Senior sees positive in ‘bittersweet semester’

Nov 24, 2020

Claflin senior Tyra Ryan


Tyra Ryan thought she would be spending her last year as a senior on campus.

She was completely wrong.

Ryan, a senior mass communications major with an emphasis on journalism, attends Claflin University in Orangeburg, one of the many schools that had to shut down in March due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“Looking back at the past and seeing how much the pandemic has affected us is crazy. I didn’t think it would become this big of an issue and take so much away from us,” Ryan said.

Like many other students, Ryan lost the privileges that come with being a senior on campus as well as other amenities.

“The internship that I currently have was not actually intended to be virtual. I looked forward to spending my summer in California, but things definitely took another turn. COVID-19 also ruined homecoming because this time next year, I will be a Claflin University alumna and I am sure it will not feel the same. It’s a bittersweet semester,” Ryan said.

With not being able to return to campus for traditional learning in a classroom setting, Ryan was stuck with taking virtual online classes at home, which brought her even more stress during the semester.

“Online learning was harder compared to in-class learning because I felt that there were more assignments and things were more tedious. It was difficult keeping up with all of the forums for each class along with the actual assignments,” Ryan said.

Ryan tries her best to find healthy and fun ways to cope with stress and the pandemic.

“I really just made it a habit of incorporating ‘me time’ into my daily routine. I try to make a point to have a moment to unwind and relax. Most recently I spend my time reading, listening to music and/or just taking a nap,” Ryan said.

Ryan also looks to the scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” for reassurance that she will make it through her tough days.

Ryan feels that this whole ordeal could have been avoided if people would have taken it seriously to begin with and listened to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

“I feel that people should have stopped traveling as soon as it was mentioned. It is very frustrating because you see people continuing to travel outside of the country. They aren’t taking it serious and I don’t think people will take it serious until it affects them personally or they lose a loved one,” Ryan said.

She also feels the same way when it comes to citizens not wanting to wear masks.

“I’m totally fine with wearing a mask because I would rather do that than be sick and possibly lose my life. I think wearing a mask keeps everyone safe, but of course you have people who do not want to listen and people who don’t take it seriously and look at it as a joke when it’s not. This is real and people are losing their lives. Too many lives have already been lost,” Ryan said. 

Throughout the days of being stuck at home, social distancing and not being able to go on vacations or see family, Ryan was able to find one positive thing that came out of the pandemic thus far.

“I was able to take a step back and slow down. This time allowed me to appreciate the small things and not complain so much. Before the coronavirus, I was always on go or on the move because I was so focused on the goal I was trying to reach. I must admit that sometimes I would forget to just truly live in the moment,” Ryan said.

One of Ryan’s many goals is graduation and moving on to graduate school to pursue her next goal in life.   

“I am going to go to graduate school so I am able to gain more in-depth knowledge about publishing and editing books, and other types of media writing,” Ryan said. She wants to be a children’s book author and editor.

Ryan also has a dream of starting her own magazine business in the upcoming year, but right now she just wants to be academically successful and grow as a writer.

Ryan is trying to be as positive as possible while waiting for the new year.

“It has been a really long year that has consisted of a lot of bad, but I can’t ignore the fact that there has been some good. I am definitely looking forward to 2021 because I am hopeful that the pandemic will be coming to an end and things will be close to normal,” Ryan said.

At the end of day, Tyra Ryan is just thankful for the fact that she has not lost any friends or family to the coronavirus. She hopes this will soon blow over and society will go back to how it was prior to the pandemic. 

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