The virus has forced us down an unfamiliar, narrow path and we don't know
what's on the other end.
After 6-8 weeks of sheltering in place, many of us have settled into a new normal. College students have staked out their work stations at home, learned or perfected our zoom conferences and classes, and binged into the night on Netflix. Deposits are due for new freshmen and transfer acceptances are in the mail. Students are looking forward to the fall. But what will our next academic season look like? No one really knows.
Sadly, the virus has pushed some colleges to the "breaking point", according to the Wall Street Journal (April 30, 2020). Smaller ones are closing. Dining halls, dormitories, and large lecture classrooms may be reconsidered. Athletics, which is so lucrative for many colleges, have been put on hold, financially straining even the most secure institutions. "Schools should expect a 15% decline in enrollment next fall and a $45 billion decline in revenue from tuition, room and board and other services, according to the American Council on Education, the nation’s largest advocacy group for colleges and universities. Some administrators say those projections are too rosy."
On the home front, unemployment has skyrocketed, putting college tuition out of reach for many families. "I've taken a pay cut already," said one working mom. "Things are going to be tight, really tight," she worried.
It's a stressful time, isn't it?
In the short run, there's zoom fatigue and other remote learning inefficiencies; everyone working from home at once; internships, summer jobs, fellowships, study abroad are all CANCELLED; we feel an overall restlessness due to extended quarantine; and we acknowedge the very sad truth that people, sometimes family members, are dying.
Looking ahead we fear the institutional instability of colleges; financial pressures of our own; uncertainty about college social and academic environment come fall; and we wonder when there will there be a vaccine...
Before we get too carried away with worry, however, let's remind ourselves that Praying College Moms know who's in charge. The virus has forced us down an unfamiliar, narrow path and we don't know what's on the other end. Yet, like little children, we look back over our shoulder for reassurance and we know we're not alone. The Lord is near.
"The Lord is with you when you are with him, and if you seek him he will be found..." 2 Chronicles 15:2
"The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:5-7
A friend told me that she's been praying about what she doesn't want to lose about this quarantined time in her life after its over. What a worthy topic to ponder! She shared with me: "We've eaten together at night and played games after dinner sometimes. Before the virus we were all going in too many directions to share that time together."
While we're waiting for the CoVID dust to settle-- and for colleges to make some important decisions that will affect our children this fall --let's ask our college-aged young adults what they're grateful for right now. What habits do we want to keep as a family? What have we most enjoyed? What have we learned by being quarantined together? In our answers to these questions, we will hear the whispers of God saying, "I love you and I am near."