Seniors react to college experience ending early

During spring break, Virginia Wesleyan University announced they would be converting campus instruction to remote instruction. In the wake of COVID-19, the class of 2020 unexpectedly wrapped up their senior year early. 

The Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies that were to be held in May will be postponed to a later date. “I was looking forward to my ceremony being outside in the warm weather with my family and friends. But I guess a ceremony is better than no ceremony,” Jeritza Dejesus said.

Dejesus is a senior political science major at Virginia Wesleyan University with a German minor. One of Dejesus’ most memorable moments was participating in the NATO challenge. The NATO challenge is Virginia Wesleyan’s partnership with Norfolk NATO Festival and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Allied Command Transformation (NATO-ACT) which simulates real world issues faced by today’s NATO Alliance.

“The challenge I did with Dr. Antje Schwennicke was to pose as an ambassador of one of the countries. The country I was assigned was Latvia . From there, they gave us a real life issue in the present day, which happened to be about global warming and a new island being accessible [that] Russia planted their flag on without consulting with the rest of the world. This was an educational experience I will never forget,” Dejesus said.

Some graduating seniors will miss educational opportunities and events that were canceled due to the coronavirus. Students were looking forward to the opportunities for volunteer and educational experiences to add to enhance their senior year and make additions to their resume.

“The professors here definitely made my experience at college like I never imagined. Going to a small liberal arts school will help you build a close relationship with your professor,” senior Jayla Cross said.

Cross is a graduating senior at Virginia Wesleyan University with a criminal justice major and a psychology minor. “My favorite class would have to be anything with Professor Thomas Liverman. That man and his stories kept the class lively and criminal justice would not be the same without him,” Cross said.

“Being at Virginia Wesleyan these four years have been filled with countless emotions. From things around school changing to people graduating it’s always moving fast around here. Some of my favorite memories at VWU would be freshmen week during my freshman year. I was so happy about being in college and I did everything on the freshman week agenda,” Cross added. 

Cross stayed active in various clubs, organizations and was a part of the women’s track and field team. She is also the treasurer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness organization, a member of the Black Student Union, National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi, Naturalista, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and captain of the women’s track and field team.

“Another memory would have to be my sophomore year Outdoor ODACS. It was the best year we’ve had since I’ve been at the school. Everyone did such a great job and if they didn’t medal, they scored a point. We had our top finish in program history [for] men’s and women’s that year,” Cross said.

Senior student athletes were not able to have a senior night, or reach that one last milestone or record. Their season was cut short due to this pandemic and many seniors are mourning this sudden action. Also, due to the coronavirus pandemic all student activities were canceled, depriving students of annual events such as Spring Alumni Weekend, Spring Fling and Port Day.

Makiah Ellis