Our Readers Share – James Mann: UW-W Student Reflects on the Changes in the Last Semester of His College Career
Amidst the largest pandemic in recent history, you get to observe how many different facets of life are impacted. These changes can come in the form of closures, supply demands, or other adjustments to regular life. This pandemic also impacts different groups of people separately in ways of resources and opportunities. One institution that I have seen take action personally is our local University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. Being a fourth year student ready to graduate in the Spring, my semester has changed drastically from what was expected at the beginning of the year.
Our 2020 Spring Commencement Ceremony, it has been announced, will take place online instead of in person, the rest of the semester has been changed to alternative learning, the internship I was on track to complete during the Summer for my major is still in the air whether students will be placed in field or not, and there are many aspects of college that I wasn’t affected by. There were many more students on campus who were living in dorms and had to move out prematurely as they closed the halls. Even more students were working on campus with jobs throughout the University that had to leave their jobs. I was among the lucky few who was living off campus and had access to working online for my job on campus.
Despite all that is getting canceled and changed, I am not upset. I feel as though I may be in the minority in my opinion among my peers, but I fully believe that the University’s actions are for the best in the grand scheme of things. Their decision to close dorm halls, move as many students and staff off campus as possible, and move commencement online are just a few of the choices they have made to try and lessen the impact of the Coronavirus. In uncertain times like these, I believe that it is best to err on the side of caution and not take any unnecessary risks. That ideal extends to the greater area of the county, the state, the country and even the world. With what we do and do not know about this virus, every arrow is pointing towards self-isolation if possible, and limited contact and personal protective equipment if not possible. At the time of writing this, according to the CDC, the current infection count in the United States is 1,092,815 and the death total reaching 64,283. It isn’t the responsibility of just large businesses or governments to try and limit the spread of this virus; it is the responsibility of every person in the world. This issue isn’t going to disappear overnight and even when we have a vaccine, it will still take time for the world to recover from it. The best thing that small, medium and large entities can do is try to help stop the spread any way they can. Our University has done just that. They have made the difficult choices and they are trying to make this situation as manageable as they can and for that, I give them the credit they deserve. This is a global effort and we are all in this together.
— Our thanks to James Mann for sharing his perspective on the major changes to UW-W during these final months of his undergraduate studies. Mr. Mann is double majoring in social work and psychology. His hometown is Benton, WI, in Lafayette County in the far southwestern corner of the state. He plans to attend UW-Madison next year in pursuit of a Masters of Social Work.
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