Interview by Andrea Andalis, Visual Arts Major
with Halle Risko, Graphic Design Major
What personal experience or journey brought you into your current role at or connected with SUNY New Paltz?
Halle applied to New Paltz because of the graphic design program. She had been talking to the lacrosse coach from this school, so she was already familiarized. She had been looking at another college, but she was waitlisted so she ultimately decided to go with New Paltz.
What issues or challenges are you confronted with?
She didn’t have a lot of problems when it came to picking schools. New Paltz is close enough to home, she has family that lives in the area, and is comfortable here.
Why do these challenges exist?
Not a lot of challenges, being close to home was beneficial for her.
How did the pandemic affect you?
Her program was moved online, so she had to stay home. Initially she was on the lacrosse team, but ultimately decided to step back from it because she would’ve had to commute (once school became in person again). She started managing at her job which made it feel like school was on the back burner. She was almost a full-time worker, and now she feels like she’s almost ‘behind’ and doesn’t know as much about her major that she would like to (since education was hindered)
If we are sent home again, how would you feel/react?
She wouldn’t want to do online school again, but to her it’s not as simple as that. Would she take a gap year with only a year left? Or would it be better to stay even though you don’t learn as much when you are at home?
How has the pandemic affected your social life?
She has had issues with friendships because of quarantines and school shutting down and felt less of a connection. Trying to maintain a friendship is hard online.
How do you feel about going into school this year?
Hoping this year will be easier. She wants to be able to go out and do things with friends, but she’s also scared. She’s hoping that with the vaccine, things will be under control, but no one really knows what is going to happen.
Interview by Andrea Andalis
Post Interview Reflections by Andrea Andalis:
What was most surprising or unexpected?
It was interesting how different our experiences were when it came to finding our way to New Paltz.
What touched me?
Her hope is that this school year will be better. I think everyone just wants to have a normal life again.
What connected with me personally?
I really understood her nervousness about how this school year is going to go due to Covid. The idea that we have no control over what is going to our future is scary.
If the social field (or the living system) of the visited organization or community were a living being, what would it say to us?
Assuming that the community is SUNY New Paltz, I think it would tell us that we are doing things to the best of our ability right now, and we should just keep trucking along. People here really do care about being safe, and I think that’s all you can do when you are in a pandemic.
What is the generative source that allows this social field to develop and thrive?
People’s desire to both improve themselves is definitely one reason this social field (university) continues to develop; but also, there is an understanding that you need to go to college in order to get a good job in the future. Though I wish things didn’t work this way, and it’s not always 100% true, it’s definitely the reason I go to school.
What limiting factors prevent this field/system from developing further?
Not everyone has the ability to attend college. Whether it be financial strain, doesn’t have the time due to other obligations, or other contributing factors. Also, some people don’t feel that college is for them, and that’s very valid as well.
What ideas does this experience spark for possible Eddy initiatives you may want to pursue?
I like learning about different people’s lives: how they ended up where they are, what their daily lives look like, etc.