Editor's note: This is part of a contributed collection of students and faculty experience with COVID-19.
Mel Burzlaff, a junior studying interior design, makes finding joy and creating structure priorities as she finishes up the spring semester turned upside down by a global pandemic.
“After 40 days of quarantine, it is still weird to me. I’m pretty sad about not being able to see friends,” Burzlaff said.
Burzlaff’s work week is still filled with classwork and logging in hours for the Iowa State University admissions call center she works for remotely.
Since classes were restructured for a virtual format, her commitments help keep a routine while she works from her rented home in Ames.
“My work schedule changed how I attack my everyday,” Burzlaff said.
Working from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Burzlaff starts her day early doing homework when she isn’t taking any calls. With extra time she has had Burzlaff has learned how to ripstick, which is an activity similar to rollerblading and skateboarding.
“I’ve been spending lots of time outside, it helps me find joy in the day," Burzlaff said.
Burzlaff admitted she misses when classes were on campus.
“I’ve been to campus twice, in early April, people flooded it. Cops running around telling people to stay six feet apart," Burzlaff said. "It filled me with happiness because it felt normal.”
While the semester was coming to an end, Burzlaff was stressing about not yet securing an internship position, which was a graduation requirement she needed to fill.
Though she had begun her search in February, the chaos COVID-19 had created left many businesses she was interested in to pull their internship altogether. Before COVID-19 had made much of an impact on the U.S., Burzlaff had been more selective in who she sent her application to, choosing more prestigious business.
After the fact, she altered her application process to more local opportunities. She secured an internship a few weeks before the semester's end. A lucky feat considering Burzlaff heard from a department member that 30 out of the 60 students in her program and class had no internship secured and needed accommodations to be made.