Effects of COVID-19 as a transfer senior

By BrenShavia Jordan | Reporter

Navigating life in the middle of a pandemic has brought many challenges and a new normal. However, in the midst of it all, I have learned to appreciate life and to be grateful for where the Lord has me. I have learned to trust the twists and turns, knowing I am submitted to a God who is in control of it all.

As a transfer student, I obtained my Associate of Arts Degree from McLennan Community College and I came to Baylor in the fall of 2019, excited to experience its traditions. The atmosphere of a university is completely different from what I was used to in the past and it has been great. The connections I have made and the joy that fills my heart every time I step foot on campus are things I will cherish forever. To say I am an extension of the Baylor family is a dream come true.

As a wife and mother of two, which I shared before in my column “You can succeed as a student parent,” I knew my college experience would be slightly different — but Baylor has always made me feel included. There were so many events I participated in that made me acquainted with the university very quickly. Through those events, I have been able to experience the traditions that are at the heart of Baylor, and that is what makes it so special.

Now, being a senior, I did not expect to finish my time here virtually. Since transferring, I have only completed one full semester on campus. I hope to make this semester number two, but with the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases, I know there is a chance this semester may be cut short like the spring semester. With a shift to a virtual experience, there is limited in-person activity, which makes it difficult to meet new people or hang out with the people I have met in the past. It is also hard to build new relationships 6 feet away with masks covering half of our faces. Most resource offices on campus are now limited to virtual meetings, which can sometimes be less personable. Lounges and study areas in some buildings are closed, which can be inconvenient. There is also a physical absence of professors and students that would normally be on campus because they are 100% online. I appreciate the university’s diligence in trying to keep the campus experience going, but it is still not the same.

In December, I would be preparing to walk across the stage at graduation, but unfortunately it has already been canceled. While sometimes I get sad because I have worked so hard to make it to this point, I find comfort in knowing this was all a part of the Lord’s plan. When I first transferred to Baylor, He already knew COVID-19 would come and things would change. There are times I feel like my college experience was cut short due to the current circumstances, but in those moments I replace those thoughts with positive ones. Instead, I am filled with gratitude that I am able to still be a part of this phenomenal institution.

I think about how wonderful my first semester was and all the new opportunities I was able to be a part of early on. I know it was all a part of the Lord’s plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I can rest in this scripture and know my time at Baylor went exactly as the Lord wanted it to go.

The good thing is that it is only September and my time is not done yet. I can continue this semester knowing that even though things look different my college experience is “my experience,” and I would not trade that for anything!