I had the pleasure of taking part in our First-Year Small Group, lead by Vicar Leif Kratzke-Nelson. Meeting over Zoom once a week throughout the semester, we slowly made our way through the book Belovedness: Finding God (and Self) on Campus, edited by James Franklin & Becky Zartman. This book covered a range of topics relevant to college students, such as identity, faith, sex, success, failure, and more, all through the lens of belovedness.

‘Small Group’ is no exaggeration; aside from Leif, myself (a senior), and my fellow intern Sam (a junior), there was only one actual ‘first-year’ member. However, this intimate setting turned out to be a blessing. Because there were only four of us, we were able to have open conversations with a level of investment and vulnerability that would have been difficult to cultivate within a larger group. Even as a student already in my final year of classes, I found myself looking upon my experience (and what I still have left of it) with renewed perspective, thanks to the faith-based discussions that this book prompted among our little book club.

Though I believe participation in this group could certainly have been beneficial to many other first-year students out there, I am so grateful we were able to enjoy the connection we did share with one another. Connecting with even one first-year made the experience more than worth it – for her, and for the rest of us! 

Delilah Schuster, Music Education, 2021

Student Perspectives are part of a series from the newsletter called “What, exactly, is it like to be a student in a pandemic?”

In any given year, it seems as though the Lutheran Campus Ministry community is becoming something new. As a quarter of our student population leaves and another class is welcomed, life at LCM is always changing. But this year, with all of our activities shifting to a virtual format, our community’s life together changed profoundly. Leaning into the strangeness of these times, we tried some new experiments: a small group especially for first year students, a social media based reflection on the seasons of the church year. At the same time, students continued to experience classes, campus life, and LCM’s Thursday night faith conversations, but in new formats. Here, we have gathered four reflections on an unusual fall semester at Lutheran Campus Ministry. In them you will hear our longing to return to an embodied expression of our community, but you will also find that we have found God’s presence in our virtual experiences.