Editor’s Note: When Maddie Bergeron’s father became the first in her Louisiana hometown to contract COVID-19, the University of Mobile student-athlete was also dealing with the disruption the pandemic created in the lives of students across the nation. Her caring faculty and staff in the School of Health and Sports Science gave her the support she needed in this frightening time. Here is her story.
I can’t imaging going through this pandemic, regardless if my dad had it or not, without the support my University of Mobile professors and advisor have given my family. I am so thankful to have faculty at my school who are so genuine.
We all know that the four years you’re in college can be some of the best and most exciting, but also very stressful, times in your life thus far. When life as you know it gets flipped upside down due to a deadly virus, you question a lot of things and wonder how you’ll successfully make it through a pandemic that no one has ever experienced before. Finding out that someone you’re close to has it, raises the anxiety even more… especially when it’s your dad.
Knowing that my dad was the first patient in our hospital to be diagnosed with Covid-19 and that he was fighting for his life for over two weeks in ICU, it was obvious that the last thing I wanted to do was worry about how I’d make the transition to all my classes being online. I did virtual school for two years in high school and I’ve taken some online classes since being at the University of Mobile, but all of that was completely different than suddenly moving your entire college education to a computer.
Within the first two weeks of online classes, I was immediately relieved at the overwhelming response I received from my professors and advisors. They didn’t skip a beat, and I felt confident in their preparation to assist me in any way I needed. Believe it or not, school almost felt like my escape from everything because I knew that I had control over the work I was doing and how well I would succeed at it.
My teachers were there every step of the way as they responded to emails quickly in addition to giving us an extension here and there if necessary due to any issues.
As my mom was in the hospital quarantined with my dad, it gave my parents peace knowing I was being taken care of on the education route. I am so thankful to the University of Mobile and its faculty and staff for going above and beyond to be there and care for their students, knowing the transition was difficult for them and their families as well. My dad is truly getting better every day.
I think the motto of our school, “Known and Be Known,” has truly become more real and personal to me within the last two years of my time at UM through my relationships with faculty. Seeing how my professors, coaches and advisor genuinely want to know how I am doing and go more in-depth than just a simple conversation makes me feel like I have a purpose and am more than just another student. Our conversations quickly turned into meaningful relationships that will last far beyond my time at UM.
I know that I can always go to the faculty, staff and coaches on our campus and trust that I will be met exactly where I’m at.
I chose to major in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Ministry because that’s truly where I feel like my passion lies. I love learning all that is within kinesiology, and being able to take classes that deal with ministry and leading/serving others is extremely enjoyable.
I have been coaching for about four years now, from middle schoolers up to seniors, at the recreation, club and high school levels. I enjoy it more than anything else. I have had a wonderful mentor along the way who has truly developed my passion for teaching kids the sport that I love so much.
I look at coaching through the lens of helping them grow into strong and confident young women along the way while succeeding in their sport. Fellowship of Christian Athletes is an organization that trains up coaches and athletes to make a difference for Jesus on their campuses and teams and to ultimately grow the Kingdom through the world of athletics. When I graduate in two years, I would love to have done or be on my way to an internship for FCA and then, hopefully, work for them in the future while also coaching and helping run a club.
My faith and my sport are the two most important things to me, and being able to connect them both is always a huge win. The classes I have taken and will take at UM, and the opportunities I am being given now, are without a doubt preparing me to achieve this dream in the near future.