Column: It’s important to remain hopeful during the pandemic


Sela Ricketts
Oxford Stories

I am a sophomore integrated marketing communications major at the University of Mississippi, who is now back in my childhood home in Greenwood living off of matcha and fishsticks. I am here with my parents, younger sister and tiny dog – happy to be home, but I just want this to be over.

I first heard about the COVID-19 virus in early January when we were first getting into the spring semester. I have been following this story since it was announced in the United States as a new sickness in a Chinese marketplace.

At first, I had hoped that the strict rules and regulations in China would quickly eradicate this new disease. However, once it started rapidly spreading to other countries, I knew it would make to the United States, and it did. 

Now, it is a waiting game. Everyone is sitting in their homes, bracing for the storm, bored out of their mind. I am one of those people.

Usually, I’m OK with staying home. That’s what I did in Oxford. I like being at home, and I’m not really lonely because I’m with my family, but I’m still bored, nonetheless.

I want to be able go to concerts, hang out with other family members and friends, and go to the theatre, or not feel like I need to go through a 30-minute decontamination process after I go to the grocery store. 

This is a picture of my dog. Photo by Sela Ricketts
This is a picture of my dog. Photo by Sela Ricketts.

I have been consuming media content that looks interesting. I started to rewatch shows like “Psych” and “iZombie,” and I have had YouTube channels like Polygon, Game Grumps and Katherine Steele playing continuously for the past few weeks.

I have also picked up weird hobbies and obsessions – anything from obsessing over Japanese vending machines to reading ancient Egyptian. I watched “Now You See Me” one night, and now I know how to throw cards.

I am doing all these things while the thing I’m supposed to be doing, my homework, is being pushed aside. I am pretty disciplined most of the time, but there is a reason I don’t take online classes. If I don’t go to the class, my brain can’t get into the lesson.

I’m getting my work done, but I am waiting until the last second, and my work suffers. I don’t need that anxiety right now.

Even though this situation is stressful and terrible, and I don’t want to belittle the heartache and loss that people are going through, I’m very grateful for this experience.

I am with my family, and I am grateful for the extra time I have with them. I love having this time to draw and play video games with my sister and be with my dog.

On a bigger scale, I feel like this is the universe telling us to chill out. There are so many things we need to work on, and I feel this has given us a chance to work on them. I just hope we do.

This is a photo of a field. Photo by Sela Ricketts

This will probably wake people up to the things that need fixing, like the healthcare system. Since we have retreated into our homes, the environment is getting better. The waters of Venice are clear again, and the air has cleared in many places.

We are now more aware of how much work goes into anything, and we will hopefully be more appreciative. People are listening to the professionals and mostly taking their advice.

I love the togetherness people have shown and little things people have done to make this experience a little more bearable. They are singing, dancing and donating what they can. They are using their creativity. I don’t want that to stop even though there is a high possibility it will. 

I am a big fan of Emily Dickinson’s poems. I have always thought they were fascinating. My favorite is Poem 314: Hope is the thing with feathers. The first stanza goes:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the melody –
And never stops – at all –

This is what I feel we, as a human race, have embodied during this pandemic. It’s nurses, doctors and service men and women working for a better tomorrow. With this hope, I believe everything will be OK. 

Sela Ricketts
Sela Ricketts

Sela Ricketts, 21, is a sophomore integrated marketing communications major with a minor in business and art. She was born in Portland, Maine, but grew up in Oxford and Greenwood, Mississippi. She came to the University of Mississippi to continue the line of Ole Miss grads in her family and study marketing. She currently works as a social media manager for her parents’ restaurant, Fan and Johnny’s.

In high school, she was co-president of the yearbook committee. She was part of the team that organized layouts, designed the cover and collected money for the yearbooks. She has been active in theatre arts since she was 9 and has been stage manager and director for multiple productions, including Ragtime and Suddenly, Last Summer

After college, she plans to go to graduate school for graphic design and work in the field creating brand identities and logos. 

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