A Year Ago Today: Freshmen Reflect on Changes

Written by Emily Dickmeier, Reporter

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Madison Baxter in high school with Girl Scout troop 4101. “DECA got cancelled, Girl Scout Cookie season got pushed back, some of the adventure stuff that I do with Girl Scouts and meetings got cancelled, and school got cancelled,” Madison said. “It did make me feel sad especially because I was not able to see my friends for so long.” Photo submitted by Madison Baxter

  • Before coming to Warrensburg, Baxter had trouble finding a diagnosis for the pain in her knee. During her physical before bowling season, she was told that the muscles in her knee are weak, which was causing her instability. “I’m glad that I was able to finally find someone who was able to tell me what was wrong with my knee, Baxter said.”

  • Julie describes her high school bowling experience as rough. “My dad gave me my confidence, and then my coach kind of stripped me of that confidence,” Smith said. Since coming to UCM, she is learning how to reach her goals and to become her best self. Photo submitted by Julie Smith

  • Julie truly enjoys bowling with her teammates. “These girls actually lift me up, whenever they’re bowling I lift them up,” Smith said. “I’m glad I stayed with bowling whenever I came to college because I’ve created such great friendships on this bowling team. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

  • Catherine was involved in numerous clubs and activities in high school, so she enjoyed the break from all of her responsibilities with the first two weeks off of school. “I was really overworking myself senior year because I was like, I need to do all of this stuff before I graduate, this is the last time I can do it!” Strathman said. “So I was actually really relieved at first.” Photo Submitted by Catherine Stratham

  • Catherine not only learned more from those around her, but she learned more about herself over the last year. “I was coming to college to be a biology major because I felt like I needed to fit into this model of society, I don’t know what I was thinking honestly,” Strathman said. “I was pressuring myself to do something that was important, I felt like doing something in the arts was more of a hobby.”

  Competitions, special events and ceremonies were all postponed throughout the pandemic, which started in March 2020. Many high school seniors lost their opportunity to make lasting memories, but those seniors who are now University of Central Missouri freshmen, are making new memories and have interesting answers to the question: “Where were you a year ago today’?” 

  Entrepreneurship and management double major Madison Baxter is a freshman Jennies bowling team member. Baxter had a passion for bowling and art since age three 

  In high school, she was involved in many activities including Girl Scouts, which pushed back cookie season, and Distributive Education Clubs of America, which canceled her trip to Nashville for nationals. 

  The coronavirus wasn’t all cancellations for Baxter, as she was able to rest a long-term knee injury during quarantine.

  Baxter spends her free time painting and enjoys her experience on the Jennies bowling team. She has enjoyed her first semesters at UCM.

  “I want to finish the rest of the year with the grades that I have,” Baxter said. “I want to keep my A’s to definitely qualify for the Dean’s list, and then to also qualify for the academic portion for bowling.” 

  Freshman education major Julie Smith is also on the bowling team, and she has been bowling since middle school.

  In high school, Smith was involved in bowling, choir and the A+ program. Her signing day for the Jennies was canceled. Smith didn’t think too much about news concerning the coronavirus, but she soon realized just how much it would be taking away from her.  

  “I have two older brothers, so watching them go through senior nights, signing days, proms, graduations, I was like, ‘That’s gonna be me one day,Smith said. “It did not happen.”

  Freshman Catherine Strathman, a member of the UCM wind ensemble and music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota, is a double major in music performance and Spanish. Leading up to her graduation in July, her time was filled with online interviews and trying to make up for the absence of spring photos in her senior yearbook. She was also impacted by the passing of a close friend and another friend’s mother.

  “I’m trying to focus more on my mental health this year,” Strathman said. “In high school, I pushed my emotions aside and focused on whatever I was doing, and that really caused some issues for me.”  

  She is looking forward to expressing her extroverted personality and enjoying the simple act of seeing strangers smile again as the world opens back up.