Students are Thriving and Resilient Throughout the Turmoil of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Multimedia package produced by Alyssa Moncrief

Despite challenging circumstances and everchanging regulations, many Ole Miss students have used the global pandemic as a time to thrive, seek out new experiences, and take advantage of the silver lining of the experience. While some have used this time to start a new hobby or pursue an interest, others are participating in socially-distanced events to maintain as much normalcy as possible.

Through this multimedia package, COVID-19 is captured through the actions of various people learning how to live amidst a nationwide lockdown and the new way of life behind a mask.

OXFORD, Miss. -The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Ole Miss students go about their everyday lives-from homework to part-time jobs, to hanging out with friends-but has not deterred their resilience and dedication to making the most of their college experience.

Along with the cool weather and Christmas lights that the fall time in Mississippi brings about, the cases of COVID-19, which were originally relatively steady, have been exponentially rising.

“[The pandemic] is getting marginally worse…” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves claimed while adding numerous counties to the required mask mandate that has been extended through December 11.

“[Masks do] make a difference. It does have an impact.”

Oxford is facing a different challenge this time of year than most cities while also dealing with COVID-19: Ole Miss finals week.

The revised academic calendar cites November 24th as the last day of school, three weeks earlier than usual. Students have spent the semester completing schoolwork at an unprecedented speed with no fall break before finals. It is easy to see how many students could use these challenges to slack on schoolwork, resort to parties, and neglect the COVID-safe regulations.

For junior Kathleen Grennan, however, these challenges have ignited a fire in her to seek out greatness and academic success while also promoting staying at home.

“My mom has an autoimmune disease, which makes staying home, wearing masks, and washing my hands even more important to me,” Grennan said.

“Even though I’m at school, it’s not an excuse to be irresponsible and go to parties or bars and risk spreading the virus. I don’t want to be stupid, I want to do the right thing.”

Grennan has used her newfound freedom to pursue her passion for criminal justice, especially classes such as CJ345, Cold Case Investigations, and CJ210, Criminal Investigations.

“I’ve really used this time to make the best grades possible and discover what I want to use my degree for in the future,” she stated.

“I think I want to join the FBI and work with sex trafficking victims.”

Grennan is not the only person to use the COVID difficulties to her advantage. Square Magazine, the campus’s first student-run fashion magazine, has used virtual meetings and interactions to their benefit by securing speakers or features for stories from all over the world they would not normally have access to, such as Cara Brand, an event organizer at VOGUE Magazine, who has worked on the team that plans the Met Gala every year.

“It’s such a unique way to get in touch with so many people,” said Editorial Editor Haley Clift.

“Because everyone is working from home now, especially in cities where we contact people like New York City and LA, they are much more likely to respond and want to work with us.”

Despite COVID complications and concerns, the pandemic has created avenues for success and time for new pursuits for students at Ole Miss that they may not have had without the pandemic.