Hey, class of 2020 family. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, a fast-paced can’t breathe “I’ve been sucked in the riptide” and “can’t tell down from up” or “which day is what” time. So I want to first give you a moment. Inhale. Exhale.
We as the seniors of GRIT and students of Biola want to take this time to grieve with you. More than perhaps anyone else at Biola, we feel this has hit hardest for our class. The day we received the second email which stated we had to move home, I sat on a blanket on Metzger lawn six feet away from several of my friends. And while the “social distancing” had already begun, the real disconnect was yet to come. We had wanted one moment of closure, a single hour to soak up our campus before it shut down indefinitely. The sky very quickly grew dark, and as the first few raindrops hit our faces I remember looking up at the clouds and screaming ”REALLY??” Tears slipping down my cheeks, I was shouting at God. And while the anger might have been justified, it was misdirected. I quickly felt the Lord say “Danielle, I am weeping with you”.
My personal experience has been that of waves of anger, sadness and confusion, and then numbness. And overwhelmingly, I have been seeking out some semblance of closure to the ups and downs of this four-year experience. I have had to accept that it feels selfish to mourn when others have lost much more than I, and yet dishonoring to not grieve. I have had to accept that we as a class have not and may not receive all the “lasts” we were supposed to. Our closure must be had over facetime calls, in the solitude of our prayer corners and the isolation of our own homes. I could write more, try to give you all verses and spiritual encouragement, but I think for now it is better to say- I hope your closure and comfort comes from the fact that we are united as a class and student body within our frustration and grief. Just as I felt the Lord mourn with us on the lawn that day, I hope you feel me mourn with you. The weeks ahead are filled with uncertainty, but the picture of the day this odd season ends and we can see each other again has me filled with hope and expectation. Until we see that day, friends, my heart is with you.
If you’re feeling uncertain about the future, just know you are not alone. And it isn’t just the Biola class of 2020 who is feeling the same way—it’s everyone in the world who was supposed to graduate in the Spring/Summer of 2020. This loss is huge and you are allowed to mourn it. I know it was already daunting enough graduating college and being launched into adulthood. Now, we are slowly leaving college with no cap and gown and no diploma in hand. At least not as soon as we thought. This setback is majorly stressful! If you had post-grad plans of traveling or starting your first adult job, please know that there will be a time for that when this is all over. You will see that place and you will get that first check. And it is going to feel so good because you’ve been waiting for so long. But right now, it can feel hopeless. Who knows when this is going to stop? If your anxiety is at an all-time high or your general mental health is suffering during this quarantine, be encouraged that these days will one day be history. We are in solidarity with you. And don’t feel pressure to be productive all the time; we’re in a major global crisis. Feel free to rest and do whatever puts you at ease. If there’s anything I want to leave you with it’s this: you are loved, you are not alone, and the joyful times are just around the corner.