Keeping Up With the Class of 2020


Mary Hanna Bryant, Treasurer

Rocky Mount Academy’s 2020 seniors have had to experience their freshman year of college during the coronavirus. Depending on which school these students attend, the rules and regulations due to the virus vary. Although these students are not getting the normal college experience, most have been able to adapt well, and they have a few tips for other students who may also experience their senior year during the coronavirus. These alumni also mentioned what they miss about Rocky Mount Academy, if they have been prepared for their college classes, and how their experience of college life has been so far. 


Megan Seale and Haley McCall, who both attend High Point University, explained that the most difficult COVID-19 restrictions to adapt to have been the no-visitor policy except for parents and the sporting events that are postponed. All of Megan and Haley’s classes are in person except for the virtual freshman seminar. Megan stated that it is challenging to make solid groups of friends, since it is difficult to chat before class with six feet of spacing. But, she has been fortunate to have a great friendship with her roommate and other friends that she has made so far. Haley noted that one social challenge is that the dorm rooms have a 1 to 1 ratio, so in a 2 person dorm room, only 2 friends are allowed over. However, outside spaces are fun to hang out in. When asked if they have been prepared for their classes so far, Megan said that she has felt very prepared and that the main difference from high school is longer breaks in between classes and being able to use that time to complete schoolwork. Haley agreed, stating, “It’s really fulfilling to see how much of the high school foundation applies to upper level classes.”


Caleb Chesis, who attends UNC Chapel Hill, discussed positives to having online classes instead of being in person. He explained that as soon as your class is done, you don’t have to walk back to your room, and you are able to be with your friends more. He also noted that the professors do not remind you to do your work, and you are able to make your own schedule on your own time. Although these benefits are nice, Caleb wishes that he was able to have classes in person so that he could meet new people. Caleb had a few words of advice for seniors who will be attending college next year during the coronavirus: “I’d say the main thing is to stay positive. It’s not a traditional college experience, but it’s important to still have a positive attitude about it because you’ll still meet great people and make good memories.” When asked what he misses most about RMA, Caleb said that he misses being with his friends every day. After being in school with his friends for 14 years, it’s hard not seeing them every day anymore. He also misses ecology class with Dr. Wells, who he was able to have for all four years of high school. Caleb also wanted to leave a message for Dr. Wells: “Never change and stay gold. One day I’m going to take you away from all of this. Miss you Dr. Wells.”


When talking to Ian Fryar, who attends Appalachian State, he stated that Dr. O’Brien’s tests and classwork greatly prepared him for his English class in college. He also explained that a positive to having online classes is that you don’t have to walk from classroom to classroom. When asked if there is any advice he can give to seniors this year to help them prepare for life on campus with COVID, he said to make sure that you have a good daily routine, because it is a little different not living at home with your parents. Ian mentioned that he misses the friendships he made at RMA and that it has been difficult to make friends in Boone with all the university restrictions. He also misses his conversations with Mrs. Andracchio during study hall.


After talking to Peyton Hutson, who attends Campbell University, she stated that she has a mixture of both virtual and in person classes. Most of her classes are hybrid, so some days she is in person for the class and some days she is online. She feels that Dr. O’Brien’s English class greatly prepared her for her English class in college. Interestingly, every person has their own room at Campbell, and as of right now, all the food options on campus are takeout. Class sizes are also smaller due to COVID. Peyton mentioned that at first it was difficult to adjust to some of the restrictions, but she has met a good group of friends that have all joined the same sorority. 


Finley Bissett, who attends the University of South Carolina, said that COVID has not greatly affected his social life at college. There aren’t many difficult restrictions, except that not all students are allowed access to football games due to social distancing. It’s also hard to study in a large group in the library, as social distancing is very strict there. USC had a strong amount of cases early in the semester, but now the cases are rather low. Downtown has just opened back up. Finley noted that he is grateful for his social freedoms at the school and that one of his classes is in person, while the rest are asynchronous and synchronous depending on the class. Finley said that he has been fully prepared for just about every class except his accounting class. The research papers Finley wrote at RMA have helped him with his English classes, and Mr. Leonard’s music class helped him do well on his “History of Rock and Roll” midterm.


Talking with Abigail Newcomb, who attends Furman University, she said that most of Furman’s events have been canceled, including club fairs and sporting events. The sorority rush process will be virtual, and some of the food options have been taken away for now. Everything is very slowly opening back up, but Furman is taking the necessary precautions to make sure the COVID numbers stay as low as possible. Two of Abigail’s classes are virtual, and two of them are in person. However, she chooses to take the classes online so that she can stay in bed! When asked about her classes, Abigail explained that RMA definitely prepared her for what college would have been, but with classes being online, it’s been an adjustment to figure out how to engage in classes and fully understand the material. Another challenge for Abigail is finding people to become friends with since many events have been canceled. She said that the main way to make friends right now is reaching out to people on Instagram.