The last few weeks for a college senior typically are filled with teary-eyed goodbyes, senior portraits, a final walk on campus, or attending luncheons and other activities for the graduating class, culminating in graduation.
This year is unlike any other. Many spring graduation ceremonies in Georgia have been canceled or postponed amid coronavirus concerns. Mercer University President William D. Underwood told students in an email to look for an update on the University’s commencement exercises in mid-April.
Senior Jackson Suggs said the COVID-19 pandemic made him face moving out and saying goodbye to Mercer sooner than he initially thought.
“I’ve got friends who I didn’t get to see before they left, who I’m not sure when or if I’ll see them again. It’s well beyond anyone’s control, but it doesn’t mean it feels fair to us,” he said.
But the Class of 2020 can still enjoy the time they’ve got left. Here are some ways to make the most out of your last moments as a senior in college while social distancing.
“The internet is forever” — that’s the phrase that’s been edged into all of our minds since the beginning of time. To some, this can feel daunting, but when it comes to maintaining connections with your peers in a time like this, it’s comforting to have social media at our disposal. Take this time to go back through the years and look at your old memories. Find the move-in pictures, the pictures of your very first cubby (ahem, I mean freshman dorm) or other fond memories, and memorialize them. Make a collage on social media, an album on Facebook or even a video on TikTok or YouTube to share with friends and family of the time you had as a Mercer Bear.
Write a thank-you note to all the professors or faculty members who have made an impact on your time here at Mercer. Did you make friends with the attendant at the POD? Did you develop a rapport with your favorite Caf employee? Thank them! Now, more than anything, people need closeness, positivity and validation.
Just because your time at Mercer is coming to an end doesn’t mean that your memories have to die with it. Think back — think back to any and every notable moment you’ve had here. Write about your highs, your lows, your mistakes, embarrassments, your favorite times with your friends or situations you’ve learned from.
With more and more Bears heading home early this semester due to COVID-19, it seems as though the main Macon campus has become pretty bare (ba-dum-tss!). Use this newly found time to spend time with your family. As our time as Mercer students approaches an end and we prepare to enter the workforce, some of us may be offered opportunities across state lines. Found a new recipe? Try cooking it for them (given that the necessary ingredients weren’t already raided from your nearby grocery stores).
Miss your college friends and roommates? Don’t worry, they miss you too. Luckily, in the digital era, there are ample ways to connect with them like never before. Platforms like HouseParty or Zoom make it possible to video chat groups of friends at once. The best part? You can see all of their beautiful faces while social distancing! For those of you missing your movie nights, we’ve got you covered. Video-sharing applications like Kast have made it possible to screen share, chat and video chat with loved ones while streaming your favorite videos, TV shows or movies. Netflix also offers a group streaming feature called Netflix Party that allows users to synchronize video playback and chat with their loved ones while watching their favorite shows or movies.
Think back long and hard. When was the last time you had this much time to yourself to breathe and become one with yourself? When will you get a chance to reset again? Take this time to relax, breathe and recharge. After spending hours working on graduate school applications or applying to hundreds upon hundreds of post-graduation jobs, all while working on a full course load of classes or working a part-time job, you deserve a break. Soon enough, you’ll be working a full-time job and wishing you took time when you had it.