Column: Life in Madtown


Photo submitted by Isabell Kopf

Isabell Kopf (left) and Emilee-Elizabeth Maney, who both graduated from CHS last year and now room together at UW-Madison, explore Allen Centennial Garden on the Madison campus.

Isabell Kopf, Guest Columnist

Hi, everyone! I know it has only been about six months since I last wrote an article for this wonderful newspaper, but it feels like so long! And let me just say, it really is an honor to report for The Prowler once again.

As many of you know, I graduated from Chilton this past year and am currently starting my collegiate career at UW-Madison. Simply put, not only has being a new college freshman been a huge adjustment, but being a college student amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been quite a challenge, especially since we began week three of the semester in a two week full-campus lockdown.

The lockdown included shutting down the seating areas in the dining halls, putting two highly populated residence halls in a complete quarantine due to the number of positive cases coming from those halls, suspending all in-person classes for two weeks and instituting a few other minor precautions. On September 25, UW-Madison was released from this two week lockdown.

The university has had to make many adjustments in its operations for obvious safety reasons. Dining halls are now limited to on-campus residents only, residents are required to be tested weekly for the COVID-19 virus, masks are to be worn at all times except when residents are in their dorm room and the door is shut and, of course, a number of classes were switched to partially or completely virtual.

In fact, this semester, all of my classes are online. Adjusting to online learning was something I had to do back in March to finish high school, but I am still finding what study habits work best for me in these new circumstances. Some of my classes are what the university considers “synchronous,” some are “asynchronous” and some are a mix of both.

“Synchronous” means that there are scheduled times that students must be in a virtual meeting with the teaching assistant, professor, lab instructor or whoever is instructing the course.

“Asynchronous” means that the professor has already pre-recorded his or her lectures and outlined all the work students must do to complete the course, but there are no specified meeting dates and times. Students work through the course completely on their own.

I envisioned my freshman year at UW-Madison being all about meeting new friends, walking to classes in the unpredictable Wisconsin weather, jumping around in Camp Randall Stadium and attending my treasured Wisconsin women’s hockey games. Instead, I must reach out to new people through social media, sit at my desk to attend classes and watch Wisconsin sports in the comfort of my dorm room.

I will say, though, that an unexpected surprise came out of all the uncertainties of this new environment: I am rooming with one of my best friends from high school! Emilee-Elizabeth Maney, my roommate, and I both found out that our original roommates decided to take their courses from home, leaving us both without a roommate. After some discussion, we decided to room together, and it makes me feel comfortable knowing that we can go through this nerve-wracking time together.

Although my experience in Madison isn’t really what I expected, I have faith that positive changes are coming soon that will allow me to attend in-person classes, meet more people and explore everything that Madison and the campus has to offer.