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Ear to the Ground

Illustration of a bird on on the ground listening  with the words

It has been so wild living during a worldwide historic event – especially a pandemic. I am an independent, young student living on campus. When the school stopped in-person classes, the dorms told people that if they want to go home that they would be given pro-rated refunds. That was fascinating. Campus Housing has never expressed a tone or intention to give refunds to anyone. This includes employees and residents. A lot of people left. I had been hanging out with a new friend and we were monitoring the fascinating developments that were taking place. When he saw the offer to leave, he jumped at it. He was my only friend in my building.

Next, the school did something I never saw coming. First, I saw an email from an Undergraduate Student Government officer who was asking for signatures and endorsements on a petition to the school administration for a Pass/Fail option for all students. Next thing I know, the Office of the Provost lets us all know via email that we can elect to receive Credit or No Credit on our transcripts instead of traditional letter grades! This was for major classes too! You can pick that option for your whole schedule of courses if you want. This was a relief for sure.

Another crazy thing was that Spring Break was started early. I still can’t believe that Spring Break was two weeks at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Two weeks! And assignments and submissions of assignments were halted. This was good for me because during the entire two weeks I was recovering from strep throat. My tonsils swelled up so bad. Since I have no family to rely on, I was really going through it by myself. However, a faculty member encouraged me and my College gave me some financial help. They enrolled me in Campus Care when my expected source of health insurance failed.

I have unique challenges that can cause depressive episodes and anxiety. Being indoors all the time due to the shelter-in-place order does not help. I realized that I need to go on a walk every day. That walk that Governor Pritzker talked about is necessary for me. I usually use it to walk to Jewel Osco which is near me, however, I am nervous because I don’t have a mask and the store is full of people. I am just glad it is stocked at normal levels now.

I will say that not having to attend classes has given me some more free time. I just feel less structure though, and that can be bad. We are on our way to Finals Week, and I have so many group projects. I am proud about how I have become more technologically savvy using things like Zoom and voice recordings to communicate with my groups. In the corporate world they are also getting creative as they have to still keep in touch with their projects and work teams. This is practice for professionally responding to life getting crazy.