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Athletics can prepare you for challenging times

  • Thursday, May 14, 2020
    Amirah Jones

    Editor's note: The transition to all online classes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented adjustment in the journey to realize the goal of earning a college degree. Here's the view of a senior who graduates May 15.

    By Amirah Jones

    As I finish my last semester and await graduation Friday, I have tried to maximize my time by connecting with my teammates and fellow student-athletes.  I continuously engaged in interactions regarding how society, UMES and athletics has dealt with the pandemic. 

    I do believe, as a society, we handled it as best we could for something we weren't prepared for - lock downs, curfews and the like.  As we veer toward summer, I wonder if we also are getting too comfortable. 

    Moving forward, I believe there will be restrictions set for social-distancing such as six-feet apart and opening and closing times.  As a college student who does not yet have a set career, I think it really impacted the “college experience” in ways that have not yet sunken in. 

    We can network via videocall and phone, but nothing compares to being physically present -- being around classmates, talking to teachers, being able to go outside your dorm and socialize.  It has been an adjustment trying to make the next step and not being able to physically visit or meet people. 

    Those are only a few of the countless aspects of college life that are affected, but I believe we will go back to normal over the years ahead as we start to understand COVID-19. 

    With such an unexpected turn of events, UMES has done a fantastic job with updating students and reaching out as a pillar for excellence. 

    My classes (this semester as an exercise science major) only consisted of an internship with Salisbury University athletics and a research project on “Mental Training and Sport Emotion in UMES Athletes.”  It was a manageable task to finish the semester online, but I wouldn't like to do it again.  Working in athletics, I slowly but surely saw athletics coming to a halt. 

    As an athlete, it was devastating and I will always be in disbelief.  But it'll be one heck of story to tell one day. 

    I try to look at the positive aspects and how we can become better.  My career objective is to give back and become the kind of resource I needed during my tenure as a student-athlete. 

    My journey at UMES taught me I do not have to be the fastest runner on the team to lead, nor the loudest to be influential.  Everyone comes from different places and is not raised the same. 

    Not only have I learned to trust myself and others, but to say yes to opportunities and thrive in uncomfortable situations.  I am the answer to someone's problem, and I will be the person I needed as I grew into the person I am today. 

    There will be times the hardest part will be getting up and going, but I have learned to see myself being successful.  I am dedicated to the well-being of others and look forward to a lifelong career supporting my community and the world.

    Amirah Jones receives her Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science May 15 and will attend graduate school at the University of Tennessee, where she will major in kinesiology with a concentration in sports psychology and motor behavior. She was a member and a captain of the cross-country and track teams.