When I sit back and reflect on 2020, I feel relieved that we’re starting a new year. The impact of the pandemic has spread far at Millsaps, affecting the music department, Greek life, and even the Purple & White itself. However, I am excited to share the goals and New Year’s resolutions from faculty at Millsaps.
Dr. Stacy DeZutter, a psychology professor, had to rearrange her teaching style.
“I am used to coming into class with a plan and then completely changing my plan if it’s not working for my students. It’s a lot harder to do that over Zoom because I have to figure out all the technology before I can do even the simplest class activity.”
As a professor, her biggest hope for the new year is that others realize how important education is.
“Not just for preparing for a particular job, but for helping us understand our world and become the people we want to be.”
Dr. Glen Wood teaches in the Communications Studies Department and claims that “adaptation has become ever more important” to society and the classroom. From the pandemic, he learned to find ways while adjusting to certain strategies to help keep students engaged.
For Dr. Wood, his resolution is to “develop a strong connection to the community on campus and the City of Jackson.” There is no doubt that the pandemic has challenged this opportunity. Luckily, the Communication Studies Program and Student Life worked together to overcome this challenge. They put together a film screening series that gives students a socially distanced space to enjoy films as a community.
Unfortunately, not all programs and departments were able to adapt as easily. Dr. Rachel Heard describes how the pandemic has turned the performing arts world upside down. Every aspect of performances had to change for COVID-19. The performances and musical events came to a complete stop. According to Dr. Heard, “all singing and playing of wind instruments had and have been deemed too dangerous, one of the deadliest means of spreading the disease.”
As a student in the Millsaps choir, I understand how challenging this was for the music department. I had to teach myself how to sing properly over Zoom and I spent hours recording for a virtual performance. Dr. Heard described this, stating, “[it is a] new, fun way of sharing music. However, as a musician, recording and presenting these types of performances is not the same as hearing the music live, both as a performing musician and as an audience member.” It doesn’t replicate the experience you receive when creating music together.
In retrospect, Dr. Heard places a new value on human interaction. “Once this is all over, the world will be craving for music and all preforming arts again.”
Like the music department, Greek life struggled with COVID-19. John Fenner, Coordinator for Campus Life, states, “it was difficult to imagine fraternity and sorority membership minus social events and other in-person gatherings.” The pandemic has led Greek organizations to direct their attention to true brotherhood and sisterhood. They have come together to find ways to take on this challenge and form online events. For this semester and the future, Fenner hopes that “this re-focus will continue to be transformative and deepen the fraternity/sorority experience for all, even after the pandemic.”
As a staff reporter for the Purple & White, I’ve found it easier to interview over email and Zoom but have lost the experience of interviewing someone in person. Likewise, there’s no doubt that the pandemic shaped the Purple & White into a digital format rather than print.
As an advisor of the Purple & White, Dr. Pickard hopes to see more engagement in social media. Most importantly, he hopes for the staff and students to achieve the goals they set for themselves.
If we stick together as a community and as a family, I believe that we will accomplish our goals for the future and get through this pandemic.
As a student of Millsaps and a member of the Purple & White, I hope to gain more self-confidence and more experience in the future.