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Spring 2020 and a Change of Pandemic Proportions

By Madison Kirk
IMC Student

Springtime in Oxford, Mississippi, is often thought to be the best time of the year, but in 2020 it turned into somewhat of a nightmare. No one expected a pandemic to end all on-campus activities in what seemed like a blink of an eye. Every student at the University of Mississippi was forced to make a change in their day to day life, but arguably the students hurting the most from these changes were the freshmen and seniors.

So many parts of the classic “college experience” are fulfilled in the spring, such as baseball season, the Double Decker Arts Festival, and spring parties hosted by the fraternities on campus. Mallory Kirk, a freshman at Ole Miss, did not get to experience any of these things.

Mallory was sitting in a terminal at Denver International Airport waiting on her flight home from spring break when she found out that Ole Miss would be extending spring break for a week in order to prepare to move all classes online.

“I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “After they started canceling sports and other activities around the country, it only seemed like a matter of time before they would tell us we weren’t coming back to school.”

Mallory lived in a dorm on campus. One of her biggest concerns was not being able to get to her belongings, because all she had with her was ski clothes from her recent spring break trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

“All I had packed was a couple outfits in my suitcase. I was kind of lucky though, because I have a friend who only had bikinis from her trip to Destin. At least I had actual clothes,” Mallory said.

Mallory’s family has a condo in Oxford, so her plan was to stay in town while she finished the semester online. When Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called for a shelter in place for the state, her parents urged her to come home and stay with the rest of her family. Mallory lives in a very rural area, so going back home from Oxford was quite an adjustment.

“I was not excited about moving back home. Our internet is not great, so finishing school online will be tough.” she said during the semester. “I was excited about having my mom to cook for the family instead of having to spend so much money eating out every night though.”

Spring parties were supposed to start happening almost every weekend after spring break, and Mallory was just as excited as anyone could be. She had already started picking out outfits and making plans with her friends many weeks before spring break.

“I feel like Ole Miss spring parties are a rite of passage here,” she said. “I had been looking forward to going to all of them since even before I started going to college, and missing a whole year of them is awful.”

Even though her first year of college got cut short, Mallory is glad that she has at least three more years to experience the spring semester in Oxford.

“There’s always next year, I hope. I’m just glad that if I had to get a semester cut short, I still have time left to do everything. At least I’m not a senior. I feel like I will appreciate everything so much more next fall.”

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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