Like with many people around the globe, we’re in a situation we did not expect. Some of us have moved as far as the bottom bunk in our dorm room, while others have gone back home to places as far away as Germany, Korea and Japan.
We find ourselves in a “surreal experience” as senior, Dana Van Ostrand describes it, and what Campus Ministry administrative assistant, Tanya Vaas, says “feels like a movie.”
Many students had the opportunity to return home to their families when courses went online-only. Some were given the option to stay on campus due to unique circumstances. Van Ostrand is one of them. He misses the bustle of campus on a normal day, especially when it was nice outside, and northwest Iowa has had some nice days.
In fact, in a Hospers’ floor group chat, you can see someone out in their hammock with a book enjoying the weather.
On those nice days, it’s easy to spot what’s missing on campus: people. Theatre professor Drew Schmidt has stepped out of his office into warm spring days, half-expecting to see students playing frisbee or disk golf out on the green. But there is no one in sight.
There is no doubt that we find ourselves in a new reality, and many of our peers have found things to do while we are all social distancing.
English teaching major, Kaylee Henn, whose plans to student teach in the Dominican Republic were altered by the shift in schooling, said, “I find myself reading and journaling a lot more, sewing, calling family members, sleeping and walking outside all the time.”
Junior worship arts major Libby Ven Huizen is keeping busy by playing piano, going for walks and playing cards with her family.
Although we have all felt the distance from each other in an almost tangible way – in person – many of our peers have also found ways to stay connected.
Henn has been joining a Facetime workout group some afternoons while Noah Kullman, a freshman football player, can be found playing Rocket League with friends.
Spanish and education double major and track runner, Isaac Muñoz has been staying connected through the Colenbrander group chat.
Other groups like band and choir have been able to stay connected through Monday Midnight Madness Zoom chats. Campus Ministry has also announced a virtual way to keep meeting as D-Groups through Zoom.
There are many ways in which we can find positive opportunities while we are away from our normal routine at Northwestern, but let us also keep in mind that this is not what any of us were hoping for and that, more importantly, this is not an individual experience but a collective one.
Through creative thinking, we can still find ways to stay connected to our peers and reach out to one another with the love of Christ.