I started my last semester at Mississippi State in January. I knew it would fly by faster than I could imagine, but I never could have imagined what would happen right around Spring Break. After countless assignments, exams, events, and more in the first two months of the semester, I was ready for a much needed, refreshing Spring Break. I stepped off the Famous Maroon Band bus after leaving the women's basketball SEC Tournament, and I was so excited to have a fun, relaxing week with no school or work distractions. Little did I know, one of the biggest distractions we have ever experienced occurred.
As we all know, COVID-19 turned our world upside down this semester and over the past few months. Schools were closed, plans were halted or cancelled, cities were disturbed, and people were frantic. What would happen? Would we be okay? Would I get sick? What about my family? Would I graduate? So many things began to float through my mind, but I knew I had to live in the moment and focus on the things I could control, not what I had no control over.
One of my biggest concerns was finishing school. I had worked so hard for the past four years to walk across the graduation stage and shake Dr. Mark Keenum's hand after showing him my commemorative coin I received at Freshman Convocation in the fall of 2016. This moment was supposed to be so special and something that I would cherish forever.
We all know that MSU enforced online classes for the remainder of the semester. I had mixed feelings about this switch. I didn't sign up for online classes. I was supposed to be in a classroom Monday through Friday, and I was supposed to see my teachers, friends, and classmates every day. Would it be harder? Would I still learn what I was supposed to learn?
In my opinion, MSU did a terrific job with the switch from traditional to online classes. The staff and administration provided us students with ample resources, and lots of materials to get through this tough time. The professors and faculty were so accommodating and easily accessible, even though we were out of the classroom. When I was so discouraged and worried, Mississippi State stepped up and showed us the care and support we needed as students to finish out the semester strong.
I didn't get my traditional graduation, but I was able to enjoy an online version with my family and friends in the comfort and safety of my home. MSU has even stated that we will get the opportunity to participate in the December graduation ceremonies.
Throughout the past few months, I have learned so many things about myself. I have learned patience and flexibility, and I have realized that not knowing what the future holds is okay. Not all hope was lost this semester - I still completed my classes; I was able to receive my scholarships and refunds; I was still able to graduate and obtain a degree from Mississippi State University. This past semester was different than any other semester I have ever had at Mississippi State, but it was definitely a semester I will never forget.