SFA COVID-19 class graduates reflect on school during pandemic

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) – 2024 college graduates took to the stage at Stephen F. Austin University to receive their diplomas on Friday and Saturday.

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This is the class that graduated high school in the middle of the pandemic and started college with many of their campuses locked down.

“I would say it was intriguing just from how much everything changed,” said Rachel Miller, forestry graduate.

Miller is one of many who had to adapt to the major changes during COVID- 19.

She said the ability to be hands on and study trees was not the same through a screen.

“It has a specific smell, or a specific design and it is really hard to see that with just a picture,” said Miller.

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Another forestry grad, Nathaniel Waller-Grey, said one of his online classes was discussion heavy and was a struggle because Zoom was new to everyone.

“A lot of us just kept our mics off and didn’t want to participate in discussion because it was kind of awkward,” said Nathaniel Waller-Grey, forestry graduate.

When in person classes were available, the unknown of COVID-19 still lingered.

“Some of us wore masks outside, but it was if you were already feeling ill and weren’t sure if it was COVID or not and were already positive for COVID, but weren’t attending class,” said Waller- Grey.

Ultimately, with the help of their professors, students pushed through changes no one had ever experienced before.

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“As hard as it was wanting to be outside as a major and learning inside during COVID, I think they did an amazing job with it, they learned as they went and we got through it,” said Miller.

COVID-19 may have changed the course on how education was taught, but they are a testament to staying on course no matter what.

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