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Student to student: At opposite ends of the country, roommates motivated by the same #Badgerpride

April 29, 2020 By Chelsea Hylton

At left, Chelsea Hylton in her Los Angeles home, and, at right, her UW–Madison roommate Christine Brutus in her Queens, N.Y., home. Submitted photos

Editor’s note: Chelsea Hylton is a junior journalism and Spanish major at UW–Madison, and a writer for University Communications.

Christine Brutus and I are roommates at UW–Madison, but now we find ourselves at opposite ends of the country.

When UW–Madison suspended in-person instruction for the semester, we each returned to our homes — Christine to Queens, N.Y. on the East Coast, me to Los Angeles on the West Coast. We are approximately 2,700 miles apart from each other.

Both of us struggled being home at first, partly because we are both very social beings, always on the go.

On normal school days before the COVID-19 pandemic, we would get ready in the mornings at our apartment, and then we wouldn’t see each other until late at night since our days are filled with classes and activities.

We are not used to being locked up but we understand it is something we need to do, so we take it seriously. Both of our states and cities are hot spots for COVID-19. We do not leave our houses except for essential trips to get groceries.

Since classes are all online and we can no longer migrate to College Library for long study sessions, we have literally turned our houses into our workstations.

Christine Brutus’s workstation at her home. Submitted photo

I tend to sit for any meetings in my room and occasionally do homework there as well, sitting at an old desk from my elementary school. If the sun is out and it’s warm, which it usually is in LA, then I sit in my backyard and do my school work.

But Christine uses her entire house. “So I actually have multiple workspaces. If I need to take exams I’m in the attic because that’s like guaranteed to be silent and I can focus. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have group meetings and I like to sit at the dining room table,” she said.

One thing we do in common is yoga. It helps us with our mental health and is a great way to exercise.

Christine likes singing and baking and still stays connected with her friends. “Oddly, I feel a little bit more connected in a new way. I video chat with my friends every week at least,” she said.

As for me, I fill my days with yoga, going for runs, organizing and reorganizing things, and Facetiming with my boyfriend to watch movies together.

It is not ideal but Christine and I are making the most of it.

Another thing that has helped us through this transition is the university. I know I am still receiving a quality education from an elite university because of the quality of professors that I have. They have been very transparent and helpful in so many ways. Their priority is that we are still learning and that we are successful.

At the end of the day, we know that this will end and everything will be okay. We could not be more grateful to be home with our loved ones and still be able to pursue our educations.

I may be far from school but I still have a lot of Badger pride. For everyone out there no matter where you may be — On, Wisconsin!


Tags: student life