Over the past week, we have experienced a lot of firsts. As a community, we experienced our first week of online instruction. Many of us have gone through our first encounters with new practices like social distancing and, perhaps, quarantine. We received the first of many emails from professors saying, “Things are going to be different now.”
In the middle of an unprecedented time for Harding, I find myself reflecting a lot on the lasts as well as the firsts. It’s hitting me especially hard as a senior on course for graduation in May. I can’t help but mourn the lasts that I didn’t even realize were passing — my last Spring Sing rehearsal; last club function; my last morning to wake up with my roommates.
I thought The Bison was going to have five more printed issues before I had to say goodbye. I thought we had five more deadline nights. I’m sad — we don’t. Volume 95 of The Bison has seen its last physical distribution, and I didn’t know until it was too late.
Over the past two weeks, we have been hit with breaking news story after breaking news story. In a way, it’s energizing. We go into full-on work mode, asking questions, finding answers, writing, seeking, communicating. It’s fast and kind of exciting.
But when the story is uploaded — when the dust settles — I’m often left feeling drained. With Thursday’s announcement of the final cancellation of on-campus classes for my last semester, I feel more exhausted than ever before in the wake of breaking news.
As much as I complained about late Wednesday night deadlines, I would love one more. Even though those stacks of papers were heavy, I would happily tote them across campus if it meant I got to see one more printed edition. I would even gladly have people ignore us as we try to hand out The Bison after chapel on Fridays. I didn’t appreciate those moments enough as they happened.
I am heartbroken over the unexpected end of my time in the Student Publications office, but I am also reminded that there is still work to be done and a community to be served.
Printed editions of The Bison are on pause for the rest of this school year. That’s sad, but it doesn’t mean that communication is paused. It doesn’t mean that our job is finished.
I’ve stated before that the primary purpose of The Bison is to inform the community, and the secondary purpose is to record history. Even in a time that is unlike any Harding has experienced before, we still exist to serve these purposes. The need may be even greater now.
With that realization, we got back to work. Our process looks different now; some of our staff members’ roles have shifted, and some of our content will be different from now on. However, our purpose remains the same. We are here to inform and record history. I also hope we can help connect our community as we go through a new period of being separated across hundreds of miles.
A few weeks ago, we experienced our last in-office deadline. This week, we encountered our first remote deadline. Instead of being surrounded by teammates and music in the Student Publications office, I was surrounded by old family photos and packed away Christmas decorations in my family’s home office. It was a new experience, and I miss how things used to be. That’s OK. As we reflect on the lasts, we’re allowed to be sad.
However, we must also embrace the firsts and make the most of them. Life itself hasn’t stopped; it’s just been altered. Our patterns may be different now, but our purpose and passions remain the same.
Thank you all for sticking with The Bison during this time. We promise we’re sticking with you.