Column: Stay safe and remember to do your part

Oxford. Photo by Evan King

Evan King
Oxford Stories

Covid-19 has shaped our country so much in so little time. I was shocked by the dramatic nature that transpired during spring break – schools being moved to online classes, and even temporary closures of businesses.

The one thing that can be said, however, is that the administration at the University of Mississippi took the precautions needed at the most opportune time to make sure we as students did not see the worst of Covid-19.

As a student, I am incredibly grateful for this. However, I want to talk about how life has changed around us and what we can do to get back to a new normal.

My life has changed so much since the announcement during spring break that Covid-19 was going to extend the break another week to move courses online. The move online first made me hesitant because how can I manage 16 hours of online courses that I never intended to take online?

The University of Mississippi did everything possible to make sure that I could continue to learn and succeed all from the comfort of my home.

Unlike most students, I chose to stay in Oxford during the Covid-19 crisis. I wanted to do my best in practicing social distancing, and not endangering any of those close to me by staying confined in my home. This is the change we all have had to experience. We have to move forward, but we are hesitant in everything we do.

Lyceum. Photo by Evan King

Not knowing has been the biggest thing to overcome as a 21 year old. I am not the only one who feels this way. Most Americans during this crisis do not know if they should go overboard to prevent the disease or can they get by doing the small things?

The one thing I think we can do as community members is to do the little things that are asked of us. We need to consistently wash our hands, and practice social distancing by staying indoors with roommates or your family. It is just that simple to help start a decline of this virus.

I feel, as a society, we started taking a lot of things around us for granted – realizing the impact we were making on the planet, causing it to be depleted of natural resources. Due to this virus, however, many people are making strides to limit travel and even begin gardening.

Changes like these is what makes me think that maybe there will be a lot of good to come from all this social distancing and new healthy habits. People are getting creative.

Have you noticed the increase in people running in parks? Or maybe noticing a lot of families doing renovation work and spring cleaning in their home?

These little things are giving so many families the ability to get chores done that were needed, but they did not have the time to do. Being able to get a “reset” could lead families to get back on track and promote their mental and physical health. 

Cleaning a garage that has been trashed for years or emptying a shed and transforming it into a space you can use each day – this will promote your mental health because you have one less thing to worry about. Completing tasks that were looming over me has always made me feel more accomplished.

The idea I want readers to really grasp is that not everything about what is happening is negative. Sure you do not get to visit your friends and attend swchool on campus. However, you will be back before you know it, and you will have been practicing healthy habits to benefit your time at the University of Mississippi.

Indoor Practice Facility at Ole Miss. Photo by Evan King

Take this time you have now, and look forward to what we still have ahead of us. 

Before you know it, you will be back in the Grove walking to class, and cheering on the Rebels in the Vaught and the Pavilion. Even though we did not get to experience Swayze for long this year, we have next season to be in right field.

Even if it was your senior year, do not be upset about not being able to finish like everyone else. You are always welcome back as an alumni, and coming back will remind you of all the great memories you made while being at Ole Miss.

We are experiencing something that will be put into the history books. It is not a bright time, and it can seem gloomy. However, change your frame of mind, and look at what you can do to continue moving forward. Find something to make your life the easiest it can be for when we return to the new normal.

The new normal is so close, and Oxford is waiting for its students to return. I am excited to see what Ole Miss has to offer for the rest of my academic career. Memories are there, and there are some still waiting to be made.

To that I say Hotty Toddy! Stay safe and remember to do your part.

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