I think we can all agree that 2020 was a roller coaster of a year, in both good and bad ways. Leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic that sent us home last March, my freshman year had already been pretty tumultuous. After spring break, my year continued to be crazy, but with every low that came for me, there was a high that went along with it.
During the fall of my freshman year, I went through the club process and didn’t end up making it in a club, but I had some awesome opportunities during Club Week, including joining the newspaper staff and taking a ride on the Harding private jet. A few weeks later, us Cathcart Hall girls were told that we had a very short time frame to move out of our current room and find housing in a different dorm. My roommate and I ended up tucked away in a corner of Stephens Hall in a room that didn’t get any natural light, which was a big adjustment from our previous front lawn view. I gained weight because of the Yarnell’s ice cream bar in the cafeteria (R.I.P.) but I also was gaining some lifelong friendships. Overall, by the time my freshman year spring break rolled around, it was shaping up to be a pretty good year.
When I received the news that we wouldn’t be returning to Harding to finish the spring semester, I was pretty upset, as I’m sure all of you were. I had been practicing to do Spring Sing with women’s social club Pi Theta Phi, and I loved the people I was meeting and the energy and excitement that everyone involved had for the upcoming show. It was disheartening to think that all that practice wouldn’t be put to use. I was also disappointed that I was facing six months of a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend, as well as being a long drive from most of my friends from school. I did my best to stay caught up in my online classes but found that I struggled to learn from and pay attention to classes that came through my computer screen.
Over the summer, I worked two jobs because I was saving up to travel abroad on Harding’s Australasia trip during the fall 2020 semester. When the trip got canceled mid-summer, I was left trying to quickly arrange housing in Searcy and to register for different classes. My trip getting canceled was probably the moment it hit me that COVID-19 was probably going to be around for a while and that there was no telling what other plans in my life it was going to interrupt. That realization helped me mature spiritually with my ability to hand over control to God because it became clear that I never really know what’s going to happen with my plans.
Though it wasn’t Australia, I was incredibly happy to return to Searcy in August last fall. Some restrictions may have changed how we interact, but I am still so grateful that we had the opportunity to come back and be a part of the Harding community that we all love.