Something Lost, Something Gained: Students reflect on a year of COVID part 3

Josh Meredith and Shelby Clark

March marks one year since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. As of this week, over 551,000 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19.  Despite the devastation the pandemic caused, many found something they didn’t have before. This is the third in a three-part series focusing on what students lost and gained over a tumultuous year. 


Ryan Shields, a freshman civil engineering major. (Photo by: Josh Meredith )

Something lost: friendships 

“I’ve lost ties to old friends because we weren’t able to hang out because of quarantine, then we kind of drifted apart. It felt weird losing a couple of my friends that I thought were the day-ones. It’s easier at college to make new friends than quarantine at highschool.”


Something gained: cooking skills and time with family 

“I did learn how to cook, I felt that I had to because we weren’t able to go out and get food.  My dad would have mandatory dinner nights and game nights just to make sure we weren’t sitting there doing nothing”


Hannah Nurrenbern, a freshman nursing major. (Photo by: Shelby Clark )


Something lost: friendship 

“You can’t meet up with anybody and here you can’t really meet up with people just because that’s the way everything is with COVID. You just kind of lose the social aspect. Because our classes aren’t in person, you’re not in class with the same people for a whole semester.” 


Something gained: Stronger bonds 

“I guess the friendships that I do have gotten stronger. Just because you lean on those people. Because you have more time for yourself, I was able to work on myself. It made everybody realize their values. I think that’s why relationships have either grown far or grown shorter because they realize not everyone’s gonna be there.” 


Loren Baunberger, a senior history major. (Photo by: Shelby Clark )


Something lost: classroom experience 

“Going into education, I’ve lost a lot of the ability to learn about the profession that I’m looking into. Just because now, after COVID, we haven’t been able to go into schools or anything like that, and a lot of the education programs have had to change due to that. So, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of the experience of really being in the classroom and learning about that sort of stuff. I just feel sort of unprepared, not necessarily due to the education program doing anything, it’s just COVID-19 is just completely new.” 


Something gained: flexibility with online classes

“Because I work a lot, having classes like online was really helpful for me. I think because it gave me more flexibility to do coursework when necessary. I know for a lot of people that it was really difficult, especially for freshmen who didn’t really know,  but because I’ve had the previous experience, it was actually a lot easier to do stuff online.” 



Andrew Rohloff, a freshman mathematics major. (Photo by: Josh Meredith)


Something lost: college experience 

“I haven’t been able to meet as many people and experience what college is as a freshman. I hope that it changes soon, it’s just tough.”


Something gained: self-awareness

“I’m taking care of my overall mental health. I’ve been trying to grow myself as a person. I have more time to myself so I’m able to think about how to solve my problems.”



Claire Woolsey, a junior biology major. (Photo by: Josh Meredith)


Something lost: social motivation 

“I’ve never been a social butterfly by any means but I feel like it’s given me another excuse not to get out and meet people, why risk extra exposure?”


Something gained: technical ability

“I’ve learned how to use zoom. before the pandemic, I never used it once. I like zoom to a point. I like it when I’m using it for something enjoyable. Halfway through our initial quarantine period me and some of my friends would have little zoom sessions because we didn’t want to go to each other’s houses. If you’re using it for classes, day after day, it gets very old, very fast”


Becca Coenig, a sophomore biochemistry major. (Photo by: Shelby Clark )


Something lost: learning opportunity 

“I feel like I haven’t had as much as an opportunity to learn. Teachers did a great job orienting to online, but I still feel like there’s, especially with my major, that there could have been some stuff that I missed out on as well as the social aspect of living on campus. Last spring semester, Spring 2020, was tough.” 


Something gained: Awareness 

“Sometimes there’s outside influences that you can’t really control, so more awareness of others. Be aware of other people and try to do the best to help the community.” 


Sarah Hannesson, a junior history major. (Photo by: Shelby Clark )


Something lost: stability 

“We were just kind of like thrust out of housing, and I ended up almost being homeless for a while. I was living in different people’s houses and that was very hard to adjust to such a movement. Again, still with COVID, I’m facing housing issues not being able to have places to go. It’s made me feel desperate and lost because your whole world turned upside down with COVID. You have a place, you’re safe, and then suddenly everything’s gone.” 


Something gained: friendships 

“A lot of connecting and finding people like good people that you want to spend time with. And that’s when you figure out when times of struggle, people you can hang out with. I mean, it’s just finding friendships and figuring out how to be.” 


Cody Gawthorp, a junior business admin major. (Photo by: Josh Meredith)



Something lost: time with friends

“It’s been so long that we’ve been able to hang out it feels foreign, In my first couple years at college I used to hang out with my friends almost every day, we’d go out to eat or we would just drive somewhere. We really haven’t been able to hang out as much. Some of my friends have been stuck at home or now they have to work more because they’ve been off for work for so many months.”


Something gained: trade skills 

“We have a carpenter that’s been coming to my house because it’s being renovated and he showed me how to do some things. Before last year I was really bad at construction, but now I’m fairly confident I could make an entire stud wall if I had to. It’s a lot to process but it’s been fun.”