By Mackenzie Ullmer, Alyssa DeKeyser, & Indiana Schilz
Thanks to the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a year like never before. Like the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB), college campuses were forced to create new ways for students to learn and interact. Of course, with new experiences and innovation comes the opportunity to learn. UWGB students and staff have learned countless life lessons, skills, and new ways of doing things they will take with them far beyond this COVID-19 environment.
Kelly Krebsbach, a senior studying communication at UWGB, had to make several changes to her day-to-day routine when the pandemic hit. “Instead of having in-person classes, I’ve had to go mostly online in the fall semester (with one class being in-person) and now, in the spring semester, to being fully online.” With all of this change, Krebsbach learned a bit while learning to adjust to her new “normal.” “One skill that I’ve developed since the pandemic that I will use in the future is how to adapt to change. There were so many changes that happened within the past year and, we had no choice but to adapt to those changes. I also developed more skills in meeting virtually. I did not use Teams, Zoom, or any other virtual meeting program before the pandemic. Still, I used them a lot during the pandemic.” Overall, Krebsbach says her biggest takeaway from the ongoing pandemic is to “take time for yourself.” She adds that the pandemic is a stressful time. Still, it also leaves the opportunity for most “people to take time for themselves and focus on what they want.”
Katie Turkiewicz, an associate professor of communication and information science at UWGB, has also learned valuable lessons from the pandemic. Compared to life before COVID-19, she spends much more time in front of a screen in her home office, seeing that she has been lecturing from home for over a year. “I don’t hate it, but I don’t think it’s been a great experience either. It has made me eager to get back in the classroom this fall,” Turkiewicz reflects. She adds, “As a faculty member, my tenure here is much longer than any student, so I do not see this as a ‘lost year.’ However, I completely understand why some students would feel this way. Going through this as a campus community has shown me how compassionate, resilient, and professional all my colleagues here at UWGB are. And for that, I am grateful.”