Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Christopher Donahue



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Christopher Donahue (he/his/him) was born in Bethesda, Maryland in December 2000 then raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Growing up, he did a lot of travelling with his parents to numerous cities throughout the country and took photos of all his experiences. While in high school, he realized that he had an appreciation for nature, Donahue believed that he should have a career in writing, photography, and film, After graduating high school in the spring of 2019, he decided to attend Columbia College Chicago for a degree in filmmaking in Fall of 2019. After the pandemic hit and Columbia shut down in Spring of 2020, Donahue had to return to La Crosse to stay with his parents and went through months to focus on his creations in film and to better his mental health. He was finally able to return to Chicago when schools reopened in Fall of 2020 and plans to graduate in Spring 2023.

Publication Date

Fall 2020


Columbia College Chicago




COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus


Arts and Humanities | Oral History | Public History | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Christopher Donahue describes his experiences and struggles he faced before and during the Age of the Coronavirus. He recalls different memories from all the stages of his education, and realizes how much his life changed after COVID-19 affected his life.

He shares stories about when schools across the United States went under lockdown and how he experienced relocating from Chicago during that time. Donahue expresses his political views and how he reacted to the Election of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter Movement. He says, “We all just kind of, you know, griped about whatever was going on and how the world was slowly falling in pieces but then we'd be like, you know, that's just how it is. And we'd go on. It was definitely a stressful political year, especially over the summer. But I grew closer with with a lot of my friends, I think it was just like we had a greater political understanding because this is our first election. So we're kind of really fully becoming political because we know that it really matters now.”

Donahue discusses ways of coping with depression and lack of motivation during such difficult times, “I just didn't really know what to do. Anytime I just kind of felt like stuck, and I didn't have an inspiration, either. That was the worst part like as an artist. I wanted to be able to do things and be able to like make things, but I just felt stuck. And thankfully, things are a lot better now.” He also talks about his mental health and explains it is okay to feel happiness or sadness in a negative and depressing time.

Conducted in fall 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 Christopher Donahue