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Co-Op During a Pandemic: Ritzhaupt ’23

When I began at Antioch College, I had no idea what my first co-op would be.

I went through my Fall and Winter quarters in close contact with the co-op department, knowing I didn’t want to travel far, but not knowing what exactly I wanted to do. It came to me in an epiphany one night – horror stories. As a creative writing major with little actual creative writing to my name (past “novels” written as a young teen), it could be a good start to getting my work out, and something I could do from anywhere.

My friend and colleague Loretta Philip, ’23, was also searching for a close to home co-op that he could do, and so we decided to collaborate. I would be writing around a dozen short horror stories about campus, with Jacob creating corresponding illustrations. Together, we could create a book, physical copies of our work.

Ever since coming to Antioch, I’ve heard tales of what allegedly haunts the place. After a class I took in my first quarter that included interviewing staff and students about ghost encounters, my interest in Antioch’s long and varied history with the supernatural was piqued. Rather than directly taking ideas from already-existing stories, however, I wanted to come up with my own.

For my process, I started by writing down every building on campus – the setting for all of these stories – and narrowing it down to 10-12 buildings. I mostly chose older buildings, or ones that I’ve heard prior spooky stories about from those involved with Antioch. I typically write late at night, drafting and re-drafting ideas until I can come up with something more solid. I’m interested in unique formatting and micro-fiction, so most (if not all) of these stories are under 100 words. I write using pen and paper, but once I’ve made my final draft, I transfer it to a digital form and share with Jacob.

Since I was doing a self-designed co-op, I was able to adapt and change how my co-op was set up. Less face-to-face time with Jacob and our advisor was a bit of a downer, but it was a relatively smooth transition for me from one plan to the next. I was (and am) able to work from home while socially distancing, writing weekly for my half of the book, as well as having time for developing other skills.

Additionally, since I do not work for an organization or employer of any kind, I have more freedom. I am able to choose for myself when I want to work, in a place where I am comfortable. I was unsure of what this first co-op would be, but I’m happy with what it is. It’s flexible, fun, collaborative, and something I love.

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S. Quinn Ritzhaupt is a fourth-year student, majoring in Archival Preservations at Antioch College. A history lover since childhood, she has found her place in the College's archive, Antiochiana, and currently works at the Olive Kettering Library and as the editor of The Record. Outside of classes, she is the co-coordinator of Chess Club at Antioch, and can often be found boring her friends with stories of Antioch's past.

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