for me because I'm a person that really likes to stay busy and I did not want to be stuck at home all the time. I also tried to incorporate some Covid 01:11:00safe activities with my friends, where we would do the social-distanced hanging out and wearing our masks. I remember still it was like a, I would still consider a good summer and I was able to still have some good memories from that, but it definitely was a different summer compared to what we were used to before.

HW: Yeah, for me my summer was, I definitely made the most of it and kept super busy, like I said, in my interview. I had my first ever real job at Lululemon. That was really fun. I enjoyed working there and it was so nice to have constant interactions with people. I just felt like I could be super social and outgoing, which I am naturally. I feel like I could be in an environment that didn't feel 01:12:00as though I was cooped up. Also, I must admit that yeah, I personally loosened up on my, the precautions and such. I picked a friend group who we would just be in our own bubbles and I would hang out with that same friend group literally every single day in the summer and do stuff. That was really nice because my parents were pretty lenient about that and they're like, oh yeah for sure you just got to keep a friend group and you know just do everything with them and do whatever and so that was really nice to be able to just be in the same bubble as a few of my really, really good friends. I was able to have company pretty much every day and the original quarantine when everybody was super, super strict 01:13:00about the lockdown that was the first time I had ever really wished that I'd had a sibling to keep me company, kind of. Because I absolutely love being an only child, but yeah so being able to hang out with that select group of friends, really, really made the difference for me this summer, which was nice. I definitely, definitely made the most of it.

TEM: I think the different adaptations and different coping skills. Aubrey, I was definitely with you where I was like I just want to work all the time. That was, to me, that felt very comforting and I think the different ways that we were able to find comfort, and Teresa I think the financial fear is something 01:14:00that was definitely felt, we all had lots of common, shared experiences, but I think was felt from the student population through-I was going to say the president. I'm assuming that the president felt some financial fear, maybe, but that that was a common unifier for the university, too. What is going to happen? How will this impact a pretty important part of how we can be here and why we're here?

I am curious about if I ask more pointedly about the things that happened in the summer. Do you think about the fires or social unrest and protests and an election season that honestly seemed to have gone on for, I don't, I mean time is a warp anyway, but we certainly had a lot of contentiousness around the 01:15:00election? You've all sort of touched on the debate over wearing masks or not wearing masks or being together or not being together. If I say those things from the summer, respond to that, if you would like.

HW: For me, I went to I think like four or five BLM protests this summer, and those were really, really cool experiences. I wouldn't have missed those for the world. I was just, yeah, like I mean I went to one. I live in Lake Oswego, so I went to one that was just right in Lake Oswego. I went to two in West Linn. 01:16:00Never went to any of the Portland ones, because my parents were very concerned about those and they're like oh, my God. Just don't risk it. There's too many people and the police are tear gassing. They're just like, don't even risk that. They did not want me to go to those. I went to one in Lake Oswego, two in West Linn. Came to one in Corvallis. That one was the most powerful, by far. That one was amazing. I definitely was active in that kind of stuff when there was a bunch of unrest in May and June. Yeah, the election season was also very interesting for me because most of my male friends from high school are super 01:17:00Republican and Trump-y. Personally, I don't believe in not being friends with someone purely because of their political views. I'm super, super liberal and all of my friends know that I'm very left-wing, but I also am not going to not be friends with someone based on their political opinions. My friends who have the completely opposite opinions than I do we can talk about that and have really interesting discussions about that. The election season for me was super interesting, because I just enjoyed being around people who didn't all share the same opinions as me. I think that listening to other people and their 01:18:00circumstances and how they formed their own opinions is very interesting, just as a life lesson in general, listening to other people's opinions and hearing how they came to form their opinions is important.

The election season was interesting just because I love my fraternity house and obviously not all 36 of us are going to have the exact same opinion, so we just had the election on a massive, massive screen and all of us, no matter who we supported we were just watching that together. I don't know. I find value in having friendships that have completely different viewpoints to my own. Yeah, and then the wearing masks versus not wearing masks, working at Lululemon I had 01:19:00a lot of very wealthy, white moms and parents come into the store who were anti-maskers and I would always work the front door and greet all of the customers. We had a box of the disposable masks to offer to customers and there was just once a day there was at least one or two ladies who would come in and they would just not have a mask, and I would be like oh, sorry you can't come in without one but we do have this box of masks to give to you. They're like, oh never mind. Then they would just turn around and they didn't come into the store because they had to wear a mask. We could actually enforce that. Yeah, they would just walk away because they couldn't be bothered to wear one. I was like, okay I don't know why that's such a hardship for you, but okay. Fair enough. I 01:20:00don't know. Yeah, just bizarre. They just make it out to be such an inconvenience, and it's just a simple, simple task.

TEM: Mm-hmm.

AO: Yeah, it was definitely a year of political unrest in a lot of ways. I personally really, really value the Black Lives Matter Movement. Unfortunately I didn't, as an essential worker, healthcare worker, I didn't feel safe going to the protest because I didn't want to put the people I supported at risk, which was really sad for me because I really did want to get involved in that way. There were a lot of other ways that I felt like I was getting involved. I was reading a lot of resources about social injustices and I felt like I really did 01:21:00learn a lot and I was signing petitions and sharing petitions and having those conversations with family members, which were difficult to have. I have a very conservative extended family and I definitely felt outnumbered a lot of the time. I remember in particular I had this one conversation with my grandpa and my sister and my stepbrother, they're also very liberal like I am and are very supportive of the movement. My dad and my grandpa and his wife were very, I don't know, they just didn't really support it in the same way, didn't really understand it. It was nice to have the support of my sister and my stepbrother, because otherwise I feel like I would have been overwhelmed with all these different points coming at me that I hadn't thought of, but I feel like it was really good to have those conversations. We were both able to learn from each 01:22:00other. I feel like it was very productive.

The election, of course, was very, very tense. Something that I was very passionate about and I was very happy with the results of the election and I feel like it was, like I wasn't super involved with politics before, so maybe it was this extra time on my hands to get involved. I guess over the past couple of years I've really formed some strong opinions. The wildfires were also pretty crazy. I was actually gone the first day that it happened. We went to Idaho to pick up my sister, who lives there. We were gone on that one day where the skies were all red and crazy, but my sister called us and she was like considering 01:23:00evacuating and she's like, what do you want us to pack? They ended up not needing to evacuate but a lot of Oregon burnt down and it was really devastating to see all the damage that took place. Just a lot of hardships in 2020.

TEM: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I think that, again, the thing that I also remember about the wildfires is this going to go away tomorrow? That kind of pause. That same, similar to those early Covid thoughts of how serious should I be taking this? I also like, Aubrey, what you said about having time to consider. I think that's what I hope that the time that people were able to take in reading or having discussions and being in a family environment that maybe 01:24:00you wouldn't have been in ordinarily for those of you who went back home. It's certainly a unique time.

MS: Going off the wildfires, I'm from Southern Oregon-Central Point. It's like outside of Medford. They got hit pretty hard. I remember when it was all happening down there. It was super smoky up here, but that being a super huge problem. We had just gotten a kitten and he actually had a respiratory infection and an eye infection when we got him. Then all the smoke came in right after we figured that out, so we were really trying our best to not get him to breathe any of it. We had to take our AC out of the window, because we had a window AC. Obviously we couldn't use that. It was super-hot and smokey and it was awful for a week.

I remember this one night my parents' home was at the Stage III evacuate thing 01:25:00and the fires were at the Expo Fairgrounds, which is literally a two-minute drive from my house. It was very terrifying and my parents were, it was super late at night. It was at 10:00 p.m. They're pretty stubborn so they weren't really wanting to, especially my dad, but my mom was packing everything up anyways, and I just remember it was super scary because I was telling her a couple different things that I wanted her to pack from my room that I had left. That was hard. They ended up not having to evacuate. The firefighters actually got it, miraculously, under control within the next hour. I do know a couple of people that did have to evaluate and I also know a lot of people that lost their homes in that and then all of Phoenix, Oregon, is basically still completely burnt down. When I drive to my grandma's house, it's right past Phoenix and just from the highway you can just see it's completely gone. That was definitely hard.


I have a lot of memories-it's the Rogue Valley, so a lot of it is pretty small, so I grew up in the whole thing, not just my exact town where I was born because everyone just travels around the valley because there's not much to do there. A lot of us hung out in Phoenix and stuff like that so there were a lot of things that were burnt down where we can't go to anymore. That was pretty hard. I think that was a pretty memorable thing from the late summer. Also, Southern Oregon versus Corvallis and how they treated masks and Covid is also very different, especially when it first started. There's definitely a lot more conservative people down there, which has definitely caused some differences in opinions between me and my extended family down there. Just even in the beginning the amount of masks I saw up here versus down there when I would visit or just how 01:27:00people were talking about it were very, very different. I don't know. That was all just interesting, and I feel I saw a lot of people talk about how around the summer they just felt like the world was ending because we're in the middle of a pandemic and all the civil unrest and there was wildfires everywhere. Just a lot of things. It's definitely been quite a year.

TEM: Yeah, I know I was waiting for the locusts.

MS: Yeah.

TEM: To descend as well. We had-

MS: Well, there was the murder hornets, or something like that.

TEM: Oh, the murder hornets! That's right. Yes. I had forgotten about the murder hornets. We also had roadwork, and so we had roadwork right in front of our house and it was the feeling of I'm trapped for so many reasons. We didn't have murder hornets, though, in my yard.

MS: I remember the kids at the Boys & Girls Club being really scared about it. It was kind of funny. They were like, just every bee they saw, they were like, it's a murder hornet!


TEM: What about Teresa and Anda? Do you want to share? No obligation to share, but if there are things that you want to share, please I invite you to.

TV: Yeah, so I have a couple things that I want to share. In the summer I was working at Safeway when the wildfires happened. I found it very interesting we were all forced to work but the store director or the assistant store director didn't come in during the wildfires. Safeway has the automatic doors, so whenever customers would come in and out, smoke, a lot of smoke, would come in. I remember several of my coworkers having asthma attacks during those days. That just fueled some rage being forced to work in those conditions with no hazard pay because of Covid and on top of wearing a mask having a hard time breathing 01:29:00because of the smoke. That was peak terrible-ness. It sucked. As far as Black Lives Matter and the election, I wasn't able to physically participate in any protests, but I did have a lot of important conversations with family and friends. I am a very white Mexican, but I am Mexican and I'm also queer and non-binary. I'm an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement. It's something that I will forever talk about.

As far as politically with the presidential election, this summer and in the fall was a time where I openly talked about my gender identity and the terror 01:30:00that I experienced under the previous presidential administration, just being outright transphobic and there's claims that he was the most LGBTQ-friendly president, but as someone in that community I'm going to say [makes clicking sound] that's a lie because whether or not he did it himself, his presidency brought out a culture that was hidden and it was a culture of hate towards people of color, queer people, and then gender queer people. Running up to the election, I kept having these important conversations with family and I would make these posts on Facebook just talking about how I felt and actually feeling 01:31:00unsafe because people don't comprehend that sometimes where I'm content with who I am but it's feeling unsafe in the presence of others who don't understand or don't want to learn and I definitely grew a lot in terms of calling out casual transphobia, homophobia, racism because by November I had had enough of it. I had had enough of all the terrible things that people would say, all the offhand comments like, I remember distinctly someone in my town's Facebook community page had said that they were an LGTBQ+ ally and then in the same comment had made a transphobic pronoun joke. I was like, hold up. That doesn't make sense. 01:32:00Let's talk about this. I am proud of being able to handle and have those difficult conversations, whether it's about sexuality, gender, or race. I think that is something outside of Covid that I will always remember for summer and fall of 2020.

TEM: It's so interesting that you said that. I wrote, I don't remember what week it was. I have post-it notes all over the kingdom that I survey that is my bedroom. I remember writing something down in our class one of the weeks about the importance of language and I think that, and the words that we use and being able to communicate and have discussions but also being so thoughtful and aware 01:33:00of the impact of those words and the importance of, well the importance of words. As someone who has done a lot of interviews related to gender for the Hops and Brewing Archive, I have felt more courageous asking questions and have felt like my narrators have been more courageous in answering questions in the past several months. I don't know why that is. I don't know if it's a result of being here in our spaces that we, because I'm not in somebody else's space. I'm in my space that I don't know if that is a facet of it. It's interesting that you bring that up, Teresa, because I've been thinking about those things, too, and hoping that that's something that is a through line. Anda you're the last one that we haven't heard from. Again, no pressure to go, but if you want the 01:34:00time or the space to reflect on those things from the summer, please I invite you to.

AG: Yeah, I guess unfortunately don't have as much to share as everyone else. In terms of the Black Lives Matter movement, I was definitely very much in support of it but for safety concerns it was not something that my mom really preferred for me to engage in physically, especially because I live in Portland and at that time there was definitely a lot of unrest and tension between the protestors and law enforcement. It didn't feel like the best choice for myself, but I did have a lot of friends who went and I got to see a lot of the pictures and the videos and stuff and some of them were really heartwarming in a weird way, because it's not for a reason that you would like to see a lot of people gathering at this point of time. You would feel like we are so advanced in 2020 01:35:00and really looking back we're really not. That was that. I did have, though, a lot of conversations in my family and I guess in a way I'm fortunate that my family shares very similar political views. We're all fairly liberal, more or less, some of us, but it was nice to have those conversations with people and within our family, friend circles.

In terms of the election stuff, again we were all pretty much on the same page and lots of my friends share similar views. There was not a lot of conflict that came up, but looking back I was definitely very soft spoken before summer 2020 and as I saw a lot of my friends talking about things and my family getting more involved it gave me the push I needed to express my own views and my own feelings and have those conversations, even if they were pretty similar. It just 01:36:00felt good to get my opinions off of my chest and into the world. With the fires, I, gosh, I have the worst memory. I think I was in Corvallis when the fires were happening. I think it was the end of August that I moved into the dorms for training, which was a month long for the ALA position. I just remember feeling really isolated because in Corvallis it was pretty bad for a week or so, two weeks maybe. I don't remember how long it lasted. Going outside and going on walks and having picnics was like the only thing I could do at those points, since I couldn't see the other ALAs on campus and RAs hadn't moved in yet. Then with the fires I couldn't go outside anymore, so it was just kind of me stuck in my room. Or if I had to go get food from the dining hall, I'd run with my N95 mask on which made it hard to breathe and with the smoke was even harder. That 01:37:00was me in Corvallis. In terms of my family, they lived in Portland and they weren't really affected by the fires more than just the smoke, which we were really fortunate to I guess not have to evacuate and not have to worry about that. Yeah, I guess that's my experience with those aspects of the summer.

TEM: It's been a lot. As I do with my other interviews, I will end by thanking you all on the recording for sharing your stories and for engaging this whole term in our class. It's been wonderful. I will speak for Chris, too, and say it's been wonderful for us. I'm going to hit stop.