*The impact of COVID-19 is monumental for individuals worldwide in many different vocations and stages of life; however, due to the nature of our ministry, I found it pertinent to specifically focus on certain life stages in this article, and could never attempt to summarize all of the impact that it has caused.*
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, new opportunities and prospects are being navigated like never before. Interviews for first jobs that would have been done in person, are now being done completely over Zoom. Graduation ceremonies are cancelled. School campuses are closed forcing college students to return home unexpectedly. I am personally a senior in college, and my graduation ceremony was postponed. I will receive my diploma in the mail. The ceremony is tentatively rescheduled for a later date in the summer, but with conditions fluctuating daily, we take all plans with a grain of salt.
Sporting events, championships, and entire arenas have been cancelled, postponed, and closed. What does this do for the morale of the college experience? What about teachers who have studied for years to earn their degree, but only ended up in their classroom for a partial school year? Doctors and other healthcare workers who are fresh out of medical school are being thrust into the deep end, kickstarting their career during unprecedented times.
Many brides have scheduled their dream weddings for this spring and have had to postpone their wedding date or have resorted to facilitating their wedding over video chat. Loved ones who have passed away in recent months are being honored using technology – as this is the only safe way to host a funeral – or a celebration of life is being planned for a later date. The saying “desperate times call for desperate measures” certainly rings true during this season of uncertainty. This pandemic is a watershed moment taking place in the lives of students. College seniors are graduating in the wake of coronavirus and being forced to adapt to whatever professional difficulties that will arise as a result. Additionally, for the first time in history, seniors in high school are looking to move off to college in a post COVID-19 world.
Particularly for college students, everything revolves around next steps. Their next class, next interview, next exam, next scholarship. And after college, the next steps are difficult enough to decipher even when there is not a worldwide pandemic. But through the fog of something completely unexpected and unknown, we have seen an army of college students, high school students, and young professionals rise to the occasion. They have loved their neighbor, practiced social distancing, continued to be the body of Christ, adjusted to online classes, weathered the emotional waves of cancelled celebrations, and much more. Young people are resilient, and this virus has rocked their world for this season, and perhaps seasons to come. But despite that, they have and will continue to adapt to their surroundings, establish new rhythms, embrace and perpetuate new cultural norms, and persevere in the face of the unknown.
As we adjust to a new sense of normalcy, and businesses look to tentatively reopen, seeing signs of a future light at the end of the tunnel bring a glimmer of hope to us all. The world we are living in today is unlike any world that has ever been. I know what you’re thinking, “Yes, because of the coronavirus, the world is unlike it has ever been.” And that is true. The coronavirus is something that we have never in history had to face before. However, when we think of all that the world has overcome in the days before technology and modern medicine, it gives amazing perspective. The coronavirus is a really big deal, but the body of Christ has overcome many trials that were a big deal. This, too, shall pass and become a part of our history.