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College in COVID-19 Time: Alabama A&M Demetrius Hurries

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – For college students, Spring 2020 will likely never bring memories of hot days on the ATV, spring break, or graduation parties.

At Alabama A&M University and colleges across the country, spring 2020 marked the end of college life as we have known it, at least for a while.

In northern Alabama, the bright future for students was suddenly interrupted.

Demetrius Hurry, a native of Foley, who is set to graduate from Alabama A&M this spring, was one of thousands caught in the middle. He spoke to News 19’s Brian Lawson about what it looked like, as part of our ‘College In The Time of COVID-19’ series.

It was an exceptionally difficult time for so many people. And students in the area, like Demetrius Hurry, with such a bright future, suddenly found that future – on hold.

“My last year, I’m actually happy it’s my last year now, it’s just it’s just bitter that it went so quickly,” Hurry told News 19.

It was quick and unpredictable.

On Friday, March 13, 2020, as COVID-19 alarms began ringing, Alabama A&M students were given a week to leave campus and prepare for e-learning for the foreseeable future.

“It was very shocking,” said Hurry. “I was actually really sad because we were in the middle of spring week, which basically feels like coming home in spring.”

Life in college was fun. Demetrius Hurry was a student journalist, an athlete, and then it all froze.

Even the eventual return to campus was not the same. Hurry said the restrictions were strictly enforced and kept people safe, but it was a tough time.

“It was very like I was mentally exhausted with me going through this whole pandemic during school time and then it kind of affects me during my class work,” he said. “But I actually sort of managed myself by doing it like mental therapy to stay motivated, to keep going through this process.”

Staying motivated was vital. There were tests – everywhere, isolation, e-learning. He was to be tested for COVID three times a week for the track team.

“I had to quarantine at least about three times, it was because of my roommate,” Hurry said. But right now, with us in quarantine, they would have to set up the zoom… ”the electronic learning environment was an adjustment and a challenge.

Fortunately, he didn’t have to walk his way as a student journalist – alone. Semaj Robinson, director of Alabama A&M’s communications media program, played a key role.

“Sir. Semaj Robinson. I remember when I first came here to this building in sophomore,” Hurry said. “Trying out the news anchor position. I tried, and after I finished it Told me I wasn’t ready. He told me I would be on your case every second. And over the years he’s been on me ever since. And it comes at a time when my senior year has been tried for the news anchor position, I got away because he was too proud.

Through the struggles and the loneliness, Hurry said he has become more confident, more open with people.

“In the second year of freshman year, we didn’t have COVID. So we can do whatever we want during the time, ”he recalled. “But once COVID hits it’s like, oh, ‘It’s time to get serious’… Once you’re about to graduate you have to mature, because you have to step out into the world. real to talk to people on a higher level. “
And, he’s ready for whatever comes next.

“I’m really optimistic about the future at this point. Because you never know if we have another pandemic, I’ll be ready, ”he said.

A recent signing by Demetrius on WJAB, the Alabama A&M television channel, provided an apt summary of what he and his comrades faced.

“As always it’s important to remember, especially in these tough times the Bulldogs are tough… we’ll go through this together to get back to normal,” Hurry told the crowd.

News 19’s Kelley Smith will continue our ‘College In The Time of Covid 19’ series on Wednesday. She spoke to a U.S. Army reservist who enrolled at the University of Alabama in Huntsville just as COVID-19 struck.


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