Students and educators throughout the nation are uncertain of what the 2020-21 academic year will hold. For seniors who have been looking forward to a year full of memory-making and anticipated traditions, these uncertainties are especially daunting. Yet members of Christendom’s senior class are approaching the new academic year with a renewed sense of gratitude and trust in Christ.
“It has been inspiring to see both students and professors approach changes with such patience and charity,” shared senior John Jakubisin. “I never lost hope that campus life would be approached with confidence, faith, and trust in the prayers of our community.”
According to Jakubisin, campus has felt more alive than ever since the beginning of the new academic year. The excitement students have for being back on campus receiving an in-person education is palpable. Taking classes online last semester gave Jakubisin and his classmates a deeper appreciation for the camaraderie that comes about through the communal, in-person pursuit of intellectual and spiritual growth.
The need to move to remote education in the middle of the 2020 spring semester was a disappointment for all Christendom students, but in a special way for the class of 2021. Many Christendom students participate in the Rome program during their junior year, and those who were studying abroad during the spring were sent home just three weeks after arriving.
“Losing Rome was hard, and I can’t pretend otherwise,” shared senior Lianna Youngman. “But I learned God’s love transcends earthly comforts and desires, and that while I cannot control my circumstances, I can control how I handle them.”
After months of planning, saving, and anticipation, it would have been easy to grow frustrated, even jaded after such a disappointment. But instead of losing heart, Youngman and her classmates came together in support of one another and remained hopeful.
“While being sent home from Rome after such a short time was certainly challenging, I think we all learned to be grateful for the time we did get, maybe more than we would have been if we had stayed the whole semester,” shared fellow senior Elizabeth Eller. “Those three weeks were ones that none of us will forget, and the experiences we had while in Rome and in the unusual months following taught us all what a blessing our Christendom community, and particularly our classmates, really are.”
The difficulties presented by this turbulent year have been an opportunity for students to grow in faith and gratitude. With a deeper appreciation for their education, their professors, their mentors, and each other, students are approaching the new academic year with newfound gratitude.
“While there have been necessary changes to campus life, being able to take classes in person, attend Mass every day, and spend time with friends has been so inspiring and helped me remain hopeful for this year, whatever it may entail,” shared Eller.
Youngman couldn’t agree more. While 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, she has found comfort in the support of her college community.
“The uncertainties of the world have been a very real opportunity to grow in trust and surrender,” she explained. “I am inspired by the unflagging faith of those around me on campus. The support, understanding, and emotional comfort is unreal. The turbulence of quarantine and national unrest has made me appreciate the peace ever-present on this campus.”
While no one can say for certain what this coming academic year will hold, Christendom’s seniors are looking ahead with faith and hope. Despite the difficulties of this past year, the class of 2021 is remaining positive and approaching their final months at Christendom with greater gratitude and enthusiasm than ever before.