Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Rachel McCumber



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Rachel McCumber was born in Lubbock, Texas. She attended Frenship Highschool in Wolfforth, Texas and graduated in 2017. She chose Columbia College Chicago and moved to the city directly after high school, where she intended to major in Theater Design. After her first year, she switched her major to Creative Writing with a concentration in Nonfiction. In March 2020, Columbia College Chicago sent out a statement informing students that classes would be moved online due to the pandemic, Covid 19, rapidly spreading across the country. McCumber lived off campus near West Loop in the Greektown area of Chicago. When classes were cancelled, she remained in the city in her apartment with her roommate. McCumber was let go by her job shortly after the school shut down and has not been able to work during this time. McCumber expresses her thoughts and opinions on the matter of the pandemic and the nationwide shut down within the interview: Capturing Quarantine 2020.

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Columbia College Chicago




creative writing, non-fiction, COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus

Creative Commons License

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


McCumber covers her worries and fears due to financial hardship which sprung up after her job closed. She details her hesitations about the fall semester and the repercussions of online classes. Balancing social distancing, zoom classes, and the need to provide a sense of stability are topics widely covered in the interview. McCumber also includes her thoughts and experiences on how well or unwell the school, her job, and the federal government handled the onset of the pandemic. McCumber reveals her motivations for moving from Lubbock, Texas to Chicago.Her last year at Columbia proves to be rather striking as the pandemic, Covid 19, sets in. McCumber worries about her final semester, which would be in the fall of 2020. How will the pandemic affect potential jobs? Will she be able to continue her schooling? Can she afford to make her tuition payments?

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 Rachel McCumber