Seniors dealing with difficult transition to cap undergraduate studies

Commencement ceremony still in limbo

Halleigh Hawkins, Staff Writer

Seniors have made a tough transition to online classes to finish out their last year. It is a tough reality for everyone. Many campus clubs and organizations have either ended completely for the rest of the year or transitioned online. The last moments with friends were lost in time and there are no more campus life opportunities.

Nevan Hoffman, a senior at WSC studying Computer Information Systems, made a post on Facebook March 17 and said that he is a “broken-hearted senior.” He said in his post that campus, his classmates, and the community will hold a special place in his heart.

“What a beautiful campus,” said Hoffman. “Four years of walking through the wind, snow, rain, sun, and wind, with an emphasis on wind, to get to class, work, my friends’ dorm. While I can visit you anytime I want, in my heart you will always be the campus of my memories with friends these four years.”

Going online has affected everything for Hoffman, especially Cru and Christian Student Fellowship. Since Cru is strictly student led, it has decided to end with the semester moving online, but CSF has decided to take the initiative and try an online format through Google Classroom.

“CSF will continue, however, in an online format providing resources for students to dig deeper into the Bible with the extra time they’ll inevitably have, as well as engaging with community in a virtual way through video conferencing with small groups and more,” said Hoffman. “Any WSC student can access that by going to Google Classroom and enrolling with the code 54wh3gg.”

Hoffman said that having this happen halfway through his last semester at Wayne is “heartbreaking.” “As seniors we all knew the end of our college careers was approaching quickly. We knew that come end of April and beginning of May we’d have a lot of tear-jerking lasts and goodbyes. But we never got that and what sucks the most is that we won’t. At best we’ll get a graduation ceremony in May. Worse than that, we never even got the still-too-early goodbyes many college students around the country got.”

Sarah Lorenzen, a senior majoring in English writing with a minor in International Studies and Editing and Publishing, said that she is trying to figure out how to set up her clubs and schedule meetings online. She is also holding out hope for graduation in the Willow Bowl. “I am really hoping we can still have graduation in the Willow Bowl,” said Lorenzen. “I am not going to be able to have the experience I was hoping for, but we are making the best of the situation at hand. I am hoping this time can be used for personal growth for everyone at WSC.”

Being involved in many clubs has helped her be a true leader at WSC. She was president of Honors Club as well as the WSC Green Team for three semesters each, which ended in 2020. She is also part of Cru and co-leads a bible study and is also a discipleship mentor to a freshman student. She has also participated in many groups which include CSF, Sigma Tau Delta, Red Cross, LYM, Active Minds, Explorers Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, three service-learning courses, and the 2019 Greece Study Abroad opportunity. Lorenzen said that she is planning ahead for her future and how the pandemic has also affected that.

“I have been hired to work at Ponca State Park beginning in May,” said Lorenzen. “Unfortunately, the State parks have been closed down, so that obviously influences my immediate future. I am praying this pandemic abates and is resolved very soon. There are a lot of people who have it much worse than we do here.”

Lorenzen is grateful for her time here at WSC and can’t wait for what the future will hold for her.

“For myself personally this is the best time it could have happened,” said Lorenzen. “And also the hardest. I am ready to graduate and excited to move forward in my life. However, there are seasons of life for a reason and any time a season ends abruptly it can be hard to transition.”

“I am most concerned for others in transition times of their life [such as] those who are student teaching or attempting to fulfill clinical hours, high school seniors, all children in public education. Losing this much learning time is serious. I know a lot of internships have been canceled, which directly impacts people pursing their future.”

Hoffman believes that the people at WSC is what made his time here so special.

“I enjoyed my time here because of the people; simply put,” said Hoffman. “The people here, both at the college and in the Wayne community, are just so welcoming, inviting, and willing to let students get involved in a myriad of different ways. I also think Wayne is a great place for personal growth- mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise. Anyone who knew me before college and knows me now can tell you of the stark difference between who I was and who I am now – for the better – because of Wayne.”

Lorenzen also said that she grew spiritually at WSC because of the community and people here.

“My life changed drastically after coming to college, definitely for the better,” said Lorenzen. “I found my faith and through it found a community of people who sincerely inspire me to be a better person. The best part about Wayne State for me will always be the people.”

“Everyone is approachable, whether it be the professors or classmates, the janitors taking care of us or cafeteria ladies concerned about our well-being. Home is not a place alone, it is the people in it. The people in my life are what made Wayne State College my second home.”

Lorenzen said this experience is one to remember and look to it and rise to the occasion.

“As sad as I am about this phase of my life coming to an end, and about this whole situation, there is something beautiful about having something good enough to make us greieve its loss,” said Lorenzen. “There is a quote by Rabbi Tarfon I really admire which goes ‘Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.’ I know it is easy to see the inconvenience of this situation, the sadness and loss and horror of the effects of a pandemic. But, in every situation, we have the change to rise. To grow. To better ourselves and the world around us so that, when we leave a situation, we leave it better in some way for us being part of it.”