Life on Hold: Three College Graduates in a COVID-19 World

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Lisa Falknor.

Henderson State University grad Zach Dawson rates his last semester as his best. Then everything changed. “Those last few months were definitely different than the rest of college going into quarantine. I had the greatest semester of spiritual growth. I was consistent with going to the Baptist Collegiate Ministry and had made a lot of new friends–believers and non-believers–when the pandemic hit.” The outgoing senior found himself taking classes online stuck inside. “Loneliness set in,” he said. Now he’s adjusted. “I am learning how to make a schedule when we don’t have one ready for us.”

“I would say, like everyone else, these last few months definitely have been crazy,” said Stefan Olive who graduates this August from Arkansas State University. Even though Stefan’s internship begins in 10 days, no one has told him where it will be. He says, “It’s another example of having to wait and see what’s next.”

Joseph King thought he knew what was next after graduating from the University of Arkansas: he would interview (in person, of course) for jobs in Fayetteville and celebrate his graduation with friends and family at his parent’s farm. But, in a pandemic world, social distancing rules dictate phone interviews and no parties. His youth intern job at his church became an online video blog called “JoeCast.”

Online outreach is what Zach, Stefan and Joseph said their college ministers used to encourage them. “That’s super important during a time when it feels like we’re isolated,” said Stefan, who loves his BCM Bible study on the characteristics of God.  All three graduates want to stay involved in ministry no matter what these uncertain days bring. Joe looks forward to the day when he has a job without college bills so he can buy some college students a meal or two. Zach is still waiting to see if he will have his commencement ceremony or join in the next one scheduled. Stefan plans to get married this September. He hopes the U.S. will see a lull in coronavirus pandemic restrictions by then. “We’ll see,” he said.

This article was originally sent out via email as a publication of the CYL Team of the ABSC.

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