College Life During a Pandemic: Marie O'Neal

By Murphy Obershaw, Staff Writer

With classes moved online and most students living at home, The Vantage wondered what it was like for Newman students under this unprecedented stay-at-home order?

This new series, called “College Life During a Pandemic,” will help you see how other students are getting through the pandemic in their own words. First up is Marie O’Neal, a junior international studies major and member of campus ministry.

She is at home, where she normally lives, with her mom, dad and little brother, who had to move back when his dorm at Butler Community College was closed.

Q: What’s it like being stuck in a house with your family?

A: It’s nice because I don’t get to spend a lot of time with them during the school year even though I live at home. I leave my house pretty early in the morning and a lot of times I don’t get back until later at night, so I don’t get to see them a ton. I've gotten to spend a lot of time with them, which is good.

Q: Are you working still? If so, what does that look like?

A: At College Hill Deli, where I’m a waitress, and we are closed for now. But we’re still doing some programming through the Campus Ministry Office...We moved our women's retreat to an online format, and then we have...the Virtual Red Couch website...I’ve been reaching out to some students individually just to see how they’re doing, see how I can pray for them or just be there for whenever they need. And then, we are working on creating a virtual retreat for the entire Newman community, so information on that will be coming out soon.

Q: Where do you take your classes/study at?

A: Depending on the time of day, I either take them desk in my room or...on our deck in the backyard. Just kind of depends on where I can focus and what the weather is like outside.

Q: What activities have you and your family done to keep yourselves entertained?

A: We’ve been playing cards together, watching some movies, eating more family meals all at the same time, and then going on some walks. Things like that.

Q: How do you keep in touch with friends/how often?

A: So we have a Campus Ministry meeting once a week, and because our programming has slowed down a lot, that’s more of just touching base with everyone. And then we have our Campus Ministry Zoom hangouts on Wednesdays...Sometimes I talk to my friends on zoom or Marco Polo. Recently, Clare Morgan and I have started an email chain because it feels like we’re writing letters to each other, but we don’t have to wait for the postal system. But it feels more fitting for quarantine to have something written like that.

Q: What does an average day look like for you?

A: I knew I needed a schedule to help myself not go crazy, so I looked at Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II’s daily routines and tried to model mine after theirs. In the morning, I wake up at 6:30, and then I have like 30 minutes of prayer time.

I put on real clothes because I won’t let myself wear pajamas. I go on a 20 minute walk before I settle down for my classes, but by eight o’clock I usually start studying, and I study or do class until noon.

At noon, I take a break, and I eat lunch. I make myself stay away from my work during that time. After I do some more class work or study.

Whenever my classes get out, I go on a run...I try to run between four to eight miles on the weekdays and then longer on the weekends.

I eat dinner with my family, and then I study or have zoom meetings...I try to cut off technology at 10 o’clock, so I’ll do some more homework if it’s just in a book or I might do some yoga...When I go to bed, I read until I get tired. Around 11:30 I pray the rosary while I go to sleep.

Q: What is the wackiest thing that has happened to you/you have done so far during quarantine?

A: One of my friends facetimed me during their Zoom class, and so I listened in for 20 minutes.