This week’s episode of One Market was produced by fourth-year Digital Media and Journalism students in the capstone course. First, we hear from Annabelle Amadasun, who returned home to Vancouver in the summer and is figuring out remote learning in a different time zone. Then, Ebose Abure shares his experience of being a racialized student in a remote learning environment. And finally, first-year student Daniella Ciumelli shares her experience of what living in residence has been like so far. All that and more in this week’s bonus episode of One Market!
#7 Did the Priest Wear a Mask?
Oct. 19, 2020
0:00 Kiki Afolabi interviews Law and Society student Annabelle Amadasun.
12:07 Ahmad Khan interviews Digital Media and Journalism student Ebose Abure.
17:24 Natasha O’Neill interviews Psychology student Daniella Ciummelli.
One Market is hosted by Associate Professor Bruce Gillespie, Program Coordinator of Digital Media and Journalism.
Thank you to Serena Austin, One Market Research Assistant, Melissa Weaver for graphics, and Nicole Morgan for campus promotion. Music by Scott Holmes.
To send feedback or volunteer to be a guest, please contact Bruce Gillespie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tarah Brookfield (email@example.com). Connect with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Never miss an episode! Sign up for an email reminder each time we release a new episode.
Season 2, Episode 7: Did the Priest Have to Wear a Mask?
Bruce Gillespie 0:03
Welcome to One Market, keeping the Laurier Brantford community connected. I'm Bruce Gillespie. This week, we're excited to share another bonus episode with you. This is the first of a series of episodes produced by fourth-year students in my Digital Media and Journalism capstone course. On the show, we check in with a student who returned home to Vancouver this summer and helped plan her sister's wedding during a pandemic. Then, we hear about the experience of being a racialized student and the extra challenges that presents in a remote environment. Finally, we talk to a first-year student living in residence about what her university experience has been like so far. All that and more coming up on this episode of One Market.
Before we get to our guests, a quick word about this episode. When Tarah and I started the podcast back in March, one of our first ideas was to include not just interviews with students, but interviews by students, assuming we'd still be making the podcast come fall. So, since September, I've had my fourth-year DMJ students working on segments for One Market, tracking down other Laurier Brantford students with interesting stories to share. Just like us, they've conducted, recorded and edited their interviews with equipment they have on hand at home. I'm really pleased with how they turned out and I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do. Our first guest is Annabelle Amadasun, she's a fourth-year Law and Society student who stayed in Brantford during the initial lockdown period, and then flew home to stay with her family in Vancouver early in the summer once air travel resumed. Here's her conversation with DMJ student Kiki Afolabi.
Kiki Afolabi 1:48
So, let's talk about the travel procedures. What was it like looking for tickets during a pandemic? Did ticket prices change? What was it like?
Annabelle Amadasun 1:57
It wasn't hard to find tickets. But, finding tickets with an appropriate price was a little difficult. For me, I'd say that's the most challenging part. At first, when lockdown initially started, tickets were cheaper. But, as we started to transition into the summer season, the prices went up like they would normally do. I had left at the end of June and my ticket for one way from Toronto to Vancouver was $300. As for one way, that is quite a bit, and it's a domestic flight, it's not International. So, I'm used to getting tickets like that for $159.
Kiki Afolabi 2:43
Oh, wow. So that's double the price.
Annabelle Amadasun 2:46
Yeah. For one way, for a one-way ticket back home. Yeah, definitely.
Kiki Afolabi 2:50
So, tell me did you have to get tested before you traveled?
Annabelle Amadasun 2:55
No, at the airport they only took my temperature and asked me screening questions. You know, the basic screening questions. Have you been in contact with anyone with COVID? Have you traveled in from another country and you need to quarantine for 14 days? Questions like that to see where I've been. But, I never, I was never required to get tested prior to my flight.
Kiki Afolabi 3:22
Tell me about the airport. What was it like traveling during a pandemic?
Annabelle Amadasun 3:26
It was a little weird, because when I first arrived, and looked as if the airport was closed, there was barely anyone outside. I saw a couple cars; in the international areas where you can drop off and pick up, there was no one there. It was just very weird. You know, there is, when I had gotten dropped off at the airport, there were about four other cars in the same area. There wasn't a lot. They make sure you have a mask on or you can enter the airport. Everybody was kind of scattered around keeping a good distance from each other.
Kiki Afolabi 4:04
So, how did the airport procedures change? I know usually you have to go through security and then to deal with your baggage and checking in. How did that change?
Annabelle Amadasun 4:14
So, when it came to actual help from people working in the airport itself, it was very minimal. So, a lot of the things that you had to do was by yourself, nobody really spoke to you. They just expected you to know, unless you absolutely needed help.
Kiki Afolabi 4:33
So, what was social distancing like at the airport?
Annabelle Amadasun 4:35
Well the seating areas right outside of the terminals, there were certain seats that were axed out where you couldn't sit. Everybody was spaced out. Nobody was directly beside each other everyone had a face covering on everybody was sort of staggered around the plane itself. So, nobody was sitting directly beside each other. I was sitting in a row by myself, the only time I saw people actually sitting beside each other was their family members. I was never close to anyone at all.
Kiki Afolabi 5:09
So, tell me, how has it been adjusting to life back home?
Annabelle Amadasun 5:13
It was a little different this time. Um, I stayed home to quarantine when I got back. I still saw my friends, but we were distanced, and I didn't see as many of them at one time. I just spent most of my time at home with my family. That's not that bad either.
Kiki Afolabi 5:32
What does the pandemic look like in Vancouver? Are there a lot of cases?
Annabelle Amadasun 5:36
Oh, when I got here, the cases were less than in Ontario. B.C. has moved into their, the different phases a lot quicker than Ontario. A lot of things that we weren't able to do in Brantford we were already doing in Vancouver.
Kiki Afolabi 5:56
How have you coped with online classes, especially being in a different timezone? Because I believe Vancouver is three hours behind?
Annabelle Amadasun 6:03
Yeah. Oh, wow. So, I have four courses, I've dropped one, I have two classes that are considered online learning courses. So, I don't have lecture times for them on Zoom. But, the other two courses that I am taking do require me to be on Zoom. Now one of them is for 1 pm. The other class I have is at 8:30 am. So, I do wake up at 5 am on Mondays and Wednesdays in order to, you know, attend my class online, I have to keep in mind that my classmates are living according to a different time. And so when, when I have due dates for things, I have to remember that I have to hand it in at a certain time, so I don't miss it.
Kiki Afolabi 6:56
In a prior conversation, you mentioned that there's two high-risk people in your home. So, what is life like at home?
Annabelle Amadasun 7:05
My father and I stay at home because we are the two high-risk people in our, in our household. So, for us, it's not too bad, we still find time to go outside in our backyard and, you know, be outside in nature and not be cooped up in the house. And it definitely changes how I interact with my family. Maybe not as many hugs or high fives and sometimes when they just come back from work, maybe not as much, but life hasn't really changed because we're high risk. It's not too bad.
Kiki Afolabi 7:47
You told me that your sister also recently got married? What was it like planning a wedding during a pandemic? I know you're African, and Africans love the most extravagant, elaborate affairs. What was it like to plan a wedding with restrictions?
Annabelle Amadasun 8:07
Yeah, it was definitely limited. You are right. I'm African and Caribbean, there's those two, like, cultures that just want to do a lot more. You know?
Kiki Afolabi 8:16
Annabelle Amadasun 8:17
I know my sister had found the venue for her wedding well in advance, right? And her, when you plan all these things and you tell these businesses, I need this for this day. Here's the deposit. Here's my dress, you know, here's his tux or whatever you're getting. You do that well in advance, you don't plan for things like this to happen. Not a pandemic. No one saw it coming, right? So, it's one of those, "Whoa, how do I, how do we work around this? This is really, this is really huge." Up until June the wedding was going to be like, postponed till next year. Well, that was the idea. But, they just said you know what, 50 people is not bad. And I think it was very beautiful that they didn't allow the pandemic to stop them from having their special day.
Kiki Afolabi 9:14
I'm glad it worked out too. So, when planning the wedding, what procedures did you have to take to ensure that everyone was safe?
Annabelle Amadasun 9:25
The seating was very strategic. So, when they entered into the church, there's sanitizer, you could wear a mask. The seats were spread apart around the church so nobody was directly sitting beside individuals who weren't their family members. So, that worked out and that way just because, you know it was a smaller number, so it wasn't hard to find seating anyway, but it was easier because it was a smaller number to space everybody out. For the reception, same thing, the tables were spread apart, we had seating plans and things like that, everybody followed them.
Kiki Afolabi 10:09
Did the bride and the groom have to wear masks on the altar?
Annabelle Amadasun 10:12
Kiki Afolabi 10:14
Did the priest have to wear a mask?
Annabelle Amadasun 10:16
Kiki Afolabi 10:17
Okay. I just felt like I had to ask.
Annabelle Amadasun 10:20
No, no, that's a good question. The pastor was moved back a good amount like, it was moved back. He kept his distance. So, he didn't have a mask on just because he was talking through a microphone. But, um, yeah, he did keep his distance though.
Kiki Afolabi 10:38
During your time spent from the beginning of the pandemic, till now, I want to ask, Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
Annabelle Amadasun 10:49
I feel like I would have taken less summer classes. Before things got really, really bad, I had chosen my courses. I took a lot of courses this this semester, but I didn't, I didn't know, I didn't foresee my mental health and my physical health going on a downward spiral. I didn't do well, as well as I had planned to do my summer semester, to the point where I have to get some of those courses removed, because I didn't, like, I didn't fail them, but it doesn't look good. You know what I mean? You know, I was trying to fit the pandemic, into my regular schedule. It doesn't work like that. It doesn't really work like that, I should have changed my life to fit the pandemic. I could go back to March, I would definitely remind myself that my health is number one.
Kiki Afolabi 11:44
Well, Annabelle, it has been wonderful talking to you. Thank you so much for making time for us today.
Annabelle Amadasun 11:51
Yes, no worries any time it's been fun.
Bruce Gillespie 11:57
Our next guest is Ebose Abure, a third-year Digital Media and Journalism student. In this conversation with Ahmad Khan, he talks about his experience of being a racialized student. But first, he tells Ahmed why he chose to come to Laurier and make the DMJ program his major in the first place.
Ebose Abure 12:15
I've always, I've always loved commentary always wanted to be like a sports commentator, or newscaster something along those lines, and journalism just seemed like a good transition.
Ahmad Khan 12:27
How are you dealing with this transition of COVID-19? And how has that impacted your university experience?
Ebose Abure 12:33
I was incredibly worried when the classes were shut down back in March, especially considering all the assignments and final exams that we still had to do. But, luckily, the teachers made it very easy to get through the school year. And then during the summer, I had plans to get a summer job, go to the gym more and get my G2 driver's licence. But, a lot of that stuff got cut out because of COVID. Luckily, I was still able to get the G2, but I got it at the end of the summer instead of at the beginning like I wanted to. Now, I'm still sort of worried about all the Zoom classes just because I've never had online classes before. But, every time a teacher gives the whole intro class, it's very, it's a very calming experience, because they're new to it as well. So, at least you feel like you can relate to what they're going through.
Ahmad Khan 13:32
That is a very good point. How do you deal with this challenge on a Zoom to stay focused for like an hour or more at a time?
Ebose Abure 13:41
The only thing you can do is just keep yourself in one room and turn everything off, hope for the best. But, there's still going to be the occasional moments where you look at your phone, or you look at something else on the table, your mind starts to wander about what you're going to eat later. So, it's just learning, self control. I think the best thing that could happen to you in a situation is you fail something, like you fail a test, that'll probably motivate you to pay more attention. But, till that happens, it's really just how much willpower do you have?
Ahmad Khan 14:15
Do you think you have to spend more time trying to just get yourself to concentrate now as opposed to when you were in an actual class?
Ebose Abure 14:23
I'm actually having an easier time focusing now than in normal classes. I don't know why I think that's just me. Maybe because I'm in my own room. I feel like I need to try harder to stay focused. Therefore, I'm putting in more effort.
Ahmad Khan 14:40
You're in third-year, you will be graduating hopefully next year. How do you see your career prospects being impacted by COVID-19, from the point of view that really we are journalists, and we can't go out, we can't meet people, we can't really network. Is that something that kinda worries you a bit?
Ebose Abure 15:02
I'm very worried about that. My plan for third year and fourth year was to become more social and join a lot more school groups in school activities and opportunities that are available online. And now that I can't even enter the school, I'm just really worried about how much I'll have to do a my final year, my fourth year, just to compensate for the time I missed now.
Ahmad Khan 15:26
And yeah, that would be a huge concern, on that, I mean, since both of us are visible minority students at Laurier, and do you think with COVID-19, and we not being able to build up a network is going to have an impact as well on our job prospects? Is that something that worry you at all, being a racialized Canadian at all like me?
Ebose Abure 15:50
It definitely worries me. I mean, anytime I send out a job resume, the only thing I constantly look at is my name, just thinking, what are they going to think? When they see my name? Are they going to look at it? Are they going to pass me up for the for John Smith, or someone else with an English name, more than likely, that's what's going to happen, I just have to hope that they give me a chance, despite not being able to pronounce it.
Ahmad Khan 16:13
And this is a very good point. And I might be able to relate to it, but a lot of our, you know, other colleagues and friends and students who have English-sounding names might not be able to relate to it. But if you can maybe put in words, the mental toll that takes on you, on us, like, the uncertainity of something so basic.
Ebose Abure 16:36
It weighs on you a lot. And, like, the only thing you really question is your parents, like, "Why did you give me this name? Why couldn't you give me something easier to say." Especially in real life, every day, you have to constantly tell people how to say your name, or you say this way, a short form, a long form, take out the middle name. Now you don't get that opportunity to actually explain to whoever's looking at your resume, how to say your name. So, you just have to hope that they don't look at it too long. I think everything I've wanted to do, I've always had to be there in person, so, like, my name sort of comes after, I guess. So, it's just now that we don't actually see each other. So, anyone, no one has to face you. It makes things a little harder. For me, whenever I really wanted to do something or ask someone a question, I always want to be there physically, just because it's a lot easier to communicate that way, my name or, what persona, they don't have to imagine who I am, I can just show them who I am make everything easier. Like, if I wanted to join a group, I would go there and volunteer, try out. But, now we don't get to do that.
Ahmad Khan 17:45
Ebose, do you think there is a way around this for guys like me and you who constantly have our own identities and our own names bearing down on us.
Ebose Abure 17:55
Not right now. Not till we move past COVID and we get to take our masks off infront of people.
Ahmad Khan 18:02
How do you even explain this dilemma and the stress that we are constantly under?
Ebose Abure 18:09
I don't think you can, I think it's something you either know, or you don't. This is, there's no explaining it.
Ahmad Khan 18:17
Yeah, when you came to Brantford, and again, we're talking a bit about now, racism here, did you feel any of that at the university at all, in any way, shape or form?
Ebose Abure 18:30
No, actually, I felt, I like standing out more than other people because I feel like it grants me more opportunities. But, people were like extra, especially during the first week, during Orientation Week. People were very, very nice, and I felt like I belonged here. Like, I don't, when most people first go to school they say they have a hard time sleeping the first night because they don't know the environment. But, me the first night I slept eight hours, It was the first night I'd ever slept, I slept eight hours that whole year. I just felt like I was supposed to be here.
Ahmad Khan 19:06
Well, that must be so empowering, right?
Ebose Abure 19:09
Ahmad Khan 19:11
And that is an amazing, yeah, I feel exactly the same way about Laurier Brantford myself. Okay, thank you, Ebose, you take care. Have a great day, my friend. Thank you so much again for your time.
Ebose Abure 19:20
You, too. Bye.
Bruce Gillespie 19:23
Our final guest is Daniela Ciumelli, a first-year Forensic Psychology student who's doing something that would be totally normal in any other year, but this year seems almost unique. She's living in residence on campus. Here's her conversation about what that's been like with DMJ student Natasha O'Neill.
Natasha O'Neill 19:42
How did you decide to come to school, when you knew you're going into it, it wasn't going to be your typical university experience?
Daniela Ciumelli 19:51
I chose to come back to school in September during a pandemic because, um, I kinda, it was a break for like six months, for us grade 12s, like we didn't have much learning. I really didn't want to take a year off, because I knew if I took a year off, I would be juggling on what I wanted to do, and maybe probably take another year off, and then another year off, and then never come back to school probably. So, I'm glad I came this year. So, I didn't have to overthink my decision on coming back to school.
Natasha O'Neill 20:26
Mm hmm. That makes perfect sense. I understand how much of a difficult decision It must have been to want to take a year off but also not want to push back all that school hours and things like that. So, are you happy with your your decision? You were telling me that you really enjoy your program now. So, Zoom classes aren't that big of a deal for you?
I'm enjoying my time here because I am living on residence. But Zoom is quite difficult because I don't get the face-to-face interaction as I would a normal lecture. And I wouldn't get to meet my classmates as much, it is quite hard over Zoom. But, there is some positive and negative of Zoom university, I would say.
What kind of positives have you found?
Daniela Ciumelli 21:15
I found that I really like to go back to the lecture. So, they're pre-recorded, and they post it, so I can pause anytime that, if I didn't catch it, or if I just needed a break, and like read over something else that I needed to do, then I can go back to whatever the lecture is. And also, I can do it at any time as well. I'm a night owl. So, I'm, like, "Maybe I can do it in like 2:30 am when I'm, I can't fall asleep."
Natasha O'Neill 21:46
I just want to touch on maybe some of the precautions that you have to take in rez, I know a lot of our students and upper years are really uncertain as to how residences are operating. Could you walk us through some of the safety precautions that residents has put in place for you guys?
Daniela Ciumelli 22:01
I've been enjoying residence quite a lot. It is quite difficult because I can't visit my neighbours. But, it's also kind of fun because we get to leave the residence building and then get together elsewhere, instead of staying inside our dorm. We can't visit each other in our, each other's dorm rooms, can't have my neighbor over for dinner, or we can't do homework together, we would have to do that elsewhere. And we have to sanitize our hands quite frequently, when we exit the elevator there's a hand sanitizer station for us to and sanitize. And whenever we're inside a residence building, we have to wear a mask at all times. It doesn't matter if you're by yourself. Whenever you're in the hallways, we always have to wear a mask. On my move-in day they actually provided a Laurier face mask. So, that's very welcoming of them. It's like a relief, knowing that they're keeping us safe and we're doing what we're told. So, we don't get any cases at the Brantford campus.
Natasha O'Neill 23:12
Wow, that's awesome. So, you've haven't really found the fact that residence has all these new rules that you can't really see each other in the building, being too much of an issue. You guys have been meeting outside to do coffee, what else if you guys been planning, virtual game nights, or things like that?
Um, there has been virtual game nights, I think, I haven't been catching up on it. It's very sad to say, I'm very overwhelmed with some of my homework, so I sometimes don't check on what's happening, like, for game night, but I did apply to a residence program, actually applied to two residence programs that will help us like interact with one another in our building and in the Brantford community.
Awesome that sounds like you're becoming really involved like every Golden Hawk should be. I just want to touch on just the mental aspect. Is this the first time you're you've moved away from home?
Daniela Ciumelli 24:16
Yes is my first time.
Natasha O'Neill 24:17
So, dealing with not having your parents around and being a lot more independent, did you find it really difficult to adjust to the first-year lifestyle?
Um, I found it difficult the first week, I would say, and then I really adjusted quite fast because at home I kind of did. I helped my mother or my father quite a bit on some like chores at home, so I I knew some household, housekeeping kind of stuff like cooking, doing my laundry. It was quite overwhelming because you're doing it by yourself and your parents aren't there as well. Like I said, it is challenging, but I feel such a great independence for myself when I do stuff for myself and not ask my parents for it. And I seem, I get really excited when I do stuff myself because I'm, like, "Oh, I'm becoming like an adult, kind of," but I'm not quite an adult yet.
I have that feeling, oh my gosh. I'm in fourth-year, and I'm not an adult yet. So, don't worry, you're never an adult. Um, do you have a fun memory? Or a fun outing that you and your friends have done at Laurier so far? I know you've only been here a few weeks, but you seem to have the Golden Hawk spirit.
Yes. So, actually it was just last night where me and a couple people on my floor and some people that are at Laurier, but were just picking up their textbooks and went home right after, we went out at night and we took a walk. And it was quite nice because I got to meet new people that are not actually living on residence, but we talked and it was it was really nice.
It's really nice to have been speaking with you Daniela, and I hope that the rest of your first-year Laurier experience that goes just as good as it has been.
Thank you so much, and I hope your fourth-year is as amazing as it should be.
Bruce Gillespie 26:33
And that's a wrap. Thanks for joining us. We hope it's helped you feel a little more connected to the Laurier Brantford community. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts. Worried about missing an episode, sign up for our newsletter. You can find the link on Twitter and Facebook @OneMarketLB. We'll be back with a new episode next week. One market was created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield. Special thanks to this week's guest hosts Kiki Afolabi, Ahmad Khan, and Natasha O'Neill. Our music is by Scott Holmes graphics by Melissa Weaver. Our research assistant and intern is Serena Austin. Thanks for listening. Keep in touch.