People of Central: Brendan Wiederman

Story and photo by Danielle Patrick

Being a freshman at Central Michigan University, especially during a pandemic, has to be difficult. The “freshmen experience” is gone. Freshmen won’t be able to go to their first CMU football game. They won’t know what it’s like to go to class and and possibly meet their best friend that will be with them through this crazy college journey; all they know is people behind a computer screen, or people wearing masks in class, sitting six feet apart.

CMU freshman, Brendan Wiederman, majoring in business, with a focus in supply chain management, explains what it’s like to be a freshman in college during these difficult times.

Most freshmen look forward to walking around campus and finding their classes. Some are excited for the first day of class where they get to meet new people and start their college journey. Unfortunately, 2020 has been different for incoming CMU freshmen. For Wiederman, he has classes that are Hyflex or online. On days of lecture, he stays in his dorm, but on days where he has a lab, he safely goes in-person. The interaction with classmates online is different because it’s not not face-to-face and some of the students have their videos turned off.  Wiederman feels he is transitioning to the change very well.

There have been changes to living in a dorm on campus. Wierderman has two other roommates. He and his roommate live in one room, while his other roommate lives in the second room. He likes the new change better because there is more space.

Any CMU student who lived in a dorm during their first two years would say that forming a relationship with the Resident Assistant(s) (RA) on your floor are important. Wiederman discusses how he has formed a relationship with his RA.

“I see my RA frequently. She walks around the floor and I can talk to her face to face or through a Zoom meeting,” Wierderman said.

Living in a dorm during COVID-19 can be scary, because the amount of people that could spread the virus is very high. Wiederman is taking all necessary safety precautions to slow down the spread. When he leaves his room, he has to have a mask on at all times when walking through his hall and to the dining hall.

At the dining hall, Wierderman gets the choice of dining in or takeout. If he chooses to eat at the dining hall, he has to wear a mask when he is getting his food, but once he sits at a table, he can take his mask off. The tables are spread far apart to insure that the virus won’t be transferred to others. Typically, Wiederman gets takeout.

“When you choose the takeout option, you have to wash your to-go box that you used before and give it back. Then, they will give you a clean one that they washed already, so that you could fill it up with food and take it back to your dorm,” Wiederman said.

To give Wiederman a change of scenery, he drives around Mount Pleasant to clear his mind. He likes to go to Starbucks at the Bovee University Center and study. His go-to coffee at Starbucks is an iced white mocha with a sweet cream foam on top, inspired by TikTok.

Former freshmen might say that inviting their friends to their dorm was something they always looked forward to on the weekends. Sadly, with COVID-19, rules have been stricter. Since Wiederman lives in South campus, he can only have people who live on South campus visit him. He is not allowed to have overnight visitors.

The possibility of getting COVID-19 from living in the dorms has scared Wiederman.

“I go home frequently on the weekends and I think about that if I get it, I could give it to my family. I’m pretty cautious where I keep to myself and wear my mask if  I’m around people,” Wiederman said.

Despite the changes of living in a dorm, Wiederman has a positive outlook. He thinks the people who live on his floor are very nice, and he doesn’t mind living on campus. Wiederman would most likely live on campus again for his sophomore year.

Not only is Wiederman’s freshman year different, his last two months of   high school didn’t end as expected.

“Graduating during a pandemic was weird because in a way, I felt like I didn’t finish high school,” Wiederman said.

In his hometown, Wiederman worked at a grocery store for over two years. During the early months of COVID-19, he saw the good and bad sides of people. He saw people who followed the rule of wearing a mask, yet he saw some people that disobeyed the mask rule. Wearing a mask for long shifts has been an easy adjustment for Wiederman. He’d rather wear a mask at work to save lives than not wear one and spread the virus. Since he has worked during the pandemic and now goes to a public university, a mask doesn’t bother him.

What Wiederman wants people to know about him is that he has a great sense of humor and loves to be social.

“Any chance that I get to have an interaction with someone, I’ll take it,” Wiederman said.

Wiederman has adjusted well with the new changes in his life. With that being said, he knows he can conquer anything in his future.