Today marks one year since we first received notification that our Spring 2020 semester - and subsequent year - would look drastically different than what Aggieland, our student body and the world around us was used to. While I certainly want to reflect on all this past year has brought our way, I am also positively reminded of how different our outlook for the future is today, compared to the uncertainty many of us felt exactly one year ago.
As we first digested the news of virtual classes, the world around us was also rapidly closing. In the coming days and weeks we would learn about the impacts this would have on even the smallest things in our own life — meeting up with friends, going out to eat and simply seeing extended family members. However, as weeks turned into months, it would also go on to impact many students' internships and financial situations. Here in Aggieland, perhaps the most visible change occurred when our sacred spring semester traditions were impacted. We saw selfless service take a different shape as The Big Event was unable to proceed. We honored members of our Aggie family in unusual places as Aggies all over the world watched our campus Muster ceremony virtually for the first time in history. And we recognized each other in different ways for graduations and other key milestones in our journeys as Aggies.
I reference these events again to highlight the resiliency and ingenuity of Aggies in the face of challenges, but also as a reminder of the drastic changes that led many to feel a common sense of uncertainty. While uncertainty might have been the common outlook then, not today. Today, even with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we have so much to be optimistic about. As we sit here today, Aggies unable to attend an in-person graduation ceremony in May or August are preparing to walk the stage in Kyle Field with their families in attendance — a stark difference from March 12, 2020. Campus is also active with students studying and engaging in many of the normal tasks we have missed. Student leaders within The Big Event and Aggie Muster committees are also hard at work to bring their traditions back to Aggieland.
Even in a time of lost experiences, however, we soon watched new cherished memories emerge and moments of light gradually return to daily life. Tiger King. Pictures in the snow, in Texas, twice. Zooming into class from your bedrooms for an 8:00 a.m. class. We have continued to laugh — sometimes through the pain — but always keep moving forward. We can see light at the end of this long tunnel (much like the power coming back on from two days into a winter storm). As we move forward together with renewed hope and determination, we must remain vigilant to ensure our past sacrifices do not become forgotten lessons.
Join me in taking a moment to pause and think about how far we have come in the past year too, and no doubt how much we have gained. Many of us gained a new love for the outdoors, found new hobbies that may or may not stay with us, found new ways to stay connected and reconnect with old friends from states away that we normally would not see if not in person. Most importantly, we’ve learned to cherish moments we often take for granted. It certainly has not been easy, but we are Aggies. I look forward to looking back on this time in one year, no doubt we will have a lot to be optimistic about then too.
Continue to do your part and BTHOcovid-19!
Eric Mendoza ‘21