As the global pandemic transitioned from novelty to reality, Western Kentucky University college students realized their lives would be altered forever
When students of the School of Media at Western Kentucky University beelined from their cramped dorm rooms and fluorescent lit classrooms in Jody Richards Hall to enjoy a week respite on March 6, 2020, they were blissfully ignorant of the storm that was about to shatter their perception of what college education would become, how their world would change and what their future may become.
The COVID-19 pandemic at first felt like this bump in the road that was merely an inconvenience but as WKU President Timothy Caboni, like other schools across the country and around the globe, announced classes were to move online for the rest of the semester, college life as it used to be quickly became a distant, hazy dream. Dimly lit basements or child-hood bedrooms became the new classroom as increasingly un-kept students clung to their red solo cups which were filled with a liquid of ambiguous content (at least to the professor) as they swayed to whatever heavy bass they could feel in their mind as they pretended to maintain attention in the new Zoom world. Instantly gone from their grasps the sensations of college life freedom.
Produced by Gabi Broekema
Content by Fatimah Alhamdin, Grace Bailey, Raaj Banga, Morgan Bass, Gabi Broekema, Alex Driehaus, Kennedy Gott, Morgan Hornsby, Missy Johnson, Cassady Lamb, Sam Mallon, Vonn Pillman, Rachel Taylor, Lily Estella Thompson
Photo and Journal entry by Sam Mallon
I find myself exhausted though my quarantine days are filled with very little movement. I long for places to go and people to see; I am grieving the could-have, would-have, should-have-beens. I am grateful that I am safe and it is my responsibility to keep others safe, so I have been staying inside and learning to spend time with myself. I have found solace in the fact that the trees are turning green — they remind me that we are all still growing —I am eager to see how much stronger we are on the other side of the current pandemic.
Video and Journal by Lily Estella Thompson
MAKING IT THROUGH
“Upon reflection of our relationship throughout the pandemic, Brandon and I try to make sense about what went wrong, and what went right during this time of isolation. In a video and thru images I took, we are both made to talk about what it has been like living together through one of the most historic times in our lives.”
Photo and Journal by Morgan Bass
I used to be an extrovert, someone who would strike up conversations with strangers for fun. After half a year in social isolation, the mere thought of putting myself out there like that is suffocating. Since March of 2020, I have been on a downward spiral into a pit of panic attacks and depressive episodes. I have been trying to act like the person I was before, but there is a piece that is now missing from that person that I used to be, and I am not sure how to pretend that it isn’t.
Photo of her family by Rachel Taylor
FAMILY CHURCH SERVICE
“The first thing I’m doing when quarantine is over is going to church,” Catherine Taylor said on Sunday. Much like her husband, she has missed very few Sundays and longs to be back in the church building she grew up in, rather than praying virtually on her front porch. “I know that church isn’t just a building, but I can’t wait to be worshiping with my church family again.” she added.
Sam Mallon, a junior WKU Photojournalism major, documents Bowling Green’s Mobile Grocery Bus, that was established by the Housing Authority of Bowling Green to address the growing problems of food insecurity in the region. Bus driver Danny Carothers takes us on the tour of the outreach program that has recently gotten national attention from HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
You can view the entire project here.
“I want to serve people in any way, form or fashion… I think it was just what I was raised to do,” Carothers said. He may have given up on his dream of teaching, but his giving spirit lives in all of his work, especially in regard to the Mobile Grocery Bus.
Defying All Odds
A mother’s determination to make a change for herself and family
By Kathryn Ziesig
Work hard, go to college, get a good job, meet your mate, settle down, have kids, and retire comfortably. The American dream, an idealized version of how one’s life is supposed to playout.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.” It is a goal people have been chasing for decades, but what happens when someone’s life doesn’t quite match up to the perfect outline?
The complete story can be viewed here
Deafening silence and agonizing pain were constant companions to Brandon Spaulding.
Living life was a chore.
The sudden embrace of suicide looked beautiful, many a time.
But, there was more to life after all.
Michelle Calnan, 52 of Knoxville, Tennessee sits in her bed after getting little sleep the night before due to symptoms of Benzo withdrawal. “I don’t want to be in this body. I’m tired of seeing the same trees out of the same window feeling the same way,” said Calnan while she wept in her bed. Calnan was prescribed Klonopin ,an anti-anxiety drug for over 20 years that is designed to be used for a maximum of four weeks. She is currently attempting to taper off the medication which is a lengthy process taking anywhere from three to six years.|Michael Noble Jr.
Rosalino Santiago Garcia and his wife, Sabina Garcia Pacheco, wait to have a lasso placed on their shoulders by their sponsors during the couple’s wedding ceremony in Santa Ana, Oaxaca, Mexico on March 25, 2017. The lasso is a staple of Hispanic weddings and symbolizes the couple’s everlasting union. The two were officially married five years prior in a civil union, but it wasn’t until March that they could afford to throw a proper celebration after they saved enough of the money that Rosalino earned as a migrant worker in the tobacco fields of Kentucky.|Nick Wagner
Siena Heights University Asia Gardner sprints to the finish line as she anchors in the second heat of the 4×100 meter race during the Hilltopper Relays on Saturday April 8, 2017 at Charles M Reuters Track and Field Complex.|Shaban Athuman
Indiana Tech’s Jordan Partee falls into the sand pit after jumping 6.64 meters during the Hilltopper Relays on Saturday April 8, 2017 at Charles M Reuters Track and Field Complex. Partee would finish in 8th overall with a 6.74 meters.|Shaban Athuman
**This past Tuesday, WKU students skyped with members of RIT’s NPPA student chapter and exchanged photos for a joint critique session. WKU students discussed and selected the best photos from RIT. They did the same with us. Check out what RIT selected as their top photos from this past week! A big thanks to RIT for making the collaboration happen!
WKUPJ student Sawyer Smith examines the impact of the social enterprise company Krochet Kids who’s mission is to empower women to move out of poverty through education and work.
Sawyer traveled to Lima, Peru to document their program in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods.
View her project here: https://sawyersmith.atavist.com/stitched_past