KIN student, professor, & alumnus: Mid-semester reflections

Hazael Mengesha

Hazael Mengesha
Hazael Mengesha, SGA President, junior kinesiology student

This semester has been a lot – I’m not going to lie – but not in a bad way. Coming back to campus after has been exciting, especially because I get to see a lot of people who I used to hang out with my freshman year, and I can catch up with them again. Even walking around campus itself is love.

Everyone has been engaging with one another, and we’re getting back to the community-based atmosphere we’ve always been known for. We have a really engaging student body.

I feel like anyone can find their niche on this campus and just seeing different groups of people come together is what I really enjoy. You know, I don’t feel like we’re exclusive – we’re more inclusive.

And after seeing the way our University’s administration has been able to navigate through this pandemic, I am really looking forward to more of the safe in-person events we are going to continue to have. This semester, I’ve been blessed to step into the role of student body president, and being a student leader has to be one of the most meaningful things to happen to me.

I get to connect with more individuals, and I’m constantly learning new things. As for next semester – well, I’ve never gotten to experience an actual normal spring semester in college, so I can’t wait for that! Getting as close to that as I can is the goal, honestly.

Dr. DeAnne Brooks

Dr. DeAnne Brooks
Dr. DeAnne Brooks, Associate Professor of Kinesiology

This has been another unique semester. Not quite like how we were pre-March 2020, but also not like how we were last year. I’d say this semester has been a hybrid – still lots of meetings on Zoom, and I’m teaching two classes online, but I’m back in the face-to-face classroom for one class, and I also get to see colleagues in a few face-to-face meetings.

I’m still hyper aware of staying socially distanced while also trying to find those human connections. I’m a pretty laid-back person though, so I’ll continue going with the flow and making the best of each day. Even though two of my classes are online, I’ve still been able to build relationships with the students.

Of course, it’s tough to meet and connect via Zoom, especially with 45-100 students in a class, but I make space for them to share and converse during our online meetings to encourage interaction. I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of them. Last week, I checked in at the end of class to see ‘how’s it going?’.

This was a class that I typically teach face-to-face, and I was worried that students weren’t getting the same quality experience online. In addition, we were discussing issues of diversity and inclusion that day, and those conversations must be handled with care. In the online setting, I wasn’t able to use all of my clues, such as body language, to evaluate how students were responding to the lesson.

But, to my pleasant surprise, several students unmuted to say they appreciated the discussion, they’re enjoying the class, and they feel they’ve already learned a lot this semester. Their feedback really made my day! The atmosphere on campus is amazing. I’m happy that the students have more opportunities to interact with each other.

I was on College Avenue early in the semester when all of the student clubs and organizations were set up. Folks were talking and smiling and making new connections. I feel for them – 2020 and 2021 have been tough for a number of reasons. I love to see students happy and having a good time while they’re here.

Malcolm Ford

Malcolm Ford
Malcolm Ford ’20, kinesiology alumnus, first-year nursing student

This semester has been hard, but rewarding since it’s my first semester in the nursing program. I’ve really liked going to clinicals, I’m just so excited to learn. My biggest accomplishment this semester was making a 99 on my first exam. I was really excited because I’m not the best test-taker, but I do a lot of hard work.

I really struggled doing online learning last year, so to be able to connect with my teachers this year and have them really get to know me and help has made all the difference.

It means a lot to be one step closer to my dream of being a nurse. These have been some of the hardest classes I’ve had in my college career.

It’s been a lot, and it’s only part of the way, but any step you take is a big step. I’ve been trying to be a nurse since I was 14. I’m 23 now, so I’m almost there.

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