Op- Ed: Welcome back, Buffs!

This has been one heck of a year, hasn’t it? For many of us, the last time we saw campus was mid March. For others, Canyon was still home. But regardless, West Texas A&M University was lifeless and desolate. WT seemed to be in its darkest hours without the life that each student brings to campus. The University was in maintenance mode as we, along with the rest of the world, attempted to answer some of the most daunting questions. And while none of our answers are perfect, each of our decisions were made with YOUR best intentions in mind. After all, YOU are the reason why we do, what we do.

Many students are returning to campus for another year. And at the same time, many are entering into their first year of higher education. If you are a returner, I ask that you remember the feelings you had in your first week at WT. These feelings may have been joy, excitement, and giddiness. However, you may have also felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety and confusion. Regardless, each student will feel an amplified version of each emotion as they return to or begin college in the current state of our world.

The conditions of the world, ranging from the global effects of COVID-19 to the division in our country, are not the conditions that any of us would choose to live in, much less bring into this next chapter of our lives. I want to tell you that this year will be easy, that everything will go according to plan, and that it will be sunshine from beginning to finish, but to do so would be a lie. Expect for challenges to surface this year. Expect for this year to look vastly different from any year this University has seen. Expect dark and difficult days in the future. But remember, just because things will seem dark at times does not mean that light cannot be found.

Students have always been the top priority at West Texas A&M University. And after working with senior administration, I firmly believe that our faculty and staff are here to serve you and that you will remain the top priority. If you have made it this far, both into this article and to this point in time, then I would like to challenge you. I ask that you leave the worrying for tomorrow and live today to the fullest extent. I also ask that you enter this year with a mindset of grace, and go against the cultural mindset of immediacy and perfectionism.

Give grace to University leadership as we make tough decisions that are intended for the benefit of all. Give grace to your professors as they, too, attempt to navigate through the chaos. But most importantly, give grace to yourself. This year will present many obstacles that you may have never before encountered. So when you mess up, and you will, remember that it is okay. As Mary Pickford once said, “This thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

West Texas A&M University has always been more than brick and mortar, and our walls will not crumble now in the face of adversity. As sang in our Alma Mater,

Alma Mater! Alma Mater!

We will faithful be;

Through the years that lie before us

We’ll remember thee!

If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to stop by the Student Government Office in JBK Room 104.

Welcome back, Buffs. It’s good to have you home.


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