2020, as everyone knows, has been the year of Zoom calls. Friends and peers of long years all too quickly became flickering faces on a screen. Zoom, a blessing from a curse, I suppose, did the opposite for Class 15. Rather than going from tangible to intangible, these calls began with intangible faces to tangible friends on Move-In Day. After months of GroupMe and Zoom calls, Move-In Day brought the wonderful joy of matching names to faces. Smiles matched profile pictures and names were connected with faces. Coming from a state where universities are closed for the foreseeable future, I could not help but think what a blessing it was to have peers who I could share a meal with.

Community may be extended and kept alive through the tools of FaceTime and Zoom, but there is something so special about being able to be in person and face to face. God designed us to enjoy one another’s presence, and here we are on Move In Day, already enjoying each other’s presence. From unpacking boxes and saying hello to roommates and suitemates, from being reunited with friends from summer programs, to sharing a meal with new friends, it is clear that community at Impact is a large and vibrant aspect of the culture.

While this community is encouraging, let me be honest by saying that it is overwhelming at times. To suddenly be in the presence of so many new faces, without the presence of any familiar ones by the end of the night, is somewhat unnerving, to say the least. Growing up in a family of three younger siblings, there was always a familiar face around. Now, in this new environment, many of us (myself most definitely included!) may be craving that old closeness of Friday night movies, sleepovers with siblings, and evening walks. Some of us may have thrown off any homesickness more quickly and are overjoyed to have so many fresh faces to befriend.

Whichever you may be experiencing – that lingering yearning for home, or elation at being in a new place – we still are a community. These unfamiliar places and faces will become familiar. Through the sharing of excitement and sadness amid all else that we are learning, a tight, godly, and uplifting community will be formed.

by Shelby Mills