Advika Chaudhari and Matthew Bonfanti Oral History, 2021/09/23


Title (Dublin Core)

Advika Chaudhari and Matthew Bonfanti Oral History, 2021/09/23
COVID-19 Interview

Description (Dublin Core)

This is important because it provides the experience of students who had to adapt to several changes during the pandemic who may have had different experiences.

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

Creator (Dublin Core)

Contributor (Dublin Core)

Partner (Dublin Core)

Type (Dublin Core)

Audio Interview

Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)


Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Collection (Dublin Core)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Advika Chaudhari
Matthew Bonfanti

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Matthew Bonfanti
Advika Chaudhari

Location (Omeka Classic)

United States of America

Language (Dublin Core)


Duration (Omeka Classic)


abstract (Bibliographic Ontology)

Matthew and Advika take turns interviewing each other. They focus both on what their thoughts and emotions were during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Annotation (Omeka Classic)

Interview between Advika Chaudhari and Matthew Bonfanti 09/23/2021
Annotation by Amanda F. McCrary Smith 10/03/2021

Matthew states that the date is September 23rd, 2021. Advika Chaudhari states name and that it is 5:19 p.m. Matthew then asks, “do you give consent to be interviewed?”

Advika states, “yes, I do.”

Matthew asks, “When did you first see the pandemic as real issue and how did you react?”

Advika describes feeling like the pandemic was serious when it started to spread quickly and when shutdowns and quarantine began.

Matthew asks “How has the pandemic affected you or your family?”

Advika says that their family was not allowed to see their mother because of her job as a doctor. Advika says that their mom is the center of the family and because of fear of spreading it to the family, her mom had to spend time away from them and it was difficult.

Matthew asks, “What are some of the changes to your lifestyle that you made during the pandemic that you think will continue when it ends?”

Advika says that exercising was a healthy lifestyle change that will continue once the pandemic ends.

Advika says, “state your name and consent for the COVID-19 Archive project.”

Second person states name as Matthew Bonfanti (annotator's note: this is my best estimate on the last name). Matthew gives consent.

Advika asks, “What was your reaction after hearing about it spreading in China and did you think it would come to the U.S.?”

Matthew describes first hearing about the cases in China from father and did not care. But, then stated that their opinion changed when reminded that their sister visited China over winter break. Matthew also describes not thinking it would be a significant thing in the U.S. until schools closed.

Advika asks, “How did you do with remote learning, did you like it, how hard was it to adapt?”

Matthew describes not liking remote learning at all because their school changed the class schedule to add longer classes, which caused boredom in the spaces between classes. Matthew also notes that there was little motivation to do asynchronous work and that missing social interactions caused a lack of motivation to do well in school.

Advika asks, “Were you anxious or nervous at the peak of the pandemic and what about now?”

Matthew states that traveling on highways that were empty during the peak of the pandemic caused anxiety, but that they followed all the precautions and was vaccinated early on because of their job. Matthew says that they still continue to wear a mask and hand sanitize but there is much less anxiety and nervousness now.

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Matthew Bonfanti 00:02
So can you tell me the date and time and your name, please?

Advika Chaudhari 00:06
The date is September 23, 2021. And my name is Advika Chaudhari. And the time is 5:19.

Matthew Bonfanti 00:17
And do you give consent to be interviewed for the COVID-19 archive project?

Advika Chaudhari 00:21
Yeah, I do.

Matthew Bonfanti 00:24
Alright, so my first question is, when did you first see the pandemic as a real issue? And how did you react?

Advika Chaudhari 00:31
I first saw the pandemic as a real issue when COVID began spreading, like, really quickly around the US around March and school like shut down. And I heard about people that I knew who are contracting COVID and I saw, like the effect it had on everybody's lives, because during this time, like, all the stores were shut down, and no one was interacting with each other. And we were all in quarantine. So, yeah, it was like, scary to know that even though the symptoms of COVID weren't that bad, people were still dying from it. And yeah, it just like, I think people became nervous and anxious about contracting COVID and spreading it to people. So that was like the time where I saw COVID as like a real issue.

Matthew Bonfanti 01:19
Yeah. So my next question is how has the pandemic affected you or your family?

Advika Chaudhari 01:26
The pandemic had like a pretty big effect on my family, because my mom's a doctor. So she would have to like work long shifts at the hospital, and then she would treat like COVID positive patients. So during that time, like my family wasn't allowed to see her that, as much because like, she didn't want to risk passing the virus on to us if she was positive. And that was just hard on my family, because like my mom's kind of like the center of our household. But yeah, as the cases went down over time, I was able to see her more.

Matthew Bonfanti 02:02
All right, and then what are some quick changes to your lifestyle that you made during the pandemic, that you think you'll continue when it ends?

Advika Chaudhari 02:11
One of the changes I made to my lifestyle was exercising more, because during the pandemic, everyone was locked indoors, so I got bored, and I started looking for things to do. So I started exercising, which is like, a pretty healthy lifestyle change. And I know I'll continue to do that when it ends, too.

Matthew Bonfanti 02:33
All right, that's all I have for you.

Advika Chaudhari 02:35
Okay. So, can you state your name, and if you give consent to be interviewed for the COVID-19 archive project?

Matthew Bonfanti 02:52
My name is Matthew Bonfanti. And I do give consent.

Advika Chaudhari 02:56
Okay. So first question is, what was your reaction to the pandemic, after you heard about it spreading in China? And did you ever think it would come to the US and have the effects that we see today?

Matthew Bonfanti 03:11
Yeah, so I first heard about it when my dad, like read an article about it in like December, and I didn't really care, and he was like, maybe you should care because my sister visited China, like, over winter break. And she was kind of nervous that she might have had it because she, like had a cold, but she didn't get tested. And then it was just cold. So she was fine. But we didn't really know what the symptoms were anyway, so we weren't sure if it was an issue or not. And then, later on, like, I started spring CUS in March, we got like, the like, we got an extra day of school off before spring break started. Because the tea- [Audio cuts] needed to learn how to use Zoom. And we all thought it was kind of dumb, because we didn't really think that'd be a real issue. And we felt kind of, at least as I did, I felt kind of separated from China and then Europe. And I thought we'd be better off. And I'm not really sure I felt that way, or why I felt that way. But I did. I just generally figured it would blow over and not really be a real issue in the United States.

Advika Chaudhari 04:16
Yeah, that makes sense. How did you do with remote learning? Did you like it? And like, how hard was it to adapt to learning from home?

Matthew Bonfanti 04:28
I really did not like online learning because our school changed our schedules so our classes were longer. And then they were more spread out. So I kind of got bored in the downtime. And while I was in class, I found it really hard to focus and because they didn't want us like on Zoom all the time. We had a lot of asynchronous work, and I wasn't really motivated to do the work. So I kind of like lost motivation to do well in school. And aside from that, I didn't really like being at home because I miss seeing a lot of people every day like at school. And it was just kind of lonely doing school in my room. But I did like having extra time in the mornings because I could wake up later, instead of commuting to school. And I had more time to like during my lunch breaks, I could cook food downstairs. So it was mostly bad, but there was some good parts.

Advika Chaudhari 05:24
Yeah, I agree with that. Were you nervous or anxious during the peak of the pandemic or in April? And what about now?

Matthew Bonfanti 05:34
Yeah, so I was mostly nervous in March or like late March, because I was in Buffalo when the stay at home orders happened, and I live in Delaware. So I was visiting family, and my dad was like, Yeah, you can't really go out anymore. So I stayed for the weekend, and I drove home and the highways were like, completely empty. And like, it was just like, kind of like nervous like, when I was like pumping gas. I use hand sanitizer and stuff. But when I went out like grocery shopping and shopping and stuff, I wore my mask, like I washed my hands and stuff. So I kind of had an average reaction, I guess. But towards like, more recent times, I got my vaccine pretty early because of my job. And then I still wore my mask after that when we no longer had to, but towards summer I just stopped wearing it, didn't have to anymore. So I used to be pretty nervous, but now I'm not as nervous.

Advika Chaudhari 06:40
Yeah, it's the same thing for me too. Yeah, I think those are all the questions so…

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This item was submitted on September 23, 2021 by Advika Chaudhari using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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