“It was honestly really scary. I remember I tried to call my parents when we first found out that we had gotten exposed, and then we found out Monican shut down, so I remember, I tried to call my parents, but the time change they were at work, so they didn’t answer. I called my coach and I was like I’m not really sure what to do.”
Nikala Tuffanelli is a nursing sophomore at Merrimack, as well as a member of the tennis team. During the pandemic, she worked at the campus testing center. In the interview, Tuffanelli discusses her experience playing tennis and working at the testing center during her freshman year of college. She also describes the stress of being a nursing major and beginning work in nursing homes and hospitals, as well as the overall experience of coming from Rocklin, CA, to Merrimack for her first year of college during a pandemic.
Ryan Cayton: I know you mentioned living in Monican with the outbreak last year, what was that like for you obviously because you weren’t allowed to go home back to California, so I mean most people went back to their houses in quarantine but what was that like for you?
Nikala Tuffanelli: It was honestly really scary. I remember I tried to call my parents when we first found out that we had gotten exposed, and then we found out Monican shut down, so I remember, I tried to call my parents, but the time change they were at work, so they didn’t answer. I called my coach and I was like I’m not really sure what to do, and she offered me to stay with her, but I didn’t want to put her at risk, so I remember both my roommates were like you can come home with one of us and our parents. That was okay, because if one of us has it the other one has it so they were really understanding. I lived in my roommates basement for a while and her family was awesome they were super welcoming so that was really nice and her mom would cook food for us and go grocery shopping. We would drive around in her car and just kind of get out of the house and that kind of thing before we got our test results back so that was nice. You know they made it as much home as it could be, but it was definitely hard being away from my family like going through all that.
RC: No definitely, personally having been a part of that was a very difficult process. So obviously you have a very busy life here at school, what did you do to maintain a good school life balance?
NT: I tried to time manage, I guess in a way I would try to plan out my week and kind of see what days were my more busy days and what days were my more free days when I can get homework done. It was also a struggle to know if I needed any like TA hours or like office hours with professors because remember that was all online so you couldn’t go meet your professor in person, so it was really hard not to have a face to face conversation with your professors. It was definitely busy but I felt like I balanced it the best that I could. I was still able to maintain and make good relationships on campus which was awesome, that was you know the reason I stayed because I debated not coming back second semester,and if it was going to be the same thing, but I had formed really good relationships with people in my hall and stuff like that, so it was nice.
The interview was conducted at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts on November 29, 2021 by Ryan Cayton.
This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.