Athens, OH 29 March 2020 –
A lot has changed since my last blog post, especially as far as the environment I now do my work in. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, more than likely, in multiple ways. Little did the Class of 2020 know that the week before Spring break would be our last day of classes on campus. Everything would change. The University would extend spring break by 1 week to allow professors time to transition their classes, all classes would go online, and we as students would have to adjust to a new virtual world.
This has been a big adjustment for me as I am a hands-on learner; that is why I chose ETM as my major. The majority of my classes have moved to Microsoft Teams to host lectures whether they pre-record them or host them as a normal class session. I really enjoy using Teams because we can easily interact with our professor and our classmates still keeping that community feel.
I also think the professors have really done their best to make themselves available as much as possible. I know my professors have an open-door policy; therefore, they have extended that virtually. Anytime, during business hours, you can connect with them over phone, or virtually through teams to get help! I think the faculty have done an amazing job doing whatever they can to support us students.
I have been quarantining at my Athens residence since my return from spring break. This has allowed me the opportunity for quiet space, but to still maintain that Athens feel. For those of you not in Athens I will provide you with some background. Typically, this time of year Athens is filled with students. The first warm day of spring hits and the greens fill with people. On South Beach you’ll see students playing volleyball, picnics, people playing frisbee and so much more. On West Green, students will place speakers in their dorm windows playing music outside. People will tan on the green, throw football, hang in their hammocks between light post, or sit under the cherry blossom trees. For once this is not the case. I can assure you the cherry blossoms are in full bloom because my sinus infection is coming on strong right on time!
Although there is not a lot of life on campus, there are still upperclassmen residing in their off-campus houses. The sound of music bumping from a speaker carries for at least a mile indicating there are people here. It never fails, to take a jog on the bike trail and see other fellow Bobcats doing the same. I can also assure you that the campus “dogs” or the deer are lively and healthy. On my walk yesterday, I passed a record breaking 12 deer all together!
Students, prospective students, alumni, and faculty: although life has changed drastically over this last month, the end is unknown, and negativity continues to spread. I challenge you to reflect and soak in something positive and share that, because I promise someone needs that right now.
I can assure you although the student body is missing from campus, the community, the beauty and the buildings are just waiting for us to return. Not only will the Class of 2020 have a unique celebration, but I am sure opening weekend and homecoming will be bigger than ever so we can celebrate the challenges we have overcome together as Bobcats and celebrate being back together again here at hOUme!