Yvonne Hartridge’s New Normal
By Melanee Terry
University of Maine at Presque Isle student Yvonne Hartridge is a people person. But after having her senior year moved online, her athletic season cancelled, and her work as an RA shifted long distance, the Bronx, New York native is looking for new ways to spread her positivity.
When UMPI moved classes online, they also told students in the residence halls to head home because of the COVID-19 health emergency. As a student leader on campus and in the dorms, Yvonne assisted her residents with whatever they needed as they made their way out of the residence halls and back home. Naturally, she was overcome with emotion while helping with her residents and dealing with the stress.
“I not only had to deal with how I was feeling with this situation, I also had to help residents cope with it all. I felt very overwhelmed during those key couple of days when trying to get information out to people, helping others pack to go home and trying to understand how my senior year academically and athletically was over,” she said.
As an active member on campus, Yvonne thrives on socializing with friends, faculty, and staff at UMPI. Anyone who has lived on campus the past few years knows Yvonne and the positivity she brings. Whether she is smiling or singing, she is spreading joy wherever she goes. Since the outbreak, she can no longer socialize as she would on campus since she is at home, so she has had to resort to other options, such as texting and Facetime calls.
On top of this and having her athletic season cancelled, Yvonne has had to adapt to a new lifestyle as an Exercise Science major, which is a very physical field of study. Many classes in the program are taught through hands-on experiences and learning techniques.
“With classes going online, it’s hard for us because a lot of the work is hands-on. We do a lot of palpating in class and learning how to use different rehabilitation techniques. Going online makes it hard to be able to do that, but I am sure our professors will do the best they can to provide a great learning experience for us during this time,” she said.
Yvonne’s move back home is like many other students; it doesn’t just affect her, it impacts the whole family. Many people are working from home, K-12 students around the country are taking online classes, and households are now full because of coronavirus. Yvonne’s father Ronald Hartridge, spoke about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected their family.
“The two most significant effects of the situation on my daughter are her not being able to play softball and participate in graduation as a senior. Also, having key people of influence like Aaron Marston, Barbara Blackstone, Coach Alissa Edwards, her teammates, and the positive environment she enjoys at UMPI prematurely ended was a large pill to swallow,” he said. “We are a close knit family and, fortunately, the only change for us is having her home earlier than expected. If anything, Yvonne’s attitude, while a little sad, has proven to be very mature regarding her circumstance.”
Since coming back home, Yvonne has found positive things to do, including spending time with family, photography, reading, and catching up with her studies. Despite living in the center of a hotspot in the Bronx, the Hartridge family is staying hopeful and positive.
Instead of attending graduation in May, like any other senior in the past, Yvonne will celebrate her graduation at home.
“It is my senior year and to know that all of the events I was looking forward to could not happen really impacted me harshly,” she said.
But like many others around the world, Yvonne is still working hard every day to adapt to her new normal. And she says staying positive and finding ways to connect help a lot.
“I would have never imagined in a million years that something like this would happen to me or anyone else,” she said. “In this situation, it can be very hard to stay focused and motivated, so I know that, for me, I am making sure to stay close with my loved ones and better myself in ways that I haven’t been able to before.”