College life during a pandemic: Nicholas Samsel

By Murphy Obershaw, Copy Editor

Next up in our “College Life During a Pandemic” series is junior Nicholas Samsel, a seminarian majoring in philosophy for theological studies.

He is living at his parents’ house in Wichita with his mom, dad, and younger brother during the pandemic instead of the St. Joseph House of Formation where he and the other seminarians attending Newman live during the school year.

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

A: It is an interesting change for me since so many of their habits are different than the seminarians I am used to living with. I am usually the first one in bed, which is an odd phenomenon for me. It is also interesting since my mom is a nurse, so every day when she gets back from work, I get an update of what the virus response is in the city.

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

A: I'm not working right now but I didn't have a job to stop going to. I suppose the closest thing for me is the fact that I'm voluntarily serving Mass and helping with live streams at my home parish. It is an odd and uncomfortable experience being there when I am so accustomed to Mass being full. A joy I have found there, though, is people have put photos of their families in the pews, and it is an exciting experience checking to see if there are any new photos up.

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

A: For school work, I've set up shop in the basement. I've got a pretty comfortable spot on the couch and it is a relatively quiet spot. I've never been one to work at a desk, so in this regard, things have worked out quite well.

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

A: I've entertained myself with taking walks and sometimes just sitting outside. Playing piano and organ have helped, as well as reading for pleasure. Cooking once or twice a week has also been something that I have greatly enjoyed. With my family, we have played board games and watched movies.

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

A: I will call a friend to chat at least once a day. Sometimes it’s one call with more than one person. There has also been a solid stream of texts and group chatting to help keep in contact with others.

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

A: An average day for me is getting up at 6:45, going to St. Thomas for 7:30 morning prayer over the phone, then Mass at 8. From there, I Zoom to my classes and do homework. I do my daily Holy Hour at 4, and then say evening prayer over the phone. This will typically lead to a good 15-30 minute conversation afterward. The rest of the night is typically composed of classwork, dinner with my family, chatting with friends, and the normal distractions of Youtube and Hulu.

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

A: The wackiest thing I have done during quarantine is fill up a Guinness glass with tea to pass off as beer on April Fools Day. I might have also developed a strong affinity for unsweetened tea in the past month.

Courtesy photo, Nicholas Samsel