How COVID-19 changed my life

Joshua Labbe, Guest Columnist

It is incredible to see how drastically my life and plans have changed with the blink of an eye.

In the final semester of my undergraduate studies, there were so many things to look forward to. I was conducting research for my Honors Thesis to present at the Honors Thesis Symposium. I had begun MCAT preparation so that I could apply to medical school and pursue my dream of becoming a physician. Commencement was only two months away and I had planned a Mediterranean cruise with my partner, who is also graduating this semester, to celebrate our achievement.

COVID-19 changed everything.

Now, I have had to transition my Honors Thesis research from a lab-intensive project to a literature review format. I not only had to change the topic of my thesis, but also throw out the majority of benchwork I had done for the last couple of months.

Courtesy of Joshua Labbe

My MCAT test date was postponed with no certainty on when I would be able to take it, bringing uncertainty to my application timeline for medical school.

Commencement has moved online. The celebration of mine and my classmates’ academic achievement now would consist of a slide with a picture of us.

That Mediterranean cruise I was so looking forward to has been canceled.

This is hardly what I had looked forward to four years ago when I began my undergraduate studies. However, this experience has not been all bad.

My graduation from the Honors College is something I am greatly looking forward to. The Honors College has decided to move their graduation ceremony online via a Microsoft teams meeting where we will each receive our awards live.

We had a practice session a couple of weeks ago and we all had a blast. The support from the Honors College during this time has been incredible.

The transition to online classes has been challenging, but a great learning opportunity.
I had been very successful in my studies at UW Oshkosh thus far and feared that moving my courses online would threaten this trend. However, this was not the case. My professors at UW Oshkosh made the transition as smooth as possible.

As a biology major, I do find that the content in most of these classes is better suited for a brick-and-mortar setting. Many of my lab courses have taken a more lecture-based or module approach. Some material had to be cut and assignments had to be adjusted.
Although this is not ideal, I am happy that I can continue completing my classes and earn my degree.

The stay at home order has given me plenty of time to work on my studies, pick up hobbies and stay in contact with friends. I spend a lot of time chatting with friends over Discord. It has definitely made this time easier.

I also have been live streaming on twitch. This has given me a creative outlet to distract me from the fact that I am stuck at home.

I find that frequent breaks from studying and homework are needed while doing schoolwork from home. Plenty of coffee is a must as well.

Although these times are gloom, I have found joy in the little things. I am glad that my education did not come to a halt and I am incredibly grateful for the hard work my professors have had to put in during this transition.

Although many of the things I was looking forward to have been canceled or changed, things could be worse. I will still graduate, and I will still pursue my dreams of becoming a physician.

I have found that looking forward is the best piece of advice I have for staying motivated and healthy during these times.