Keeping up in the quarantine

Photograph Courtesy of Kevin Leon

Ella LaFountain

As Ursinus College approaches its fourth week of online classes and the shutdown of campus, it seemed like a good time to catch up with some of the most well-known members of the UC community. 

During this time of quarantine, it is easy to get sucked into a social media spiral in which we see and assess what other people are up to. In many ways this can be a positive thing, as we can get ideas for new hobbies or recipes. However, in other ways this spiral can easily create a feeling of despair when one starts to compare themselves to others who might seem more productive during this time. Seeing that if this pandemic would have never happened, we would mostly be together, I decided that reaching out to Ursinus members to have a real conversation about what they are up to could bring readers at home a sense of familiarity, comfort and joy.

I reached out to some of Ursinus’ most well-known members including students, professors and deans via email and prompted them to share a little bit about how they are handling the pandemic and what they are doing to stay busy. Obviously, different members have different things going on in their lives, just like each person reading this, but each of these people shares something Grizzly readers can relate to – they are part of the UC community! I hope that seeing and hearing about how others are coping might provide readers with some new ideas for their days or just a better understanding/awareness of how the Ursinus Community is continuing to persevere through this traumatic time!  

To start, I’d like to shine some light on some graduating seniors. Their lives changed dramatically in many ways; however, Haley Sturla and Luke Nachazel did not let it get the best of them. Check out what they are up to below!

Haley Sturla: “So right now I accepted a full-time offer with a company that I currently intern for, in order to make some extra cash and to have job security I am interning with that company as well as taking classes at Ursinus. So one of the things is just going to meetings and doing work as a way to distract myself from the pandemic and to make me feel like I am accomplishing something while being stuck on a couch. When I start to go stir crazy, I typically go for a casual bike ride with my brother, take my dog for a walk with my dad, do yoga outside or break out the Wii Sports/Just Dance. Oh and of course I have been binge watching the Tiger King and All American.” 

Luke Nachazel: “After quickly packing up my dorm room and taking countless trips down the Reimert stairs, I had a very brief goodbye to Ursinus College. The next morning I proceed to drive 25 hours in a beat up Xterrra back to Colorado. Since I have been home and been in quarantine, I have watched the new season of Ozark as well as Tiger King, two very different shows. I went to the local high school and jogged a few laps on the track and thought my legs might fall off. I now realize how much easier it is to run when you’re surrounded by 40 other guys. I have been cooking some fun recipes and have failed at every baking attempt (I blame it on the elevation). I miss Ursinus every day and look forward to the next time I can enjoy a drink and some company in the Reimert Courtyard.”

Next, I talked to sophomore lacrosse player Christian Maienshein. He talks about his yearning to get back to school and his impressive ability to stay focused during this time. 

Christian Maienshein: “I’ve been dealing with the quarantine by staying in contact with my teammates as much as I can and taking advantage of the great weather in Erdenheim, PA. The lack of distractions has made it pretty easy to get schoolwork done, but there is nothing I’m looking forward to more than getting back on campus next semester.”

Lastly, let’s take a look at how some of our faculty are dealing with the changes. I checked in with Chemistry Professor Dr. Danielle Klein and Dean of Students Missy Bryant to see how they were dealing with all the changes. They are both hard at work for the Ursinus students but have some great advice and information for readers too!

Danielle Klein: “I have been working too hard!  What your email reminded me of is that I need to take breaks from my work and my news watching. More work is not better work. So I am going to be monitoring my time spent on work and make a focused effort to have some enjoyable activities planned as well. Some things that I enjoy doing is going for a run, but no time goals, just to stay healthy and get some different scenery. My kids and I are planning on doing some cooking together. We like to make banana chocolate chip muffins and this weekend will make a jello-cake for the holiday treat.

Hopefully you can write to encourage students, faculty, and staff to remember to take time for themselves. That it is not selfish and that it can improve productivity when you do work. You can set a timer to take 30 minutes for yourself. I also am going to be setting a timer for when work is finished in the evening.  I need to get to bed sooner so that I can wake up sooner, too.”

Missy Bryant: “In addition to my work on the Virus Task Force, I am lucky enough to be able to take walks on campus and enjoy the beauty it brings in the spring. (I have been joking that I am also doing free-lance photography for the Admission Instagram.) I have been running with Bear [her dog], taking Owen on a 5:00 PM walk daily, and enjoying Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I have to also begrudgingly disclose that I gave in and binge-watched Tiger King. I miss you all so much!”

Ursinus members continue to be resilient and strong during this hardship. The one thing each member interviewed had in common as for many others in the community is the love they have for Ursinus College and the pain that they are feeling by being away from campus. In closing, stay strong and go Bears!