lla de Jong—Staff Writer
We cried. We laughed. We missed out. We experienced change that affected our lives. We cried, and we moved on. We did things differently. We went through a lot, to say the least. For us freshman, our senior year ended on an unusual note and so did the start to our college years.
From high school graduation, to senior prom, to the first day of college, everyone else’s “normal” experience with this part of life contrasted with ours. For what some call the “best part of your lives,” ours were a far cry from how we had dreamed them up to be as we laid in our beds as freshmen in high school. It all came with a lot of heartache. We felt as if we were the unlucky class—missing a transition from high school to college.
In the fall, classes started, and we met others for the first time with mask-covered faces. Some of our classes met in-person and others were relegated to virtual get-togethers.
For sporting events, we crossed our fingers a volleyball player would give us a ticket to a game. And, sometimes, some of us we were not allowed to enter the football stadium at all.
We glanced at our freshman-year schedule and crossed off cancelled event after cancelled event. We hoped we would still make friends despite these missed-out-on social experiences and our confinement to same-gender dorms.
We hoped things would change.
And they did, eventually. We took off our masks and walked around campus buildings and saw each other’s smiling faces. We went to the last home volleyball game with all our friends. We traveled with the football team to cheer them on in their first-ever playoff game. We put down our new friend as our roommate for next year. On Friday night, we watched a movie in a dorm with both guys and girls. On Saturday night, we went to Culvers for some concrete mixers with our new life-long friends.
We learned a lot.
I learned it is okay to spend time at home with my family at the end of the semester because in college I would go month after month without seeing them. I learned to be thankful to attend multiple in-person classes as my friends around the nation were stuck in their dorms on Zoom classes. I recognized the unfairness of my complaints about event cancellations as others around the world were losing their jobs and not knowing how to provide necessities for their families. I learned sometimes change is good. I learned to be thankful for what I have and where I am. I learned to trust in God no matter what.
We have been through a lot, but we have grown. We might not have had the perfect transition from high school to college or the ideal start to the “best days of our lives”, but we learned more important lessons about life. We learned more about ourselves and how to face adversity. We learned that life is messy, and this world is crazy, but we have a God greater than a pandemic. In Isaiah 41:10, the writer says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”.