By Madison Rupp

“My name is Madison Rupp. I am a college student, studying at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and COVID-19 has changed my life.”

This year began like any other, filled with new year’s resolutions and a hopeful beginning. There were reports of COVID-19 appearing in the news, although they didn’t feel quite real yet. I never imagined that my life would change in such drastic ways, let alone the lives of millions across the globe would too. This is not just an issue I can watch unfold and develop, but one that I can personally feel the impact of. COVID-19 has affected my social life and support system, my future travel plans, my education, and my job.

One of the challenges I have faced has been the maintenance of my social life and connecting with my support system. My family and close friends are a very important part of my life. Before the start of COVID-19, I was able to visit my friends and family living out of town regularly. Over the last few months, I have not been able to do this at all.

COVID-19 has also affected my upcoming travel plans. This summer I was supposed to take a trip to Grand Cayman Island, a trip that I have been looking forward to for months. I even bought a new passport only weeks before we found out just how bad COVID-19 was becoming. Some of my boyfriend’s family lives there, and it would have been my first time meeting them. Now we have had to postpone our plans until travel is safe, possibly as late as next summer.

I have also had to work the transformations happening in education. I have always enjoyed taking my college courses on-campus, so the idea of switching to online classes was devastating to me. I appreciate the in-person interaction of a classroom and being able to meet with my instructors face-to-face. Going online, I have had to adapt to interacting and participating in my courses in new ways. Now, I check my email almost hourly, spend time learning new technology like Zoom, and watch video lectures or participate in class discussions instead of meeting in the classroom.

COVID-19 has also had an impact on my ability to work. Last fall, I started a job at UWS as a Yellowjacket Union desk assistant, something I was very excited about. Not only did it allow me to make an income while I was in school, but it made me feel connected to the campus as well. Unfortunately, this is no longer something I can do. My life has changed, and I no longer have a job; however, my bills and costs of living are still the same. Without a job, making ends meet has been difficult.

COVID-19 has been the most rapidly changing and life-altering experience I have ever lived through. It has created challenging obstacles in my life and leaves me feeling uncertain about the future. Throughout the pandemic, I have struggled in ways I have never experienced before. I have had to make changes in my social life and in the ways I connect with my support system, while also altering future travel plans, my education, and my job.