Rest and reconnection is our theme for GRIT this year. I have been thinking about reconnection and what that means in light of the past year and a half. Throughout the different waves of the pandemic, there has been varying connection.
After leaving high school unexpectedly, I was eager to participate in the Biola community. However, when we were told that we would be online for the year those expectations were moved to this year. As a Sophomore, my experience has been similar to a Freshman experience. I didn’t know the social implications of using trays at the caf (although I learned that quickly) or where my classes were.
I was lucky enough last semester to live in a home with seven other girls, which was such a gift. While that was so sweet, it was not the fullness of community that Biola had sold me on years prior. I desired to be on campus, just like every other student.
After a year of scattering and now coming together, my hope is that we can as a student body be reconnected. The transition from zoom calls to in-person classes is still something I am getting used to. I don’t know about you guys, but I keep running into people I had zoom classes with and it feels so weird seeking them out and saying hi! However, it is things like that that will help us find a connection with one another.
I can sense a level of disconnection between one another, just in my day-to-day life at Biola. The main way I interacted with people from Biola last year (besides those in my circle) was through social media. At the time it was the closest thing I had to connection, but I can look back now with clarity and see the downsides of this. It caused me to have a lot of unrealistic expectations for my life here. I saw so many girls I desired to be friends with, but after watching their stories for a year it feels really intimidating to reach out. There is tension in seeing somebody that you know through Instagram but not in real life. You feel the pull to say hi to somebody, but something is pulling you back.
The thing is you don’t really know them.
Because of the environment of the past year, I saw a lot of people react to our social deprivation by quickly latching onto a group of other like-minded people. Proximity played a big role in friendships, because there were only so many people in the La Mirada area, or living on campus once it opened. This has resulted in very tight-knit, smaller groups of people rather than people who reach over different groups and seek out new relationships.
The beauty of Biola is that there are always so many opportunities to get involved on campus and meet new people.
This step can feel really scary. At Biola, I still text a friend when I arrive at an event so we can both walk in together because it is vulnerable to show up to a new space. This fear, though valid, should not hold us back from participating in loving one another. In order to love somebody, we must first know them.
The comfort zone is very difficult to leave. After all, it is comfortable. However, without leaving it we are most certainly going to miss out on good things that God has given us.
Sometimes we have to take a step into uncertainty if we ever hope to forge new connections.
Reconnection starts with one person being brave enough to extend a hand.