Courtesy of Michael Barera.

2020 without a doubt has been the craziest year some of us have experienced in a long time. At New Year’s we were all hopeful for the year ahead, anxious but excited to see what lies ahead in our future, and so far, I don’t think today’s reality is what anyone had in mind, including myself.

Before I started the spring semester, I was excited for another chance to reconnect with my Nacogdoches and SFA family alike. Each semester has presented a specific set of challenges and obstacles to overcome, and this one is certainly no exception. Nonetheless, it certainly hasn’t failed to be a great semester,  

No matter what semester it is, Fall or Spring, the first day of classes is always an exciting one. There is a certain vibe around the SFA campus that you can only feel on the first day, and throughout my time there I have yet to be able to describe it. It’s a one of a kind feeling that only Lumberjacks would understand.

As the semester went on, Valentine’s Day came and went, we struggled through midterms but really the only thing anyone could think of was Spring Break. Every year around this time everyone talks about their Spring Break plans and getaways. Some choose to catch up on sleep, others decide to take a mini vacation to another part of the country or the world and there are those, like myself that decided to earn an extra buck and go to work.

Spring Break was supposed to last only one week and so we packed accordingly, only taking back what we needed and leaving everything behind including textbooks and the like. After all we would only be gone for one week, everything will be there just as we left it.

At this point the Coronavirus was gaining worldwide attention and spread and it was becoming a major public health threat here in the US with several colleges and universities taking action against the spread of the disease. However, we planned and believed we were coming back in a week’s time or maybe after an extension to our Spring Break to help slow the spread of the virus, but man was that far from the truth. 

On March 12th, SFA released information regarding the plan for the rest of the semester. In person classes were canceled and everything was moved online or some sort of distance learning format beginning the following Wednesday with the plan to resume in person instruction on April 6th, though a week later they announced that classes would remain online for the remainder of the semester, all events canceled and Commencement postponed.

This information caught all of the SFA community by surprise and in the aftermath of these decisions the SFA community showed courage, determination, resilience and living the SFA way.

All of us were forced to change our daily lives. We no longer walked to class or met with friends, we simply turned on our computers or phone and logged on to Zoom. We were no longer within the confines of the campus classrooms but instead our bedrooms, living rooms or kitchens. We adapted to a whole new world and style of learning, one that is easy for some but difficult for others but the effort and commitment that went into this process is nothing short of admirable for the students and staff alike.

While some may be quick to criticize that some things could have gone better or things should have been done differently, it is important to note that with the time available and the magnitude of the situation we were forced to handle I think that in itself is worthy of a round of applause.

So, as the semester comes to an end this was definitely an unexpected ride, but we persevered, and we made it to the end! Axe’em Jacks!