HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - William Carey University students are working to get back to a sense of normalcy after this weekend's tornado. Many of the students stepped foot on campus for the first time since the storm on Wednesday morning.
The traumatic events from the weekend were still at the forefront of many of the students' memories.
"Immediately, everybody just started praying. You had men grabbing onto each other just praying. Crying and praying just asking God please, just make sure we're ok," said student Branden Lindsay.
While there were several injuries reported, most of the students on campus were unharmed. Lindsay remembered the minutes after the tornado roared through.
"All we see is a huge table smashed into the door. We see a car right in front of Futral and Davis and we're just like what in the world? Five to ten seconds and this kind of damage happened," said Lindsay.
The students were only allowed to come on campus to remove all of their belongings from the dorms.
"Depressing, I can tell you that. Real depressing. Start enjoying school and now it's crazy. But, William Carey's been good through all of it. They've already started emailing and all of that. Really proud of how they did all that. So, I'm proud to be a Crusader," said freshman Mack McElveen.
And now for many of these Crusaders, the next few weeks still seem a little unsure.
"I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to do next," said junior Rebecca Mullis.
While some students will be housed at USM, many who have family nearby will stay with them. But the sight of the school still has them in shock, knowing that less than a week ago, life on campus was completely normal.
"It breaks my heart to see my school in such shambles because I love William Carey," said Hope Thomas while packing up her dorm room.
That love is what these students are hoping will help the school rebuild.
"William Carey's going to come back better than ever," said newly crowned Miss William Carey, Anna McDaniel.
School officials say many classes should be back in session in the next few days. They also say the Spring trimester is set to begin on schedule on February 20th.
The only dorms opened on Wednesday were Davis, Futral, Byrd, and Braswell Halls. The dorms opening on Thursday include Polk, Bryant, Bass Halls from 9am to 4pm. Students who live in Ross Hall and the Penton Apartments will be allowed on campus Friday from 9-4 and Johnson Hall students will be allowed Saturday from 9-4.