Culture / Newsy

How Generation Z Deals With the Coronavirus Pandemic — PaperCity‘s Interns Detail Their Remote Summer Lives

Interning When No One is in the Office

BY // 07.16.20

PaperCity‘s interns are working remotely this summer from their childhood homes until they head back to college. Generation Z is experiencing a national pandemic for the first time ever (like almost all the rest of us) — and they definitely have a lot to say about it. Read on as these young adults detail how they’re coping and spending their summer days in their own words.

Nicole Betts

I’m excited to be interning with PaperCity again this summer. I’m currently studying journalism at The University of Texas at Austin and plan to graduate with the Class of 2022.

Nicole Betts, Class of 2022
The University of Texas journalism major Nicole Betts returns to PaperCity for her second internship.

One of my fondest memories from growing up is making home-cooked meals with my older sister, mom and dad. Once I became a busy college student, I often missed preparing and enjoying home-cooked meals with my family.

With my spring semester of college cut short due to COVID-19, those days returned as I moved back to Houston.

I have been in a staying at home extended ‘family’ group with my friend Madeline, along with her younger sister, Rosalind, and her father and mother, David and Evelyn Coats. Madeline’s family also loves cooking and eating dinner together.

Nicole Betts’ “family” dinners during COVID-19

Recently, we prepared a Coats family favorite: leak tortellini pasta served with grilled carrots and fruit salad. David fires up the grill outside and flips the carrots until they are smoky and charred.

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Inside, Evelyn brings the pasta water to a boil and chats with her daughters and me about our day. The daughters contribute to the meal by mixing up a seasonal spinach salad topped with strawberries, blackberries and roasted almonds. As a family, we place this wonderfully homestyle meal on the table. On gorgeous Houston evenings, we all enjoy dinner outside (even in the heat).

Generously welcoming me into their cozy home, Madeline’s parents treat me like a daughter of their own. At dinner, David and Evelyn — ophthalmologists at Texas Children’s Hospital — offer advice about how to stay safe during the pandemic.

Like many families right now, the Coats family is happy to spend this time with their daughters, who are both home from college for the summer.  Surrounded by a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, savoring a homemade meal in the confines of a happy home makes me feel not only safe but fortunate to have a roof over my head.

Sasha Vermeil

I attend the University of Texas (Class of 2022) and am majoring in arts and entertainment technologies.

Intern Sasha Vermeil is a rising junior at The University of Texas at Austin studying arts and entertainment technologies
Sasha Vermeil is a junior at The University of Texas at Austin, studying arts and entertainment technologies.

During the peak of COVID-19 isolation, my mom and I were going stir-crazy and decided to go for a walk around our neighborhood.  As we strolled through West University, the streets were filled with people from the neighborhood: bikers, families, runners. I had never seen this many people walking out and about in my community.

As my mom and I were walking, we came upon “The Art House.”

Sasha Vermeil fondly remembers “The Art House.”

From a distance, I thought it had been vandalized, but as we walked up closer, we realized it was covered with inspirational quotes, children’s names and artistic paintings. Compared to the other homes on the street, it was hard to miss, as its vibrant colors strongly contrasted with the typical neutral-toned houses around it.

In a time of severe stress, boredom and chaos, the owners of this house decided to let the West U community release its anxiety and agitation into a creative, colorful masterpiece.

Inspirational quotes such as “Be Happy!” and “Tell the stories of the mountains you climb: your story could be a page in someone’s survival guide” were painted on the house to remind and uplift everyone who happened to pass by it.

My mom, younger brother and I contributed to the house one day, and we all found it entertaining, as this was something we wouldn’t normally do together. I often drove by the house and thoroughly enjoyed seeing its evolution over time, but when I returned recently, it had been torn down.

I think this house symbolized my community standing strong together in a time of uncertainty and fear, then being destroyed as we began to venture out and continue life.

Luany Van-Dunem Maiato

Activist Luany Van-Dunem Maiato is interning this summer at PaperCity magazine as a poet.

Poet and activist Luany Van-Dunem Maiato with the Reverend Al Sharpton

In Houston, Luany is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and participated this summer in the peaceful protests in memory of George Floyd.

Luany Van-Dunem Maiato’s “Stay Safe Houston,” photographed by Andrew Youngblood.

Krzysztof Kwiatkowski

I’m currently studying marketing at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and plan to graduate with the class of 2021.

Intern Krzysztof Kwiatkowski studies marketing at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and plans to graduate with the class of 2021
Krzysztof Kwiatkowski studies marketing at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and plans to graduate with the class of 2021.

I am a photographer and have lived in Houston for most of my life. I could not be more proud to represent my city through my photos. Houston is such a unique place, with a wealth of images to preserve on camera. I like to capture the culture, various cuisines, art and the beautiful architecture of the downtown skyline in this international and diverse city.

Krzysztof Kwiatkowski’s “Downtown”
Krzysztof Kwiatkowski’s “Downtown”

I have been learning about photography since my junior year of high school and have developed a strong passion for it. I’m very excited to see where it takes me in the future, along with my marketing degree. I hope to combine the creativity of both skills to succeed in whatever path I choose in life.

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