By Jessica Bishop
Madeline Pulliam, a Trevecca freshman, was sitting in her car in front of Georgia Hall, thinking she only had to grab a few more days’ worth of clothes before heading her way back home in Kentucky. Moments later, she found out she wouldn’t be returning to campus for the rest of the semester.
“I realized my life would go from getting to see everyone and hangout anytime I want, every time I wanted to, to having to go back home and being ripped apart from everybody and it not being that easy anymore,” said Pulliam.
Students, and faculty and staff, are dealing with the reality of shifting from living in community to online classes, meetings and activities. Trevecca, on March 17, announced the semester would be finished online because of guidance from government officials about how to handle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Friendships, and romantic relationships, require creativity to thrive during this time.
“I was super sad that I was not going to be able to see Kristen,” said Trevecca freshman Riley Anderson about his girlfriend Kristen Jones, a Trevecca freshman. The pair became official early in this 2020 semester. “She’s been an awesome part of my life and living in a completely different state is pretty hard.”
Others have found socially distant ways to date.
“We had a picnic outside and sat six feet away from each other,” said Trevecca sophomore Emma Colley, as she continues to date with social distancing in mind.
Trevecca staff is mourning the fact that because the decision to move to remote classes was made over spring break, they didn’t get to say goodbye to students.
“For us as staff, even though we’ll be able to connect in some ways, we didn’t get to say goodbye [to our students],” said Megan McGhee, director of new student programs.
For instance, Link groups, for the Life Calling and Purpose course in the fall, typically meet up once more in the spring to catch up with their mentors, peer mentors, and peers but that will no longer be happening this spring as students will not be returning on campus.
“I have been in touch with all the mentors and peer mentors, encouraging them to reach out with their groups virtually,” said McGhee. “I’m really encouraging our mentors and peer mentors to find creative ways because we won’t have the opportunity to maybe meet in person again but to encourage those leaders to think of ways to still be touching base with you all as freshman.”
Professors have found creative ways in keeping in touch with their students through technology.
“I have set up a private Facebook page; I don’t force any of [the students] to be in it. I have invited all the students in the [Intro to Biblical Faith] class to send me a friend request on Facebook and when they do, I send them an invite them to that page,” said Michael Jackson, associate religion professor. “Every day or every other day, I upload a video and just sort of tell them what’s going on in my life, ask them how they’re doing, or anything at all. I’ve also encouraged them to upload videos themselves.”
In spite of challenges, McGhee said she’s been impressed with every aspect of the community at Trevecca.
“I think we have seen not only faculty, staff, and administration really step up in an incredible way which is just great leadership, but we’ve also seen our students really step into this uncertain time and showing up to classes and encouraging one another through social media,” she said. “It’s just so great to see that even though we aren’t in person with one another, the Trevecca spirit and community is continuing to support and influence one another in positive ways.”