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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Thursday, May 16, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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If you’re a fan of high-scoring baseball, Thursday’s matchup between No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 3 Arkansas probably wasn’t for you. But...

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024

Good riddance to the school year from hell

Opinion writer Ozioma Mgbahurike describes his experience throughout the 2020-2021 school year that was characterized by a series of unprecedented challenges. 
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Opinion writer Ozioma Mgbahurike describes his experience throughout the 2020-2021 school year that was characterized by a series of unprecedented challenges. 

As we collectively crawl to the finish line of the terrible social experiment that was this academic year, it’s time to say a deservedly earned good riddance to what was the school year from hell. We were expected to pursue our education and put the national civic unrest, polarizing presidential election, deadly snowstorm and COVID-19 in the back of our minds. I will welcome fall 2021 with open arms as we head back to some normalcy, but fall 2020 and spring 2021 are two semesters that should never be talked about again.

Every day of this school year felt like a low-budget Black Mirror episode, and the more you tried to make sense of it, the more confusing everything seemed. Online learning, as necessary as it was, is something I never want to experience again. The social aspect of college life was put on hiatus as we all improvised life amid a pandemic. The once taken for granted classroom connections were replaced with lifeless Zoom meetings. Each day felt dull and repetitive –– wake up, roll out of bed and get on Zoom. It got to the point that the only way I could tell when the weekend started was when I turned in the assignments that were due on Friday at 11:59 p.m. 

The system of online learning took a beating on my mental health, and I am sure I am not alone. As someone who needs structure in my life, this past year threw all convention out the window and left me to rethink my approach to schooling. The possibility of asking questions in real-time to the professor became riddled with technical difficulties to a point of hopelessness. If not for Organic Chemistry Tutor and Khan Academy, my grades would look like the temperature during the winter storm.

Furthermore, what exactly was that winter storm? The writers’ room of this Black Mirror episode just threw that in as if we weren’t already experiencing life on the hardest difficulty level. That entire week felt like a fever dream because the quickness in which my professors marched on made it feel like that week never happened. Trying to make sense of experiencing no power in a snowstorm within a pandemic was too much for me to handle, and my brain has been on autopilot ever since. 

This academic year really can be summed up with the phrase, “All gas, no brakes.” A single Friday off replaced a very much-needed Spring Break, which is the equivalent of pouring a single cup of water on an already burning building. Sure it will help, but there are more efficient ways of improving the situation at hand.

It may look like I am making this argument with the privilege of hindsight, but this isn’t one of them. Taking away Spring Break never felt like a viable solution to curbing COVID-19’s transmission. Spring Break has always been way more than students traveling out of College Station to have fun. It was a time for us to recalibrate and rejuvenate ourselves because working continuously without a break leaves everyone dissatisfied. It’s a shame the administration could not understand this concept, and everyone else had to suffer for it.

However, I also want to give a great deal of gratitude to my professors and all the instructors who helped in making this year as normal as possible. The struggle of talking to nothing but profile pictures on a computer screen is definitely not what they had in mind when they decided to become teachers. Nevertheless, they adapted and gave us the best they could, and for that, I am forever grateful. I am sure they miss in-person interactions even more than we do as students and can’t wait to have face-to-face lectures again.

I can’t begin to describe how much I am looking forward to the summer break. As more people get vaccinated, I have faith we’ll return to some sort of normalcy and hope that fall 2021 brings brighter days. I will never again complain about standing during an entire football game. I will scream the War Hymn every chance I get and will embrace all the things I previously took for granted. For now, good riddance to the 2020-2021 academic year. It was real. It was fun. However, it wasn’t real fun. 

Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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