It is somewhat heartbreaking knowing that I last saw most of my MQM Class of 2020 cohort on the final day of Spring Term 1 last March, not realizing the temporary goodbyes and “see you after break” messages would separate us for much longer than we expected. Though that new reality was difficult for me and many of my classmates to grasp, we understood that we had to make do in order to keep everyone safe.

Graduating during the pandemic after completing my master’s degree from my bedroom was certainly not how I pictured my final moments in the MQM program. However, those last few months brought forth a unique learning experience and a glimpse into our “new normal.”

Zoom became more of a noun than a verb to us. Changing backgrounds was the equivalent of wearing a new outfit to school. I never got to find out how tall my new professors were. And for a small moment during quarantine, I actually yearned for the Shooters nightclub dancefloor.

a screenshot of the students' Zoom gallery
Celebrating the end of our journey

Though I initially thought learning remotely would ruin my final MQM term, I look back and realize that I still became the data scientist I wanted to be. Despite the physical roadblocks, I never ceased to receive unwavering support from my classmates and Fuqua faculty who all kept in touch and maintained an interest in my development. The passion to put in my best work for my team’s capstone project was stronger than I ever imagined. I still learned how to build models and create amazing presentations with my team, all from my own home. My schedule was no different either. I had classes at my scheduled times and meeting with my teammates took the same amount of time, including all the fun side conversations.

I came out of the experience more confident than I ever was before quarantine because Fuqua provided the online resources and the right people to ensure a quality learning experience.

We lost out on a few chicken-tendered Fuqua Friday socials, overly competitive pingpong games, moments of relief when finding an open team meeting room, and a final walk towards a diploma. However, I still gained the learning experience of a lifetime and am proud of what I achieved during those last few months. I appreciate everything Fuqua did to ensure our last term in the program would be as valuable as possible, and I look forward to the day my class can step foot in the halls of Fuqua once again.