This is my fifth year here at Redeemer. I graduated in the spring of 2021 with a major in health sciences and a minor in psychology. Now I am back at Redeemer for teacher’s college!
I still remember the day (March 2019) that Redeemer announced they would be closing the academic building and moving all classes to online learning. I moved back home right away. Even when Redeemer reopened the following year, I finished the rest of my undergrad attending virtual classes from my parents’ house in Guelph. It was a really isolating period. I often tell people it was the hardest year of my life. So, when I found out that I had been accepted into the education program at Redeemer, I was so excited by the possibility of moving out and attending in-person classes again!
Moving back into a student house was pretty good for the first couple of days, but then when I actually had to go into class, I was so overwhelmed. I don’t think I had really prepared for how much of a shock it would be going from seeing literally just my parents and sister every day to sitting in a class of thirty-plus people. Although things seem to be taking a turn for the better—restrictions are lifting, and we’re hearing about less and less cases—this doesn’t change the fact that I am struggling to adjust. I really didn’t leave my room in fourth year. It was so ingrained in me that COVID-19 needs to be taken seriously, so unfortunately it was very challenging for me to get to hang out with people. It’s so weird for me because I remember how extraverted I used to be, and now I find that I have to spend a good amount of time alone to recharge before I can see people again.
Even though being back at Redeemer has caused some anxiety and discomfort for me, it’s also given me the chance to appreciate the small things again—like walking down the hall and getting to say “hi” to faces I haven’t seen in a while or being on campus surrounded by the trees that seem so familiar to me. I spent three years in person at Redeemer before I moved home because of COVID-19, so getting to come back and experience some sort of normal has been a blessing. As we enter into this time of reopening and restrictions lifting, I think it’s so important that we remember this isn’t going to be an easy transition for everyone. For some people, like myself, it’s kind of difficult to get back into the swing of things and to enjoy community. But I am also learning that it’s really good to challenge ourselves, get out of our comfort zones, and actually experience relationships with people.
I hope you remember how influential you are; whether intentionally or unintentionally, we all have an influence on the people we encounter every single day. No matter what situation you are in, you still have the ability to love those around you. If you’re in-person or online, you still have the chance to live into that community and love them, because God has given you the opportunity. Respect other people, don’t assume you know what they want or how they feel loved. It might feel awkward or unnatural, but now more than ever we need to check in with the people around us.
This year I have really sucked at using technology. Because I spent so much time online for school, I really don’t enjoy being on my phone or communicating with people through texting and FaceTime. It has meant SO much to me when people have had face-to-face interactions with me and show genuine care for my well-being; it’s something that we can all do more!