‘I’ve been blessed’: What one VMI cadet learned while finishing his spring semester in a tent

He spent eight hours a day in tough conditions in the tent

LEXINGTON, Va. – VMI recently announced plans to return to online learning before Thanksgiving, and for most cadets, this is a little like deja vu. Cadets were told to leave post back in the spring when the coronavirus pandemic first started and it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

One cadet, in particular, was so determined to get his studies in that he finished his spring semester in a tent outside his parents' home in Pennsylvania.

“I just started doing school in a tent and it actually turned out pretty well,” said VMI cadet William Taylor.

He spent eight hours a day in tough conditions this past spring and even endured a flood, all for the sake of his studies.

Taylor said he pitched the tent in one of the few spots where he could get cell service to power the virtual classes VMI transitioned to when the COVID-19 outbreak prompted the military college to close in the spring. His family lives in an area near Hershey, Pennsylvania that has no access to cable and spotty cell service.

Now that he’s out of the tent and back to post, he has a greater appreciation to have his friends and teacher in-person with him.

“Having them around even in a school atmosphere really helps you like on a daily basis to be able to keep going and to be able to just get through things,” said Taylor.

He aspires to be a chaplain after schooling and said the coronavirus pandemic has really helped him better understand how to serve others.

“I really feel like I’ve been blessed, like God’s put me in a position a few different times to be able to help people that really need it,” he said.

When VMI lets out in November, Taylor said he’s likely to finish his semester in North Carolina where his brother lives so he can get reliable Internet.

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