University of Southern Mississippi students returned to the Hattiesburg campus today, braving inclement weather to begin the first day of classes of the spring 2012 semester.
Sophomore community health sciences major Crystal Johnson of Detroit said she’s looking forward to the semester, but also a little anxious as she takes core classes in her major. “I’m going to budget my time and study hard, because I want to do well in those classes,” she said.
Like Johnson, freshman nursing major Symora Watts of Hattiesburg is determined to excel in the classroom this semester. “I plan to study a lot more and make higher grades,” she said.
Southern Miss Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Joe Paul helped welcome students back to campus on Tuesday, along with other administrators, faculty and staff. He said he hopes returning students plan to achieve more going forward.
“I hope they’ll take a look at their experiences from the fall and examine what they did well, what they could have done better, and develop a proactive plan that includes even higher goals for the spring,” he said.
Brandon Bally, a freshman business major from Picayune, Miss. said after a while he became bored during the holiday break. “I was ready to get back, I missed having a schedule to follow,” he said.
Jason Roberts of Hattiesburg is working on a master’s degree that will come with TESOL certification (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages). He said he enjoyed the holiday break, and confessed it might take him a couple of days to get used to being back on the school schedule. He graduates in May.
“I’m excited (about graduation),” Roberts said. “It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Each semester brings change, and this spring is no different as Southern Miss students, faculty and staff must officially comply with the university’s new smoking policy. It was introduced in the fall, and this spring will be enforced with a $50 penalty for violators who are caught smoking outside of designated areas on campus that are marked by signs.
Johnson said she’s glad the new policy is in place. “I think it’s really good, especially for people like me who have asthma or other chronic illnesses that are impacted by smoke,” she said.
Bailey Davis, a freshman elementary and special education major from Hattiesburg, agrees with Johnson. “I’m glad we have it (new smoking policy),” she said. “I enjoy not walking behind someone smoking on my way to class, and the wind blowing their smoke in my face.”