Southern Miss students express hope for new school year

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Southern Miss students are once again experiencing what they thought would never return: in-person classes. 

Before classes began on Aug. 23, campus quickly filled with hopeful first time and continuing Southern Miss students. Over the last year, students have been faced with the unusual task of having classes completely online. Due to a high rise in COVID-19 cases, Southern Miss’s campus completely shut down during Spring 2020, forcing students to complete their classes online and faculty to work from home. 

Even though campus partially opened back up during Fall 2020, many were still stuck at home and completing fully online work. Campus during Spring 2021 was still fairly empty, even as the first rounds of the COVID-19 vaccines began to cross the country.

While it was a difficult transition, students are finally getting to see what the other side of the screen looks like now that campus has reopened. To see how people are reacting to campus opening back up, various students were surveyed about how their school year is going so far. 

When asked the question, “How has this semester differed from your last?”, a lot of the answers varied. For example, Kayiana Jasper, a freshman biological sciences major, says that this semester has been challenging for her.

“This semester has truly been different because I have basically been on my own trying to make sure I have everything and trying to adjust to adult life,” said Jasper. 

Jada Rose, a sophomore international business major, says that it has been difficult for her as well.

“It has been very hard trying to adjust going back to classes and balancing everything. It’s very different from just hopping on Zoom,” said Rose. 

However, not all of the reactions were negative. Myiesha Roberson, a junior journalism major, is thankful that classes are back in-person this year. 

“Since the pandemic, last semester I only experienced college online, and this semester I’m going in person, so it is a lot different,” said Roberson. 

Dylan Lisowski, a senior architectural engineering technology major, is equally optimistic about this year, which he believes will be great. 

“This semester has been a lot better. Being in person and seeing everyone on campus has made it a lot better,” said Lisowski.

Though there were a lot of disagreements about how this year is going, there were also a fair amount of commonalities. When asked, “What are your hopes for the rest of the semester?”, all the students surveyed had one common answer: a hope for campus to remain open, and a hope to do well as the year goes on.

“My hope for the rest of this semester is to not only do well in my classes and not only just study the material but know it from the heart,” said Jasper.

“I want to get more involved in some of the clubs and organizations on campus, also while maintaining my grades,” said Rose.

“My hopes are that classes stay in person, so that I don’t have to go back to online classes. I really came to college to make friends and I’d like to do that,” said Roberson.

“Last December I changed my major, so I want to get good grades and try not to mess up my plan,” said Lisowski.

While this school year does seem promising, COVID-19 is still an ongoing issue. If students are experiencing any COVID symptoms, they should report to the Moffitt Health Center for COVID testing. To keep the school year according to plan, students are advised to follow safety precautions and to get vaccinated.