Annabelle McClanahan

"This day had been lined up perfectly." So this took place back in May of 2019 -- so very much pre-pandemic and uh this day had been lined up perfectly. I had concert tickets to go see BTS and somewhere along that day -- towards the middle of it, we get a phone call, my mom does at least. And the, this dog that we were looking at that we were very interested in getting, we were approved to get her. So I remember like my mom just like calling us all into the room with a hu- -- like with this big smile on her face and basically saying "Guys, guys we have a new puppy." And I just remember like jumping up and down hugging my sister and asking "When are we getting her? When can we see her next?" Um, and my mom was like "Well, we're gonna pick her up today." And, and then I just remember them going to drive -- cause I was getting ready. I had a concert to go to with my friends, um, but I remember that they left in time to go pick up Dottie. And then, they drove back. And I just remember seeing her for the first time and sort of just like holding her. She was so, so tiny. And she was just the cutest, tiniest little thing. She was so tired though that when we first got her she was so curious about the house, but she was also so sleepy. So like I remember just sort of sitting there and she would -- it wasn't really like a walk. It was more like a waddle -- up to me and she would just sniff me and then she'd start crying because she wanted to be picked up and I remember like I was crying tears of happiness because I was like, who is this amazing little creature that I'm holding right now? It was, it was very cute, very sentimental. I was like, "Okay, I'm sorry. I, I have to go get ready for the concert." And so, I walked back upstairs. And apparently from what I'm told is Dottie did not like this cause she couldn't walk up the stairs yet. And I just remember getting home that night -- I was freezing. And I enter the house cause I obviously knew the code…

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Adam Barnhardt

“… it was basically a modified hide and seek.” Do you have any scars from doing an outdoor activity, like hiking or mountain biking? What happened?” Um, well I have one from, like – from my childhood. Um, I wasn’t doing anything cool like hiking or mountain biking, I was in middle school. And at my school, we would take these trips every fall, we would go to this camp out in, like, rural North Carolina and stay there for, like, half a week. They were always really fun, but we would play this game, usually every night, where we would – it was basically like a modified hide-and-go-seek, where the kids would hide, and we would try to reach a base, and the teachers would, uh, try to catch us, basically. And I remember, I was trying to get to the base, and I could see the base, but it was about, like, hundred, two hundred feet away or something. And I thought to myself, “The best way to get there would be to cut through this, like, concrete soccer field type of thing. It was, like, a small soccer field that was concrete, not grass. So I thought I was gonna do that. So, I started running just as fast as I could, trying to get through this, um – trying to get through this soccer field. And, it was really dark that night, they had, like, minimal lighting and I couldn’t really see where I was going. And I didn’t realize that there was, like, this wooden goalpost that was right at the level where my head was going to be as I ran through the soccer field. I didn’t see it until, like, probably one fourth of a second before I slammed into it and just, like, busted my head on this wooden board. And I flew into the soccer field. And, uh, yeah. It wasn’t great. It was not a pretty picture. So I feel really bad for the teacher who I eventually ran up to, screaming, and clutching my head, my forehead. Because I’m sure that – I’m sure that was somewhat scarring for that teacher, but, yeah. I, uh – they had to call an ambulance and take me to the hospital. My parents were really worried, they had to drive the hour-and-a-half over there to the hospital to see me. And they…

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Dr. Suzanne Wagner

“So I think that that is one of the many ways in which this pandemic period has changed the way I think about my surroundings.” Question is, are you more comfortable being surrounded by buildings or surrounded by trees? If I had answered this question a year or two ago, I would definitely have said I’m more comfortable surrounded by buildings. I’ve always thought of myself as an urban person. I grew up in South East England, I’m used to houses being really close together, joined together,in fact. I’m used to streets being crowded and I love cities. I love exploring cities and I love knowing how cities work and I love getting into all the little neighborhoods and all the corner stores and all the different cultures that particular neighborhood in cities have. Just, in general, I think I’m urban in orientation. But, over the last year, I have been forced to go outside more. There were periods during the lockdowns where there was nothing else to do except go out for a walk and that’s what our family did regularly, we got up in the morning and walked around our neighborhood and then on the weekends we would find some place to go in a park or in a forest and we would go on much longer walks. And we’ve been doing that so often that I’ve come to really love it and and value it to the extent that it feels strange sometimes now to be in a building, I really like being outdoors. And I definitely wouldn’t have said that about myself a couple of years ago. So, I think that that is one of the many ways in which this pandemic period has changed the way I think about my surroundings.

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Dr. Betsy Sneller

"This is actually the third time I've been in the secretary of state's office during the pandemic." I just got back from the Secretary of State, my husband and I moved back to Michigan in November. So it was time to get our plates changed and our licenses updated and I — just as a very short story here and absolutely blown away by Michigan’s Secretary of State. This is actually the third time that I’ve been to a Secretary of State office during the pandemic. The first was in June, in Massachusetts when my license had expired and we weren’t sure yet when we were going to move to Michigan. So, it was — I had to go to the Secretary of State and in Massachusetts to the RMV and get my license and my license plate updated. And there were no appointments. The closest appointment was like 3 weeks out, 2 and a 1/2 hour drive away in Cape Cod. So I went, I took half a day off of work to drive to the DMV and the line that I had to wait in, even though I had an appointment, it was like an hour and half line outside the building, to get into the building was an hour and half line. And as it turned out there was a form that I needed but didn’t have printed off because it’s a pandemic and we don’t have a printer and we weren’t able to make it to FedEx or whatever to print off the form. So it was essentially a wasted half day that I drove 2 and 1/2 hours each direction. Came back a week later and it was the same deal. I had to wait in line. In fact the line the second time that I went to the RMV in Massachusetts was so long that they had two security guards outside to direct people into the line. Like there was a line, to get into the line, to get into the building. And today, I had an appointment at Michigan DMV for 3:30 appointment. I showed up and I was really expecting it to last until 6 p.m. at the earliest. But it is now it was 4:02 when I left the DMV. I got out with our plates updated, registration and my license all done. It was the smoothest operating DMV I literally…

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Ife John-Idiagbonya

So I paired up with the first person and go rock paper scissors shoot. I throw scissors, they throw paper. A few months ago, I went on a retreat for my school. I've already been in this University for a few years, but I wanted, I wanted to kind of get to know people better and just really get more involved in my community 'cause, you know, you -- it's never too late to make more friends. But I was a little worried that I would go on this retreat and I wouldn't really meet any new people. Like when we were waiting to get on the bus, everyone was in their groups together, and there was a few people that I knew but it wasn't really -- like there wasn't the same kind of closeness. Um when we got on the bus, I sat by myself and I was just really hoping and praying that everything would turn out well. We end up -- so we go ride the bus, get to the retreat site, and we put our stuff away and we go through the process of kind of introducing ourselves, getting to know our orientation leaders, um, and then they tell us that we're going to play a rock paper scissors tournament. So every person would pair up with another person and you guys would play rock paper scissors and then the winner would go on to play the other winners and you would keep going and going until only one person was left and they were the winner of the whole tournament. I normally really get in my head for these things. So I just decided, you know what, I don't care. I'm just going to throw whatever and it's, it's fine that -- if I lose. But -- so I paired up with the first person and go rock paper scissors shoot. I throw scissors, they throw paper. And I'm like, "Okay, this is, this is nice." And I go with the second person and then again I win and then the third person I win again and I'm like, "This is kind of getting serious." Um, and so even after a few more times, I kept winning, and at this point, I'm -- there's like a little bit of attention starting to gather and people were like, "Oh my gosh, okay, like, you gotta…

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Drake Howard

"So that is what I like to call the saga of the missing wallet." One day I met up with a friend at a dining hall to eat lunch, and then we both got picked up by my mom to visit my house. The friend that I was eating lunch with she's really into horticulture and plants and stuff and my mom is a certified Master Gardener. So I thought that they would really like to meet each other. So yeah. That all went great. My friend mentions how she hasn't been using her combos, basically the predetermined snack thing you can buy from certain stores on campus. So I was like “Mom, how about you drop us off at 1855 Sparty’s?” which is canonically the best one, it has so many options. So she drops us off. And I pick out my combo. I've got a nice stack of Oreos. I've got a little fizzy drink that’s peach flavored. I, I have a veggie wrap. I was so excited so I get in line, I -- the person at the checkout asks me to scan my card, I reach into my pocket and… is not there. Like fully has disappeared. So, did not enjoy that. I had to return all of those items. I never got my Oreos. Very sad. And so I tried to call my mom. I text her “Hey, do you know where my wallet is?” She could not find it. So that was so fun. And then she reminds me that I have an appointment at 3 o'clock. The appointment went well. And then after, I -- I'd realized during the appointment that I might have left it at the dining hall. So I walk back to the dining hall and I ask the front desk “Hey, did you see a wallet?” And they were like “Yeah! We have that.” and finally I got my wallet. So that is what I like to call the saga of the missing wallet.

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Althea Davis

"So we were at this show and I was just -- I was vibing." So I was thinking about a particular time that was a remarkable story or something that has made an impact, um, in my, you know, self development, um, and I thought about the time that I broke my tailbone for the first time. I actually ended up breaking it three times, unfortunately, um, but I broke it for the first time when -- I think I was in fourth grade, maybe fifth grade, um, and I was in a, an honors choir, and we took a trip to Mackinac Island. I was with, um, my mom, she was like a chaperone, and a bunch of my friends. And we went to this show. I think it was, um, Three Men and a Tenor, um, at this old theater and, um, it was super beautiful. The seats were really old and each one had, like, a sort of, like, knobby handle in between them, where you can, like, r- -- like an armrest, I guess, um, and, like, velvet seats. They were beautiful. Um, but because it was old, some of them had, like, missing seats and whatnot, um. Anyways, so we were at this show and I was just -- I was vibing. I really, really was enjoying myself. I was with a bunch of my friends. It was music that I enjoyed, um. It was, you know, performers that I had seen since I was a kid -- like, even younger kid, um, it was music that I knew, so I could sing along to it, um. And I was really in the moment and I was jumping up and down and we were singing along to the music, um, and then, you know, we were cheering at the end of it. And then when it was all done, I was just full hyped of energy. I went and -- I, I went to sit back down really hard, and I missed my seat, and I slammed into the armrest that was between two seats and my tailbone hit that little knob at the end of the armrest so perfectly that it sent a intense shock wave all the way through to the top of my head. And I felt like I couldn't see for a second and it was awful, um. Eventually, like once…

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Jack Rechsteiner
Jack Rechsteiner

Jack Rechsteiner

“Cuz if you want to get a good, real good homemade bagel...” I found out that the trick to being a pro baker isn't making good pastries and stuff, it's being able to make a lot of them very fast and very consistently, so. What I wound up finding my knack for is bagels. It's a long, time consuming process. Cuz if you want to get a good, real good homemade bagel, you have to start the dough about 12 to 24 hours before you actually start to make the bagels, so it can rise and get a really good fluffiness without being overly dense. So then you take that dough you started. Well… Yeah, it's a dough starter. That's what I'd call it. You take that, you add in the more flour and get it ready for - more bread-like, ready for the oven. You roll those out, make them into the bagel shape, pre-boil them, and bake them. So I didn't have much room in my shop. We just had a small little, like, table top commercial oven. So I'd be able to knock out, maybe, a dozen-and-a-half bagels in that oven at a time. So still time consuming process, but much more efficient than anything else I'd figured out how to do at that time. I also made a real mean Trail Mix Bar in a big sheet pan, but can't remember the recipe on that anymore.

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Kierstin Alston

"I have twenty-four nutcrackers..." I have twenty-four nutcrackers, I have three nutcrackers that are non seasonal, meaning I can have them all out all year long, but then I have — the rest of my nutcrackers which are very much so Christmas, related. I’ve a nutcracker that goes up to my shoulder blade. What nutcracker is this? That’s a Christmas nutcracker, my ultimate favorite nutcracker. I have twenty-one nutcrackers and that’s a lot, and I collect them. And my aunt, she doesn’t like them. She’ll come up every year on Christmas, be like, those nutcrackers are terrifying. I’m just always like, yeah, but I like them and I have a lot of them. We get them, me and my grandmother, we get them every time after Christmas cuz that’s when everything Christmas related goes on sale, and we get a lot of nutcracker. I just have — I have one nutcracker in my room that’s a doctor, another nutcracker it’s like a lady and she has like a shopping bag. And then I have another nutcracker and I’m pretty sure it’s Christmas related but I refused to admit is Christmas related because it’s a guy who’s holding like a small little tree in his hand, but I refuse to believe it’s Christmas related. I just like to say he’s Michigan, because you know, there’s so many people in Michigan carrying around trees, that’s a Christmas-related nutcracker. I’m not taking it down.

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Yongqing Ye
Yongqing Ye

Yongqing Ye

"What is your favorite tree?" There are these six large palm trees right in front of the house my partner and I live in. We moved to this small Victorian house in Florida during the pandemic. And after about two month — about two month after we moved in, we noticed there was this squirrel family living up the palm trees. About one to two hours before the sunset every day they would come out and play. And one day we heard this “pa” sound right next to our garage, and something fell off the tree. When we approached, we saw it was a baby squirrel. It was tiny. We thought it was a hurt, but, no. It actually approached us and was sniffing our shoes and jumping around cheerfully, then it raced up the tree. And now we’ve been watching this family of squirrels for months and we want to make a YouTube channel named, “Life of a squirrel family.” And I love these palm trees because they’re huge and they’re providing the shelter for this lovely squirrel family, and I can’t remember how many afternoons during the lockdown I just sit around the back porch watching them play. That was my story about my favorite tree.

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