Column: The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened my faith

Kennedi Cooper
Oxford stories

As a broadcast journalism major at the University of Mississippi, my freshman year experience has been full of ups and downs. The coronavirus has affected my school experience, social life, and my spiritual life.

In the beginning, I was very nervous to see what the year would bring. I came out of high school ambitious and prepared for the future, but I was also anxious because life would be very different once I started the new school year. In my first semester, I learned a lot.

I often tell people you learn more just living life as a college student than you ever will in the classroom listening to a professor lecture for an hour. College exposes you to some of the real world. It throws unexpected challenges your way, and you have to decide what the solution will be. Also, finding yourself is a big part of college. People begin to find their true purpose over the four years. 

I became involved in organizations such as Chi-Alpha, a Christian organization; the Black Student Union, promoting the success of African American students on campus, and I even became a Most Mentor for our scholastic program to help upcoming seniors.

I had so many goals and exciting events, but sadly I did not get to finish my spring semester as a freshman due to the coronavirus. It was hurtful because when I set goals for myself, I like to accomplish them quickly, and I sometimes lack patience. Although I have three more years of college and achieving my goals, I’m saddened they had to be put on hold.

Furthermore, my friends play a very big part in my support system and my everyday life as a student. I think of them as family. They have gone through so many phases and experiences with me.

We have similar goals, and all have high moral standards. We pray together, cry together, laugh together, sing and dance together and send positive vibes to one another. Every day on campus, we were always together. We even group FaceTime between our classes. I did not know leaving for spring break would be the last time I saw them for the rest of the semester.

I grew up as the only child, so I had to entertain myself because I had no siblings or anyone my age. My personality is outgoing. I’m definitely a “people person.” Because I am the only child, I grow attachments quickly to people I meet. It’s very hard not to see them or hang out with them during quarantine. I’m saddened that I didn’t cherish every moment with them a little more.

Although many of the changes have been difficult to adapt to, there is a bright side to this pandemic. As a Christian, I feel a lot more close to God. Churches are closed and are doing remote services, but we don’t need a church to worship. In the Bible, in the book of Exodus, the Lord sent the 10 plagues. 

The plagues are water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the killing of the firstborn children. God did this because Pharaoh would not let His people go. The purpose was to rescue them and lead them into the Promised Land. 

A verse that comes to mind during this time is 2 Chronicles: 7-13-16, which says, “I have heard your prayer. I have chosen this place for myself. It is a temple where sacrifices will be offered. Suppose I close up the sky and there isn’t any rain. Suppose I command locusts to eat up the crops. And I send a plague among my people. But they make themselves humble in my sight. They pray and look to me. And they turn from their evil ways. Then I will listen to them from heaven. I will forgive their sin. And I will heal their land. After all, they are my people. Now my eyes will see them. My ears will pay attention to the prayers they offer in the place. I have chosen this temple. I have set it apart for myself. My name will be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” 

This verse gives me comfort. The number of cases and the deaths increases daily, but my praises get louder, and my faith grows because I know God’s got a plan. 

Being in quarantine has its pros and cons. Sure, we aren’t able to do anything. We can’t see our family and friends. Jobs are on hold. They have canceled graduations, weddings, sports, school, but we now have time to grow closer to God and reflect on ourselves and grow as people.

Kennedi Cooper
Kennedi Cooper

Kennedi Cooper, 19, is a freshman at the University of Mississippi majoring in broadcast journalism. She aspires to work for a major network one day.

Known for her outgoing personality and positive attitude, Cooper is involved in Chi-Alpha, a Christian organization. She is a 2020 Most Mentor, and she is a member of the Black Student Union.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking pictures and making fun memories. Her favorite place to visit is New Orleans because of the city’s deeply rooted, vibrant culture and festivities.

Her favorite hobby is dancing, something she has been passionate about since age 4. She also loves writing because it allows her to express herself.

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