Into the Adult World, One Step at a Time.

A Personal Narrative by Kassidy Hart

“Instead of a cat next year, you should get a dog,” Carlie exclaims to Nick as she tosses the slobbery blue ball toward Willow to fetch.

“Dogs require so much more attention. I’ll be at my job for eight or more hours. Plus, you’ll still be in school and unable to see him every weekend since I’ll be further away,” Nick reminds her, as he sits near her. Carlie’s eyes drop a bit, remembering the move he will be making from Brookings, South Dakota, to a small Iowa town about five hours away.

“Yeah,” her expression changes suddenly, to one of excitement and longing. “But we could get a Pitbull!”

“Pitbulls are cute and can be so sweet but a lot of apartments have restrictions on the breed,” I pitch in. When Zane and I looked at apartments over winter break, we barely found any that allowed pets – so it was a miracle when we found the one, we’re in. And even though they do allow animals for an extra fee, we had to get her breed approved and she’s a border collie.

In that moment, we were simply discussing dogs, which is a common topic amongst young adults who enjoy animals. But the whole interaction felt so natural, the conversation transitioning from one topic to another very smoothly. I began to picture Saturdays that involved more than just Zane watching Iowa football with me doing homework beside him – Saturdays spent out and about with our new couple friends.  

We were all gathered around the 40-inch tv that Zane insisted on getting with HD quality. The NASCAR Daytona 500 was currently paused for a lightning delay, so as we talked, everyone took turns throwing the ball for our nine-month-old puppy to chase down and retrieve. Willow was having the time of her life with people finally visiting our apartment. Even though Carlie and Nick had planned to just stop over to let Nick shower, the conversation picked up and they ended up staying two extra hours. 

“Okay hear me out. What if we got a monkey!”

The thought of Carlie with a pocket-sized demon monkey made everyone break out into laughter, noting the increase of responsibility that jumped from the idea of just getting a cat to the closest thing to a human baby.

“Carlie, monkeys are terrifying and cost way more than even a dog would,” Zane notes as he is slouched in the corner of the living room atop our giant LoveSac. 

The conversation seemed to vary throughout the three hours they were there, discussing anything from school gossip to apartment pros and cons. Nick was about to graduate from South Dakota State University and Zane wasn’t in school, but Carlie and I were able to converse as we did when it was just us two, even with them around and they willfully jumped in.

When they finally left, I started thinking about the situation. I was so nervous, as I had been for the last two years, to meet my best friend’s high-school sweetheart. I had only interacted with him a couple times before, through subtle facetime jokes or a quick pass-by in the hallway. I assumed it would be uncomfortable and forced since he seemed so different from my boyfriend and me. But the interaction was pleasantly innocent and felt so natural, as if Zane and I had experience with couple friends prior to these two.

Zane and I were never a couple who had a common friend group. We started dating sophomore year of high school and, since he wasn’t really an extra-curricular guy and I was an in an overwhelming amount of extra-curriculars, we kind of stuck to either each other or our own friend groups. The two never inter-mingled. We even went to different colleges, so we never really got the chance to start over and make friends together. I was worried that we would never find people who we could both be ourselves around and feel comfortable to casually talk to.

I knew that the natural flow of the conversation was a surprising bonus, but honestly, what I noticed more was that our conversations seemed to be more mature than they would have been if we did get together to double date two years ago. Most freshmen in college are absorbed in the “now” of things, focused on last Friday night’s party or the extra credit they are hoping to get for an intro class they were put into. As an upperclassman, those things seemed silly. There was occasional banter about on-campus life, which made sense since Carlie is still a Resident Assistant in the freshman dorm, but other than that, we were more interested in the future details and, quite frankly, those more mature topics were what made the interaction feel more authentic.

Dr. Shannon Claxton, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Morningside, has spent a lot of time conducting research on romantic relationships but says that friendships are usually pretty similar. According to some of her research, she can note an increase in emerging adulthood, typically 18–29-year-olds, for the need for more stable relationships. Because there is such a strong emphasis on identity exploration during this time in life, people are more likely to develop a clearer picture of who they want around them as they find out who they are. 

For the first time, I was able to experience on my own this type of adult friendship I had seen with my parents and their friends. In a way, it was a sad realization that the days of whispering about our crushes smiling at us on the playground or boasting about the newest sparkly shirt from Justice we just got were long gone. But it was a sneak peek into my next couple of years as I begin to step into my senior year of college and prepare myself for the adult world beyond what college allows. 

Morningside senior persists through the pandemic despite initial worries.

By Kassidy Hart

With both tennis teams crowded around the t.v. in their resort suite, they anxiously awaited the news that could determine their fate for the rest of the semester. Not only were they scheduled to play a match the following day, but they were to return to campus and resume classes directly after spring break ended. 

When they received the email that Morningside would be switching to remote learning and extending spring break, the room filled with excitement because of the possibility of another memorable week in Florida. They never would have guessed that, from that point on, life as they knew it would change.

Looking back at the tennis trip to Florida last year, senior Garrett Seamans can recall just how serious he took the news of COVID since his father had been sick for a while prior to the news.

“I kind of thought maybe there was a chance he could die. I didn’t want to see him like that ever again,” Seamans said. 

His trip was followed by a self-declared quarantining due to the paranoia of contracting and spreading the disease. For a month, Seamans didn’t leave his house. He refused to let his family get fast food, even restricting himself from his own driveway. He finished the rest of his spring semester online, relieved that he would be able to social distance from his home in Wyoming but frustrated with the way academics were being handled within his individual classes.

“I remember sitting for weeks at my parents’ house, maybe doing 30 minutes of work for the whole week, and thinking ‘I’m paying for this?’ My professors seemed almost clueless with how to use any technology and It took weeks for them to figure out Zoom was the best platform,” Seamans said.

As the semester came to an end and summer began, Seamans found himself getting more comfortable with the thought of leaving his house. He was able to do things that felt like normal again, such as getting a summer job and attending his sister’s wedding.

“Our wedding was beautiful but, besides our aunt and uncle that we literally never see, the majority of our family couldn’t be in attendance. We were all pretty sad about the situation but I’m glad our immediate family could be there to celebrate,” sister Julia Seamans said. 

After restricting outside contact while staying with his family over the summer, Seamans returned to campus with newfound habits due to the lifestyle he had gotten used to. He knew he would be a bit more cautious around those he hung out with but did not expect the specific feelings he ended up feeling.

“I had never felt as homesick as I did coming back. I even felt this way with the 5-week Christmas break. I have never been so homesick, and I know it is just because I had spent so much time at home with my family over quarantine,” Seamans said. 

Since returning in the fall, Seamans has had to quarantine twice. Once for a close contact tracing and once, more recently, because he had strep and had suspected it as the coronavirus.

“This last time where I was actually sick, I didn’t get asked anything for contact tracing. I was student teaching and just worn down from tennis, so that probably brought it on,” Seamans said.  

Not only has the pandemic took a toll on his physical health, mainly due to stress, but Seamans has also admitted to it affecting his mental health as well. He’s felt rather lonely and distanced from those he once called his best friends. He became saddened by being stuck in one routine day in and day out. 

“Because Garrett took the pandemic more seriously than some of his friends back home, he lost a lot of his friends. He spent a lot of time on his own, following a routine. I felt bad and tried to be there for him but there’s only so much you can do for your adult kids,” Seaman’s mother, Vicki Seamans, said.

Now with the college’s academic schedule returning back to a more normal one, Seamans has slowly become more comfortable with acclimating to the new way of life. He says he’s not taking precautions that are so severe anymore, since time has passed, and he doesn’t want to lose the remaining months of his college experience to his fear.

“I know that in 7 months, I won’t get to do 99% of the things I did in college and I will experience the adulting world. It is just hard to see your life flash by and all you’re supposed to do is sit at home,” Seamans said. 

Over the course of the last year, Seamans has endured loss – ranging from close connections with friends and opportunities with family to some of his last moments in college tennis and the social life. Yet, he’s endured, holding hope for his semester as he finishes out his senior year student teaching in-person. 

“I continued to work out to keep my mental and physical check in place. I found it to be a good escape from what was going on and just tried to focus on myself,” Seamans said.

As for his next steps, graduation is not too far away and Seamans’ long -term goals have not been too harshly impacted by COVID, rather slightly adjusted to fit his newfound knowledge of friends and love for his family.

Fruit Snack Distribution Made Better by Minions

To begin this journey of distributing COVID safe fruit snacks, I started in the admissions office with peers I work with often. I knew that with it nearing lunch time, they were bound to accept. And boy, was I right! Right away, they both excitedly welcomed the small pack of bright yellow gummies. “What kind of person gives away perfectly good minion gummies?” to which I responded with “It’s for a class” and that was the end of the discussions – as if it was perfectly normal for professors to assign fruit snack distribution. 

My next and final stop was the scarcely filled first floor of the library. It was, again, near lunch time so the majority of students could most likely be found in the cafeteria. Yet, there were a few brave souls who braved the cold to come study in the library. For this, I decided to offer an award in the shape of, yep, you guessed it, Minion fruit snacks! I started within the dining area near the Spoonholder. The first girl was a little more hesitant than my co-workers in admissions. I blame it on her possibly wondering why a stranger was offering her fruit snacks as she drank her coffee. Yet, no questions were asked. Another group of girls accepted and cheered as they noticed it was minions.

            “Who doesn’t love minions!”

Then I made my way to the rest of the floor. The only person who rejected was a girl I had in multiple of my extra-curriculars. I decided to pursue the interaction a little further, reasoning with her that they were “free” and “no strings” were attached. She just had to take them. 

            “Plus, they’re minions! Who doesn’t like minions!”

She caved and accepted, and I went on my way.

I found the most interesting part ,other than the fact that no one really asked questions and just took them, to be the influence that the popular animated figures of the gummies, the Minions, played on whether or not people took the gummies. Those who objected at first, whether they weren’t hungry or were a despiser of delicious fruit snacks, would do a double take at the box and then reconsider. 

“Oh minions! Sure I’ll take one!”

Maybe Minions trigger a warm memory, one that could warm them up on these chilly winter days. Or, possibly, their roommate is a huge fan of the Despicable Me series, so big of a fan that their room is fully covered with the little smiling faces. If this was the case, they probably wanted to bring a peace offering or a token of their love in souvenir form. 

I would like to attribute my success of passing out all my fruit snacks to the kind demeanor of my smiling eyes and persuasion tactics of making it seem like their idea – as well as the 2010 movie that popularized Bob, Kevin, and Stuart…

Lead Sketch for Article #1

With both tennis teams crowded around the t.v. in their resort suite, they anxiously awaited the news that could determine their fate for the rest of the semester. Not only were they scheduled to play a match the following day, but they were to return to campus and resume classes directly after spring break ended. Once they received the email that Morningside would be switching to remote learning and extending spring break, the players were excited to have an extension for another memorable week in Florida. They never would have guessed that from that point on, life would never be the same.