Oral history: Coronavirus and Tulane students

Matt Grunstein is a senior at Tulane University. He is currently studying neuroscience and researching the effects of sports trauma on the brain. In this interview, he discussed the impacts of coronavirus on the Tulane Community.

Picture of Matt Grunstein, Interviewee

The coronavirus has had a major effect on our society. My oral history discusses how Tulane students specifically have been affected by the pandemic, and how they are adapting to the changes that have been made. This section has focused on the changes to academic life during this worrying time.

The discussion of the changes that we have made as a result of the pandemic is very interesting. The switch to online classes has not always been a smooth process, but for some, it has been easier than others. Tulane offers online classes during normal (on-campus) semesters. The interviewee, Matt, had an online class prior to the switch, which allowed him to have an easier transition than other students.

“That class (the online class) is absolutely the same. It continued through the whole Corona thing. So even when we had off from school, we still had our online stuff we had to do. But those classes are a lot different than the online classes that we’re taking now. A bunch of the curriculums for my other classes were changed. Instead of doing tests, there are essays and assignments, and, there’s no due date. There’s just 13 assignments. You just have to complete them before the end of the semester. It’s more hands off for that professor.”

Another interesting topic discussed in the interview was the change in social life as a result of the pandemic. We have all struggled with having to stay and work from home. For college students, this change can be much more drastic than for others. The change from living in a dormitory to living at home and the lack of access to people in your age group has been a difficult adjustment for many.  This was one point that Matt spoke about in-depth, and I believe is an important point. It highlights this change from the college perspective but can also be applied to many other perspectives having to do with the social changes we have encountered during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Well, yea so, I guess you’re not seeing your college friends anymore unless you live near them. But even if you live near them it doesn’t matter. I don’t see my home friends really because everyone is staying home, being safe, and trying to do the right thing to put an end to the spread of coronavirus. So I think it’s a lot different and you kind of just have to manage it.”

Finally, the topic of the specific changes made by Tulane was one of great importance. These changes included giving the students the option to make all classes pass/fail and giving the students the ability to choose this option after finals have been taken. This oral history was made to try and help give clarity to students who are in this situation, as well as letting future students know what we went through and how Tulane helped us to get through it. As a result, this discussion about the academic changes made by the Tulane administration is a vital piece of this oral history.




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