Seniors return to campus for one day before online orientation


Kate McElhinney

Seniors registered for classes on Saturday, Aug. 1 before moving into the residence halls.

Muneebah Umar, Editor-in-Chief

With COVID-19 cases in Mississippi on the rise, MSMS converted the original three-day in-person senior orientation into a two-day virtual event for students, with a parent meeting to cap off the process.

Seniors had the opportunity to go to campus for registration, textbook pickup and dorm move-in on Saturday, Aug. 1, and they had Zoom meetings for orientation on Sunday, Aug. 2 and Monday, Aug. 3. 

Seniors were able to return briefly to campus on Saturday to pay their registration fees in Hogarth before picking up their textbooks and having the option to move into their dorm rooms. Students came to campus throughout the day for a few hours to ensure there were not too many people on campus at any time. Social distancing was enforced and masks were required for everyone. Despite the day not being what many seniors hoped for, it still gave them a chance to return.

“It was honestly pretty upsetting to hear that we seniors couldn’t spend a couple days together for orientation, but it felt nice to just be on campus again,” senior Karlene Deng said. “I loved seeing some of my friends, even from a distance. Plus, it gave me the chance to write and give my junior roommate a little note and goodie bag.”

Most seniors were looking forward to meeting their fellow classmates after not seeing them in almost six months, but online orientation did give everyone a chance to see familiar faces.

senior/junior move-in
Kate McElhinney
Senior Niyah Lockett and her dad moved into Goen Hall on Saturday, Aug. 1.

“After hearing that our orientation for our senior year had been moved online, I was really sad because I missed being on campus and seeing my friends,” senior Katy Chen said. “With that being said, it was definitely nice to still be able to see my fellow peers again through Zoom.” 

The two days of orientation featured a variety of Zoom calls on a plethora of subjects including physical wellness and leadership. Multiple faculty members and residence staff hosted the meetings, and Santee Ezell, the Mississippi State University Assistant Director for Health Promotion and Wellness, was brought in to discuss mental wellness. The administration made sure students got a chance to bond with each other, hosting games and having “breakout rooms” where students could talk to each other in smaller groups.   

Senior Laney Etheridge felt the meetings helped ease some concerns she had about the upcoming year.

“I appreciate the amount of effort it took to make senior orientation happen. I feel like it covered a wide range of topics, some of which I had been previously worried about,” Etheridge said.

Orientation ended with a parent meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 5, about how the year should look like and what parents should do while their child is at home. Seniors will start classes on Monday, Aug. 10, and will remain at home until November, as of now.