During the spring semester, students are normally planning for summer trips and looking for summer internships and jobs. With the COVID-19 pandemic, however, planning for the future looks a little different.
Senior Becca Dahm planned to go to Guatemala for the Medical Evangelist Program (MET) through Health Talents International; then travel to New Delhi, India, with Central India Christian Missions (CICM); and finally to the region of Damoh to serve in the hospital, nursing school and children’s ministry.
“My plans have now been put on hold and on the fence for each,” Dahm said. “India and Guatemala have temporarily shut down their borders, causing both trips to wait until further notice.”
Junior Julie Goddard is also in limbo with her summer plans. Goddard was preparing to study abroad at Harding University in Florence until all Harding summer international programs were canceled. Despite being disappointed that her plans were changed, Goddard said she is still trying to look on the bright side of things.
“I’m disappointed that my program was canceled,” Goddard said. “There were going to be some amazing experiences there, but now I get to be in Searcy for the summer — be a part of my friend’s wedding, save some money, possibly work on a film project and be with the people I love. Some mixed emotions for sure, but God continues to do mighty things.”
Although senior Alyson White’s plans were not yet set in stone, she said she is still feeling disappointment in those opportunites no longer being an option. While she said she feels worried, she is hopeful that good will come from all of this.
“Initially, I felt really worried because this puts a damper on the efforts of my entire peer group to grow in our career paths,” White said. “College summers are important; they offer promises of internships and church camps and chances to gain experience. However, I’m more hopeful now that even if we’d rather be out living our lives, we can use this extra time to pursue worthwhile things we might normally put on the back burner.”
While a lot of students’ summers are being changed, some students’ plans are still on track. Junior Amanda McDuffie will work as a youth ministry intern and said she is thrilled that the plans are still on.
“I’m excited to be a youth ministry intern for a lot of reasons,” McDuffie said. “I love youth group aged kids. They’re at the age, especially the high schoolers, where they’re figuring out who they want to be, and as an intern I get to assist them in that journey for a short period of time. That’s a big responsibility, but also such a great opportunity to point them to Jesus and the life they can live if they choose him.”
Although plans are up in the air for everyone, Dahm urged students to keep an outward focus during this time as well.
“It is a privilege to wash your hands and social distance, which the people in the slums of India are not able to do,” Dahm said. “Prayers are the most powerful resource that can be sent to them right now.”