Natalie Graber ’20: ‘Heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will’

In this series, graduating seniors from the Class of 2020 share their thoughts and reflections as their final semester comes to and end in ways that no one ever expected.

Natalie Graber

As a graduating senior, I attribute many of my most memorable moments at Goshen College to the relationships I developed over my years here. Whether I was living in the dorms, singing in choir, spending SST in Peru or studying with my nursing classmates, the core of my Goshen College experience is centered around the different communities of people I learned to know and love. As someone who tends to be sentimental and nostalgic anyway, I always knew that leaving Goshen would be difficult as I anticipated graduation and the last weeks of May. Now, amidst the craziness of COVID-19, I’m learning much earlier than I had expected what it means to be physically distanced from the community of support that Goshen has been for me.

Like us all, I’m getting used to my new normal and developing a daily routine that is far away from the blooming magnolia trees on campus. As my final semester of college comes to a close unconventionally, I believe that I’m even more appreciative and grateful than I might have been otherwise. Even at a distance, I’m continually reminded of the caring community that is still rooting for my classmates and me through thoughtful emails, encouraging Zoom sessions and virtual check-ins. I’ve grown in a lot of ways during my time at Goshen College, encouraged to be more curious, adaptable and compassionate, among other things. Although far from ideal, I think the current events serve as an important final lesson.

The annual spring choral concert, Earthtones, ends with the traditional singing of “Woyaya.” The choirs weren’t able to sing it together this year, but I think of the song often and the lyrics seem to ring especially true. They read: “We are going, heaven knows where we are going, but we know within. We will get there, heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will. It will be hard, we know. The road will be muddy and rough, but we’ll get there. Heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will.”

Natalie Graber is a nursing major from Wellman, Iowa.