Sarah Rainey - Fun Picture

Sarah Rainey, 2021-2022 Editor-in-Chief

Hi everyone! I would like to offer a warm welcome to you all, whether you are a returning student, a transfer or a first-semester freshman.

So much has changed over the last year -- some things for the better and some definitely for the worst. We have endured countless trials and experienced things that we never thought we would have to deal with in our lifetimes.

But, we are still here, and we are still pressing forward.

I had one in-person class during the 2020-2021 academic year, and many students had fully virtual instruction. While we used to be accustomed to a daily commute to classes and having the campus filled with 30,000 students, we had to figure out how to navigate attending every class from our bedrooms on a computer.

The pandemic robbed many of us of a proper school year, but there was some good that came out of it. New relationships were formed, human interaction developed a different look and personal connections continued to blossom despite the odds against us.

However, thankfully, this semester we are able to drive home those connections with a return to in-person instruction. Although we still need to wear masks, don’t let this discourage you. We can make the best of these cards we have been dealt, and we can still foster those relationships while masked.

One way that we can look at this semester is as a new beginning. We went from having fully in-person classes and an ignorance of the words “social distancing” in 2019 to an almost entirely virtual learning environment in 2020.

Now, in 2021, we are in a sort of middle ground, but we can absolutely see this as a positive change from last year. This is a chance to reorient ourselves in a physically interactive environment. We may all need to brush up on our conversation skills, but that is something I think we are all happy to do.

I cannot wait to have our newsroom, and our campus, filled with bright eyes and passion-filled personalities once again. The Daily Beacon and the University of Tennessee just aren’t the same without the amazing people who make it up.

Last semester, the Beacon was only printed once a month. This semester, however, we are back to printing once a week on Wednesdays! We are eager to get the news out to the UT community and to have the opportunity to distribute weekly physical papers once more. As always, all of our content will be posted to our website daily at

Finally, I’d like to say that I am so looking forward to connecting with the UT community -- in person, and not through a screen! And, I encourage everyone to prioritize their safety -- through vaccinations, if possible -- and physical and mental health as we enter this new semester.

Please feel free to reach out to me any time at I love talking to anyone and everyone, and we are always excited to see new faces at the Beacon.

Welcome back to Rocky Top, Vols. It’s going to be a fantastic year!

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