The Snapper team recently collaborated to give our readers a taste of what our new virtual reality looks like. Dr. Wubah announced through an email on March 11th that Millersville University would start to transition to all remote courses starting on March 23rd. In this historic moment in our history, our acting editors and manager have documented what their daily lives currently look like since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Jared Hameloth (Editor in Chief): It’s hard to write something about how my world has changed since classes went fully online. Whose life hasn’t been completely uprooted or doesn’t feel completely foreign right now? There’s so much to complain about because a lot of things suck. But since it’s been well over a month since we left school for the rest of the semester, I’ve had time to reorient myself and reflect a little. I miss seeing all my friends at college twice a week, and I especially miss working with the Snapper crew on layouts for the paper. I never realized how much I actually like learning in a classroom environment and how it kept me on top of my classwork. It’s hard to believe that the end of the semester is so soon. But online classes have also given me a lot more time at home, (obviously) which is also something I missed. During the semester, even though I commute from home, I never really feel like I have a lot of downtime—it’s either spent doing school work or just catching up on chores. But now I have more time home with my sisters where we can play Animal Crossing or run around outside with our dogs. So it’s definitely a mixed bag of emotions all around; I’m excited for the day that I can see my friends in person again.
Julia Walters (Managing Editor): The world looks so different for all of us in such a small amount of time. I am currently still at my Millersville apartment creating a plethora of to-do lists for online assignments and still feeling like I’m drowning in never-ending D2L submissions. I barely leave my house, barely see anyone, and have almost become nocturnal, not sleeping until 5 or 6 in the morning. As a graduating senior, my semester was not supposed to look like this. It took a long time to accept that this was my new normal and that I would never sit in another Millersville classroom, go to work at the University Store or work at the Snapper with my team in person ever again. For a significant length of time, I simply mourned the loss of my life. I got extremely behind on every class I have because I didn’t have the will to even look at them. It sounds silly when so many people are in ridiculously worse conditions. Since then, I’ve gotten my act together because I know that graduating in good standing is important to me. For anyone who is still struggling with this new chapter in our lives, I see you and I am here with you. Of course it could always be worse and it’s important to remember that. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to feel pain and grieve a little bit. I am grateful for the health of my family and my friends and that I have things like internet access, food delivery, Netflix, and all the other modern amenities. But I also miss my classrooms. I miss my job. I miss going out into Lancaster City. I miss college. I miss my old life. I was prepared to feel this way upon graduation, but I never expected it to happen so suddenly and before I could prepare myself. While I am in mourning, I am continually looking toward the future. Let’s stick together and get through this precarious time so we can see the other side…no matter who you are, whether a graduating senior, still in the middle of your schooling, a professor, an essential worker, it doesn’t matter. The future’s still bright.
Colin Vanden Berg (Head Copy Editor): As I commute from home, my school life hasn’t changed as drastically as those living on campus. I’m not seeing my immediate family any more or less than before, for instance. However, not having the twice-weekly bus trip to campus has taken a lot of much-needed structure from my life. I spend a lot more time with my cats to calm me, but the drive to get work done has been harder to find. It used to be a lot easier than it is now to put down the video games. Also, not seeing friends in person anymore has been rough. I’m waking up late a lot more often, which is a double-edged sword. My parents make sure we have all the essentials, so the apparent shortages don’t affect us as often. Learning Zoom has been an adjustment, and it’s very fortunate that I needed a working microphone for a class this semester. By this time I’d probably be a lot more engaged in setting up my schedule for next semester, but it’s just been easier to prioritize school stuff.
Sydney Clark (Features Editor): Like many college students, my life has drastically changed since the United States started taking COVID-19 more seriously. The biggest adjustment that I’ve had to deal with is switching to online classes. By not physically going to class, it seems all of my motivation to do anything has gone away. Without structure, my participation is low, my grades have dropped, and I’m continuing to struggle to stay focused on any kind of school work. I liked being able to separate class from home and I hate not having that option now. I normally keep to myself and wasn’t one to participate in any kind of college activities or clubs. Against my usual traditions, I joined The Snapper last year and it became a major part of my life. I miss Tuesday night layouts, the friends I’ve made there, and having something to look forward to every week. Many from The Snapper are graduating next month, and I’m sad that I’ve worked with them in the office for the last time. My work life has also changed substantially. Although they had the option to stay open and continue selling food for takeout, the restaurant decided to close for the foreseeable future. I miss the structure of going to work and I miss my work friends. I even miss getting sassy remarks from customers who didn’t get enough Nutella with their crepe. This is certainly a time where everyone needs to adapt to different situations, but I genuinely wish I wasn’t a student during all of this.
Carly O’Neill (Associate Features Editor): Recently daily life in West Chester has been abiding by the government mandated shutdown guidelines that have been in effect for over five weeks now. Anytime I leave my house for essentials at the grocery store or to go hiking at a nearby nature preserve, I run through a checklist in my head. “Do I have hand sanitizer? Check! Do I have a mask? Check! Do I have disposable gloves? Also check!” Now all my university courses are online and my bedroom has become my new classroom. I was supposed to be taking these classes abroad this semester and studying in Paris, but now all my French lessons are over zoom and not nearly as effective. The hardest part for me since quarantine started has been finding and keeping up my motivation levels. Focusing on school work is becoming more difficult than ever and trying to keep up consistently writing for The Snapper and my future blog that I plan to start just isn’t the same. I feel like I still have the same passion to write, just no drive to follow it through as frequently as I used to. I’ve found that my sleep schedule has also become all over the place. I stay up until 3 a.m. and sleep until 11:30 a.m. when I’m not getting up earlier for classes. Lately for any sort of social interaction besides within my immediate family, I have to maintain a virtual relationship through FaceTime with my boyfriend and my friends. Basically my life is just a constant battle to keep my mind preoccupied and power through quarantine day by day. The one positive that has come out of all of this and reminded me to enjoy living in the moment more, is the quality time that I now get to spend with my brother and my dad’s. Whether it’s joining each other every night for family dinners or laughing and dancing around the kitchen together, I am extremely grateful for my family.
Jake Markoff (Associate Features Editor): I’ve spent a great deal of time in self-isolation before COVID-19, due to depression that I struggled with in the past. Being in quarantine makes it a lot easier to slip back into bad habits, like staying up late, sleeping in for twelve or more hours, skipping workouts, and having a weird meal schedule where you might not eat until 6 p.m. All of those things also make self-motivating more difficult when you feel like you may be slipping into a bad mental state, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s much easier to miss online assignments, a few quizzes have gone up and down without me noticing until I get a grade update saying I didn’t take them. Some assignments just seem like a waste of time on the discussion boards to simulate being in a physical classroom.
Jared Kish (Sports Editor): As many of our lives change and we get adjusted to the online world for classes and zoom happy hour with friends, we as a society have come to the realization that our normal way of life has been drastically halted due to COVID-19. Being a college senior such as myself, it’s been hard to come to grips with everything. My graduation which was originally scheduled to take place on my 23rd birthday, has been postponed and quite frankly, with just under three weeks to go in the semester, morale has been low. Week after week finding the motivation to handle a full course load online is not my cup of tea. I’ve always taken one or two online courses in a semester, but now being forced into taking all five has not suited me well. It’s easy to harp on the negative through this unprecedented time, but I’m going to shine some light on the positive now. One big takeaway we need to all embrace from this is how fortunate a lot of us are to be surrounded by our family and have a roof over our heads. Appreciate the little things we have and be grateful, that is the biggest point of emphasis here. We will get through this and there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Us Americans need to put aside our political differences, forget about buying toilet paper when you have 30 rolls in your basement, and be appreciative of our family, each other, and waking up six feet above the ground every morning. We will beat this and come out stronger. A sense of normalcy will slowly start to come back, but until then, we all need to do our part!
Brian Markley (Associate Sports Editor): Unlike many others, I can say my life has remained relatively unchanged throughout this whole situation. I’m considered an essential worker, as I am a part of the food industry, so I still am able to work roughly 30 hours a week, which I am incredibly grateful for. There are some new procedures, like taking everyone’s temperature as they enter the building, along with masks being required, but work has preserved a sense of normality in my life. Quarantine has made me appreciate normal life more. I’ve always preferred to be alone and do things on my own, but one can only take so much of themselves. Quarantine has also hindered my writing, as my main writing passion, sports, has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. I’ve dabbled more into writing about music, something that I also have a lot of passion for. There is a uniform sense of depression in everyone, but I truly believe that this will better us as humans and as a society once it is safe to resume normal life again. It is a truly unique time to be alive.
Caleb Wolfe (Associate Sports Editor): While I rarely left my apartment prior to the outbreak, and believed I would be well suited for the lockdown lifestyle, the boredom of quarantine has quickly set in. I mostly miss seeing my family as often as I used to. However, the overwhelming fear of spreading the virus to older members of my family keeps me in isolation. Thankfully I have roommates and my dog keeping me social and preventing the otherwise imminent loneliness. During this time I have live-streamed an unhealthy amount of video games, as doing so provides an additional connection to people I normally wouldn’t have while quarantined. Streaming has also provided a means of income (though meager) during a time where I am unable to work. After the university campus shut down I have struggled with my schoolwork. I had never enrolled in an online class before and quickly learned that it’s a setting I don’t succeed in. It’s adding another daily stress to go alongside the current pandemic. Regardless, I’m trying to learn how to self motivate and improve my ability to learn online.
Josh Rittberg (Arts and Culture Editor): My life during this time has certainly been an adjustment. I did not expect to be home at this time, but I am trying to make the best of it. My whole family has had to adjust. We have had to order groceries online, which we’ve been trying to do only two weeks at a time. That means we may not even have fresh fruit 100 percent of the time. When it is there though I just appreciate it now even more. I have learned during this time to embrace life’s little gifts. I am much more grateful for my family and friends at this time, as I honestly do not know how I would get through this without them. Online classes have taken some time to get used to. I miss being in class and getting to learn face-to-face from our instructors, but I am also appreciating the self advocacy we get from the more independent online format. This is my last semester and some days it is hard not spending it on campus, but at the same time I just feel lucky at this point to still be safe and healthy. Most of all I am grateful to be spending it with my family with a roof over our heads.
Rachel Laughlin (Associate Arts and Culture Editor): As a fellow graduating senior, losing graduation, and being forced to cancel last-chance presentations and conferences was excruciating. My junior and senior years at Millersville had been overwhelming. I’ve been absolutely crammed with assignments, deadlines, projects, club activities, resume-building activities, an internship, research, and my undergraduate thesis; just to name a few! With the entire state on lockdown, many of my extracurricular activities came to a screeching halt. With the lack of freedom came the easing of my schedule. I was fortunate enough that the majority of my final courses were project or assignment-based and didn’t involve cramming for exams or configuring labs. I was also fortunate enough to be an introvert, so the absence of people came as more of a relief than a curse. Now, instead of fitting in assignments between shifts at work and evening club activities, I have time to do yoga in the mornings and pace myself throughout my day. While the thought of being trapped here indefinitely does nothing for my mental state, once I move past that and focus on assignments and wrapping up other projects for the end of the year, my life gets exceptionally easier. I have learned to become content with the way things are.
Holdan Hitchcock (Business Manager): At the time of writing this it has been 34 days under quarantine. In those 34 days I’ve been out in public once. I wore gloves, and a makeshift mask out of an old t-shirt. Bizarre is the perfect word to describe the experience, like I was in some Black Mirror episode. I wish I could tell you that I’m being ambitious and productive under this statewide lockdown. Sadly, I’m far away from productivity. Unless you call re-watching all of New Girl and all of Psych as being productive. All of my classes have moved to asynchronous learning, so all of my assignments are due every Sunday at 11:59 p.m., and of course I don’t do it until Sunday morning, I chalk it up to being a human being who hasn’t left the house in 34 days. I’ve reverted back to my 12 year-old self, in which I go to bed at 3:00 a.m. and wake up at noon everyday, and my diet only consists of Fruity Pebbles. This spring semester is my first semester as a student of Millersville University. My first semester of the “college experience” after taking a semester off of school after finishing community college in Pittsburgh. At the beginning of the semester I promised myself not to waste a second of it and I’ve had a sense of ambition and motivation (before I became lazy in lockdown) that I had never had before. I made plenty of friends, joined The Snapper as the acting Business Manager, and got a job at Chili’s as a host. I was really happy with the way things were going in life before COVID-19. I miss saying, “Welcome to Chili’s!” I miss our meetings with The Snapper that always ran too long because we are all children when we are together. I miss playing Pool with my friends Brent, Justin and Miles. I miss going to the gym with Jake, Kat, and Julia. I miss Millersville University.
Shaun Lucas (Opinion Editor): I feel like the whole worldwide shut down has made these numerous weeks feel dragging and bizarre. I think anyone can understand that drastically shifting your own schedule leads to a lot of weird consequences. The biggest result I hear from others, which I completely relate to, is the change in sleep schedule. I’ve become one of those hermits who sleeps in much later than he really should. It’s just difficult to keep up the work ethic from physical schooling and use it for online work. I miss the satisfaction of walking to and attending classes. I also feel like I obtained my class information way better through face-to-face lectures, rather than videos and emails. I completely get the change is hard on professors and I think mine are doing a phenomenal job with what they’ve been given. Deadlines seem to sneak up a lot quicker than during my first semester at MU. I know college in general is about self-pacing, but again it’s difficult to be consistently motivated when home distractions are present. Fortunately, the one big benefit of all this is I’ve had more time to spend with my family. My mom’s a teacher who has to teach online to elementary school kids, which from what I’ve gathered is as tedious as it sounds. My mom’s been super appreciative of the help my brother and I have been able to give her. My biggest fear at this point is the legitimate possibility quarantine extends beyond the summer, leading to another semester of online classes. I’m sorry to those who enjoy online classes, but for me online learning is on-campus learning without all the things I loved about learning at MU. I no longer get to interact with amazing people at The Snapper, my classes, band, or the Smash Bros tournaments. I miss the SMC, the Snapper office, the Upper Deck (the health bar actually made amazing dishes), the HUB, the pond, even just my dorm. I miss MU so much, much more than I thought I would upon packing stuff to go home for spring break. I’ll try to stay motivated, but I’m certainly fearful of the months ahead of us.