Commuter Student Perspective on University Changes


Title (Dublin Core)

Commuter Student Perspective on University Changes
Chelsea Osorio Oral History, 2021/11/11

Description (Dublin Core)

Chelsea Osorio is a commuter student at St. Mary’s University and among the many personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In her interview she highlights key points about what changes she noticed around the university that were used to protect our community. From a student perspective, she explains how safe she felt at school, especially with all the guidelines that were put in place. This goes to show how St. Mary’s students, faculty, and staff were committed to ensuring not only a healthy online environment but also making sure we returned to a safe and healthy community.

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Type (Dublin Core)

Audio Interview

Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

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Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Grace Ibarra

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Chelsea Osorio

abstract (Bibliographic Ontology)

Chelsea Osorio is a sophomore at St. Mary’s University. She highlights key points about what changes she noticed around the university that were used to protect its community. From a student perspective, she explains how safe she felt at school, especially with all the guidelines that were put in place.

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Grace Ibarra 00:02
Okay, please introduce yourself. Tell me your name, your major and minor, and your classification, and where you're from.

Chelsea Osorio 00:11
My name is Chelsea Osorio. My major is Criminology. I do not have a minor. And my classification is a sophomore.

Grace Ibarra 00:21
And so my second question would be, why did you choose to come to St. Mary's?

Chelsea Osorio 00:26
I chose to come to St. Mary's because it is a private university. And I don't know, I guess I had lots of, I had to face lots of adversity to even like, go to college. So I just decided to like, reach for the moon and then if I fall along stars, like, I'll be good with that, too. So I just decided to go to St. Mary's because it seemed the farthest opportunity possible, like I didn't think I was gonna be able to get in.

Grace Ibarra 00:57
Yeah, and so what, what, what has become your favorite thing about coming to school here?

Chelsea Osorio 01:03
What's become my favorite thing about coming to school here is probably just the community at St. Mary's like within the students and then also the professors I think everyone is super nice here, everyone is very understanding, and everyone wants everyone to succeed. So I never feel like there's this type of like ugly competition of like, Oh, I'm going to be better than you. It's like, Oh, hey, like, I have an internship, there's an open position, do you want it? Or Hey, you're doing great in my class, can you tutor other people? That type of thing It's always, it's always about like, super positive energy at St. Mary's, and I really like it.

Grace Ibarra 01:36
Yeah, for sure. And obviously, that was super affected by like, COVID-19 and the whole pandemic and getting sent home. And so how do you feel the university kind of handled that whole thing with, you know, sending us home and mask guidelines and social distancing and stuff like that?

Chelsea Osorio 01:55
That's gonna be like a two or three part answer. So I guess for the first one of sending us home, I think the university did a great job at just going ahead, and, you know, making the executive decision of keeping their students and their staff safe. And then they just decided to send everyone home. And then while we were online, I think they did a great job with letting us know that we can talk to whoever at any time, obviously, being at home, lots of you know, depression and anxiety spiked up, lots of people discovered that they have some mental health issues, that they have some issues studying, that they have test anxiety. You know, all the skills that they've learned, it just like became something completely different because you have to teach yourself how to learn again, when you're online. So then just the university offering themselves and making sure that, you know, they remind their students like, Hey, you are paying for counseling, and you are paying for therapy, make sure you use it. And then also the professors, I think they really did, like an excellent job at making sure that they told their students, Hey, if you need anything, let me know. If you need an extension, let me know; we can talk about everything. They're very compassionate, so that was really good, too. And then following, I guess, my third response, which would be the university mask guidelines. I feel pretty safe knowing that there's signs all over the place saying that, hey, like, you know, you still need to wear a mask. And you know, even though I personally don't need a sign to remind myself, I think it's still really nice that the university takes these precautions very seriously. You know, regardless if you're vaccinated or not, you know, you're still, you still have to wear your mask. And then also, everyone that comes to St. Mary's, whether it's staff or students, everyone just collectively agrees that we're going to respect each other and respect our spaces. And everyone continues to wear their masks everywhere that I see, so that's really good, too.

Grace Ibarra 03:52
Yeah, for sure. And so you mentioned that, you know, the dynamic changed completely. And so we had students realizing that they had mental health problems, and, you know, test anxiety, and sometimes they were dealing with personal problems, too, you know. COVID brought a really high death toll on a lot of us and, and so can you remember any specific things that your professors did in order to support students, and how effective do you think those were?

Chelsea Osorio 04:18
I guess, one of the things that I remember the professors doing that helped accommodate these students is probably you know, like, if you were diagnosed with COVID, or if you had someone who passed away from COVID, and you're having a hard time, all the professors that I had were very understanding with, Hey, this is the assignment for class if you don't feel like you can hang out during the Zoom and you can participate during discussions. not a problem. Go ahead and email me, and then we can get together some other time, or we can talk about these things some other time. I know with myself personally, I had COVID and it was pretty bad because I have asthma. So I did have to go to the like, ER and everything, and it was, it was not fun, but I was emailing my professors, and I was like, Hey, I can't turn this in, or I'm not going to be here today. And they were like, Oh my god, don't even worry about it, like, please focus on your health, and you know, we can pick up where we left off later. And I guess it was really good to like, just be reassured that, you know, I'm not just like my grades. I'm not just like, what I show academically, like I'm actually a person. And the professors are also people too, and they're very compassionate.

Grace Ibarra 05:28
Yeah, for sure. And we had, you know, all these new policies in place. And they actually changed every semester, so and they were tailored specifically for the new information that we learned. And so can you recall reading in any of your syllabi, and like, reading some of those attendance and mask policies, and what did you think about them?

Chelsea Osorio 05:49
I'm guessing one of the policies that really stood out to me, it was probably like no eating and drinking during class. The majority of my classes already didn't allow, you know, to eat or drink during class, but it was just like those necessities of like, having to do like, having to drink water, and stuff like that. I mean, I know, some of my professors would be like, Hey, like, if you actually need to take a drink, you have to step outside, or please try to refrain from doing that so that way, we can ensure that we all have our mask on at all times. And then another thing with the syllabus, I don't remember seeing much about the attendance like, it was it was pretty vague about the attendance policies because what if one of us has COVID, or we've been exposed to COVID? You know, the attendance policies in the syllabus that I had read, it was just like, make sure that you're here, and if you can't be here, then let us know. So in a way, it was more like subjective. Like, if you had to miss a class, you just had to talk to your professor. And, you know, they can be understanding of the situation, so that was good.

Grace Ibarra 06:46
Yeah. And so on to this kind of last question. Thinking about the university, you know, before and after, or quote, unquote, during the pandemic, what's one of the major changes that you noticed on campus or students or from faculty, just the, the biggest change, or the most major change that you noticed the most?

Chelsea Osorio 07:07
I guess the biggest change that I noticed the most is probably the fact that we take our health so seriously, now, whether it be for students, or it be for professors, you know, if professors start to feel any type of like, any, any feelings out of the usual, they will cancel class, and they will just go ahead and you know, they, they provide a more simple, self taught task or homework rather than being in, in the class and actually receiving a lecture. And although some of us might be like, Oh, yeah, like, we get to miss class or whatever, it does kind of like, it's kind of bad only because I do enjoy going to in person classes, and I do worry about my professors and their health. So it's kind of like, I'm glad that they're taking precautions, and we're taking our health more serious, even if it's a cold or if it’s the flu, or if it's COVID. Like, I feel like now we pay more attention to our bodies, and just the fact that we actually do need a rest. And that gives us time to, you know, get back and then rest, and then we can go back and then we can like, hit whatever we need to harder. So I think that's good that we focus more on our health this time around.

Grace Ibarra 08:18
Yeah, that's really interesting. Usually, we're just kind of told to push through it and come to class anyway. And both professors and students were kind of told to do that, and now, it's just so much more different. Yes, I really appreciate all your responses and the COVID archive thanks you as well as future researchers.

Chelsea Osorio 08:34
Thank you for interviewing me. I really appreciate being interviewed

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This item was submitted on November 28, 2021 by Grace Ibarra using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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