As move-in and the fall semester approach, I still cannot believe I’m a senior at Loyola University Maryland. It seems like yesterday that I was saying goodbye to my parents in my dorm room, holding back tears.
To say that my college experience was unpredictable would be an understatement. Although I was not living amid a pandemic in my freshman year, I had to adjust to college itself. It would be easy to dwell on what I missed out on because of the pandemic, such as studying abroad, but I know I am not alone. Reflecting on the past three years, I realize that God has been a constant anchor in my times of need.
Since I was young, I have liked to know what comes next and be prepared. In college, I learned that sometimes plans do not work out the way I want them to. Whether a class project becomes stressful, or I get rejected for an internship, I lean into my faith. Through challenges, I encourage myself to trust in God’s plan. I’ve found that attending Mass and being a volunteer lector has been beneficial. I also pause to say the “Serenity Prayer” when I feel overwhelmed, and I wear a blessing bracelet every day.
Like other universities, Loyola requires masks worn indoors, and I anticipate other restrictions. Even though some uncertainty will remain, I have plenty to look forward to in senior year. Considering that we attended classes remotely during fall 2020, I am just happy to be in Baltimore this semester. My roommates and I have created a bucket list with ideas such as visiting Annapolis and attending an Orioles game. Just as we adapted to the circumstances in the spring, I am confident my friends and I will find ways to have fun.
I am sure that senior year will come with additional pressures ahead of graduation and my entry into the professional world. Nevertheless, checking in with God is one way for me to stay grounded in my busy routine and planning my future. During these moments, I hope to ask God for guidance and express gratitude for his gifts.
Not all aspects of my college years have been ideal, but I would not take these lessons for granted. In fact, my setbacks have made me stronger and more self-aware. With the help of my loved ones and my spirituality, I realize that I do not need all the answers immediately. My senior year may not unfold the way I envisioned, but I know that God will take care of me.
Photo: Alumni Chapel at Loyola University
Samantha Howath, a New Jersey resident, is a former intern at RENEW International.