Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Nolan Flavin



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Nolan Flavin was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Fenton on a farm with their mom and brother. When Flavin was six years old, their family moved to Manchester, a suburb of St. Louis, where they were homeschooled until college. Nolan did lots of volunteer work throughout high school, including tutoring special needs children at a school downtown. At 18, Nolan came out as bisexual and abandoned their religion. Flavin considers this their intellectual awakening. Nolan first began college at University of Colorado Boulder where they studied literature for two years until transferring to Columbia College Chicago in spring of 2019 to study film. At Columbia College Nolan is the vice president of The Art House, a film organization dedicated to screening experimental, foreign, and art house cinema, followed by discussions. Nolan also takes part in the Literary Buffs and was briefly involved with Columbia Voter Geniuses before ceased meeting due to COVID-19. Outside of class, Nolan does lots of writing and film making and is currently working on both during their self-quarantine. Flavin is expected to graduate from Columbia College Chicago in Fall of 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Film (Directing) and Literature.

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Columbia College Chicago




remote learning, relocation, home school, Missouri, film, literature, COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Arts and Humanities | Education | History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Columbia College Chicago student, Nolan Flavin, recounts their life as a homeschool student, explaining how this unique way of schooling shaped them as a social being when entering college and ultimately prepared them for their current living situation due to COVID-19. After transferring to Columbia College Chicago in spring of 2019, Flavin speaks on immersing themselves into the Columbia community and becoming active in multiple extracurricular activities. They tell of the many plans they had on their schedule prior to the transition to remote learning, including job interviews and volunteer work, only to be interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Flavin delves into the effect that the transition to online courses has had and could have on students and how it has affected them and their work and expresses their agenda of staying positive and not letting the small loses affect your daily mood. They reflect on the seriousness of the situation at hand and how the pandemic is affecting different people in different ways. Flavin describes the specifics of their experience with moving out of on campus housing and the issues that arose with such spontaneous changes. They then go into detail about how they are occupying their time and finding new ways to enjoy themselves even with such limited access to all the wonders St. Louis, MO provides. Flavin also tells of how they are receiving and consuming new information about the pandemic and the different sources in which this information stems from. They then describe how they think this will impact the lives of others their age and what kinds of lessons everyone around the world will learn from this strange and unnatural time. Finally, Flavin speaks on what things they took for granted before the outbreaks and teaches a lesson of contentment to those of us who, during this time, are much more fortune than others.

Conducted in spring 2020 by an Oral History: The Art of the Interview student, this interview with a fellow student in the class reflects on the pandemic and how it impacted their life. The interview is conducted based on the life history approach to oral history.

Interview with Nolan Flavin