OSU-Cascades community urged to purchase student anthology about COVID-19 experiences


H. Beck, Illustrator

This illustration depicts an OSU-Cascades student who writes out their worries and feelings about the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

Kimberly Clairmont, News Contributor

Oregon State University – Cascades students emphasize the importance of gaining perspective surrounding the various hardships college students continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jenna Goldsmith, a former OSU-Cascades creative writing professor, encouraged all of her students to regularly complete journal entries during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

These entries were collected by Goldsmith and compiled in her recently published book “There’s No College in COVID.” The book gives insight into the academic and personal lives of former OSU-Cascades freshmen.

“The entries show the raw emotions of first-year students as they navigated the global pandemic and their first year in college in real-time,” said Andrew Ketsdever, OSU-Cascades’ interim vice president. 

Ketsdever said there were many revelations in the entries that exposed the trials and difficulties the students encountered, as well as moments of happiness and joy, something he said we often forget also happens in the middle of uncertainty.

“I personally read every entry in the book; I also wrote the foreword for the book itself,” Ketsdever said. “To me, it was very interesting to see the decisions that were necessary manifest themselves in the student’s entries.”

Ketsdever said he absolutely encourages community members to purchase the book for various reasons. For one, proceeds from the book sales will be donated to a scholarship fund.

Second, Ketsdever said the entries allowed him to see first-hand how students navigated the pandemic and synchronous learning in a remote environment.

“It is fascinating to see their perspectives, not in reflection, but in real-time,” Ketsdever said.

According to Ketsdever, “There’s No College in COVID” will be the “Honors College Read” pick for the winter term at OSU-Cascades. 

Wyatt Didway, a second-year student at OSU-Cascades and an outdoor products major, contributed several of his journal entries from last year to the book. 

“It was really interesting to have the opportunity to be given a chance to write how we were feeling in those times when things were difficult… it was interesting to give a face or a target to some of the more frustrating facts you were feeling because of how life was being isolated,” Didway said.

Didway wrote a poem about masks and another entry commenting on how life will be permanently changed when the pandemic will come to an eventual end.

“Thinking about the Poliovirus, you look back and think there’s some documentation about it, but it was all logistical—this is more, maybe, emotional,” Didway said. “This book is really great for people who want to gain some insight into how the general populace handled this time.”

Anya Rozeki, a second-year elementary education student at OSU-Cascades, has two pieces published in the collection.

Rozeki said it is amazing to be involved with university projects at OSU-Cascades, and she thinks it is important for students to have opportunities like this to share their experiences as college students.

“Our freshman year wasn’t a normal freshman year,” Rozeki said. “It was a good way to share how COVID-19 did affect us—not only our school lives but our mental health and home lives.”

Rozeki hopes members of the OSU-Cascades community purchase the text. The book is available for purchase at most online booksellers such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Over the holiday break, Rozeki said her grandparents read the book and found the entries eye-opening.

“I wrote them both because at the time I was struggling with the fact that I was starting college and I didn’t have any friends,” Rozeki said. “I think I was very confused and felt pretty lost.”

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