2 jobs, community service, 8 classes and the pandemic

Nov 23, 2020

Hailing from Portland, Jamaica, Terrecia didn’t imagine being in America during a historic deadly global emergency. 


As she wakes to the sound of her 7:30 alarm, Terrecia McPherson hesitantly checks her phone for positive updates regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic before she logs on to Zoom for the first of many classes at Claflin University.

She reluctantly escapes from her comfortable bed, while other students continue to log on, and prepares for a long day of work. Terrecia walks around her almost barren room to her door, where she lastly remembers to grab her mask before she goes to use the restroom.

Terrecia then returns to her room as her teacher is lecturing to a faceless and unresponsive class. She uses this opportunity to shower, brush her teeth and get dressed, and also check her email and WhatsApp messages. She describes her daily routine as “a way to wake me up and prepare my mind for work.”

Terrecia has had to formulate a routine based on all of her classes being online. She has overcome her innate desire to sleep through her classes due to her comfortable setting by committing to physical tasks to keep her active -- such as exercising. Terrecia also tries to stay active with schoolwork to take her mind off the ongoing pandemic.

Hailing from Portland, Jamaica, Terrecia didn’t imagine being in America during a historic deadly global emergency. “I never thought I’d be going to school here while a deadly virus ran amok.”

Regardless of the pandemic Terrecia is still happy to be back at school after it closed abruptly in the spring. “It’s just nice to be back after the uncertainty this year has provided.”

As a third-year student in the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, Terrecia is used to dealing with massive workloads. This semester -- with two jobs, community service, eight classes and the pandemic -- she credits her ability to juggle so many things to her hard work and perseverance.

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve been working with my mother to serve many roles. It has allowed me to adapt and work harder,” she said.

Born on Oct. 9, 1995, Terrecia also loves to engross herself in helping others, which is why she looked to work as a residential student and tutor this semester. Returning for her second year as an RA was unique as she helped students while the pandemic went on.

Describing her role, she said, “It’s still nice to help others to be safe, though I know I have to make sure I stay safe as well.”

Terrecia can’t recount the amount of masks and hand sanitizers she has gone through, though she states, “It’s been enough for a lifetime.”

Terrecia said the many COVID-19 tests she has taken since coming back to school have taken a toll. “It’s been really nerve wracking taking a test every week and wondering each time if this is it.”

She said this as cases have been rising around America and even on campus.

“I just hope we at least finish the semester, though I’m prepared for the worst,” she said, noting that she has an apartment off campus that she rented while waiting for school to reopen. “It does cost a bit, but with this pandemic I have to be prepared.”

With her classes, community service and tutoring being completely virtual, Terrecia understands the changes but cannot wait until things get back to normal.

“I can’t describe it but something about in-person activities engages me more than these virtual alternatives.”

Regardless, she is determined to finish this semester strong and overcome her current challenges.

“I know things are difficult right now, but things don’t last forever, and I’m sure this pandemic won’t last forever as well.”

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