The last time The Tiger printed and distributed a Best of Clemson issue, it stayed on stands for seven months as a deadly and detrimental virus placed the world under lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic, a term that has filled our news stations, emails and casual conversations for over a year, has caused irrevocable damage to the world, our country and Clemson itself. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and even more have been uprooted. This year has also left us playing witness — and sometimes participant — to a revolutionary social justice movement and acute political turmoil. Disasters have raged across our screens and through our lives, ensuring that there will be no forgetting the past 12 months. And now, it is The Tiger’s role to find the best parts of Clemson after a year that has undoubtedly been the worst.
This is the fourth Best of Clemson issue that The Tiger has produced, and I have been lucky enough to work on all four issues. For my fellow fourth-year seniors (and those beyond), we are all too aware of the changes that have overtaken our lives at Clemson this year. We never expected to wear masks to our graduation ceremony or to miss out on rushing the field as a senior, yet here we are. There have been some constants, though, such as receiving our class rings and lecturing freshmen on the true names of the Core residence halls.
To sophomores, juniors and those that have at least another year at Clemson before you, look to the future. You’re aware of what has been lost in the past year, so you’re aware of what will eventually return. Do not lose hope of normalcy eventually reclaiming its place and keep your head high until then. To freshmen and those that have only known the age of COVID-19 while at Clemson, it will get better. There is so much you haven’t known, but your time will come and you will get the patented college experiences you so crave.
This year, filled with the darkest clouds many of us have ever witnessed, has been about silver linings. It has to be, if we are to look back on this past year with any modicum of happiness or nostalgia. So let us not forget the steps we’ve taken to keep ourselves and others safe, but let us also remember the good times we’ve had at Clemson this past year. As we work through what many label the worst year of our lives, we will remember the best aspects of Clemson University, the town of Clemson, and the Clemson family. So, without further ado, The Tiger would like to present the 2021 Best of Clemson issue. Happy reading, Tigers, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the past four years.