By: Sydney McDonald | Managing Editor
South Alabama students, along with most of the world, have had their lives turned upside down in the last week in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the campus-wide shutdown, many students have had to return to their homes leaving behind friends, jobs, classes and much more.
Students who lived on campus are required to move out soon, as some have already made the move home. Students who left prior to Spring Break and have not returned will be given time to come and move all their stuff out as South tries to limit person-to-person contact.
Halie Grimes, an instructor at the Rec Center, has had her life uprooted in the last two weeks. She has been required to move home almost five hours away and not only leave her job at the Rec but also her job as a bridal stylist at David’s Bridal.
“At first I planned to try to quickly get an apartment with my boyfriend, but we couldn’t find any that we could afford on both of our salaries alone, especially since both of my jobs are currently shut down,” Grimes said. “Because of the pressure, I was under to get out of the dorm quickly, my parents had to take off work and drive all the way down to help me move out. I was forced to come back to my hometown of Sand Rock, AL.”
So many students have been uprooted because of this, but graduating seniors are particularly saddened by this turn of events. Along with moving all classes online and moving students off-campus, all commencement ceremonies for May have been canceled. The university made the decision last week.
“It’s been so stressful and upsetting because this is my last semester of college. I didn’t get to teach my last fitness class at the rec and say goodbye to all of my loyal class members that have been coming to my classes since I started as a freshman. I also didn’t get to tell any of my friends that are all going separate ways or my coworkers at the rec goodbye.” Grimes said.
Rachel Severns, another graduating senior, is disheartened by all the changes to her life. Severns lives off-campus, so she has been able to stay in Mobile, but her job has been shut down for the time being.
“I felt like everything this semester was coming together. Graduation was right around the corner and then everything just hit at once. All of a sudden I had no job, no income, trying to figure out how to pay my bills, and then school changing completely crashed all of my plans,” Severns explained. “It’s such a hard time for students. I understand the school is trying to make everything as normal as possible, but nothing is normal right now. It’s taken a toll on my mental health trying to worry about everything all at once.”