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News of Otsego County

the semester of living dangerously

Diary Of The Plague Year
SUNY Oneonta Students Share Fears, Hopes

Diary Of The Plague Year

Edited By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Last March, SUNY Oneonta sent students home. Amidst massive disruption, Adjunct History Professor Ann Trainor was struck by the historic nature of the event. She encouraged her students and others to record diaries of their experiences.

Reading through these diary entries a year later feels like time travel, the experiences familiar while the perspectives seem naïve.

“I really thought we were going to come back to Oneonta at the end of March and this hysteria would be over,” student Maggie McCann wrote in mid-April. In July, looking back at her earlier entries, she commented that it “felt like it was written in a different decade, so much has happened since.”

Trainor collaborated with historians, librarians and others to create a blog-style website, “The Semester of Living Dangerously,” for the housebound campus. In the summer, with more than 100 diary entries, essays, poems and other writing shared, the organizers extended the project.

The blog continues to grow, and will be edited into an academic book to be published by SUNY Press in 2022. Below are a few excerpts from hundreds on the website.

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