Union College communication major Jacob Sanchez faced a difficult decision in October 2020. He received a call to return to California if he wanted to say goodbye to his beloved grandfather. After getting the call in the middle of statistics class, Sanchez packed informed his professors he was leaving and started the 24-hour drive home.

Leaving school in the middle of the semester was hard enough, but added to that was balancing classes while working through the hospice process and end-of-life cares with his grandfather. “I had a hard time managing everything,” Sanchez said. “School just wasn’t a priority anymore…and I wasn’t sure if it would ever be again.”

Once back home, Sanchez decided to stay and help manage things there. “My focus and heart were with my family in California. I just didn’t want to leave.” Sanchez faced even more difficult decisions as the semester progressed. After spending the remainder of the semester at home, Sanchez had to choose whether he wanted to return to school in Nebraska or stay with his family. “It was a hard decision. I wanted to complete the school year, but I just couldn’t see myself leaving my grandma and sister.” After prayer, consideration, and encouragement from his family, Sanchez returned to Union in the spring.

As a Christian, Jacob’s unwavering faith served as an unyielding source of solace and resilience during the trying times. He firmly believed that with God’s grace, he could overcome any obstacle that came his way. With a heart full of determination, Sanchez made a solemn promise to his late grandfather to achieve their shared dream – to become the first college graduate in their family. His commitment to realizing this dream propelled him forward, even in moments of doubt and uncertainty.

With every step he takes, Sanchez continues to draw strength from the steadfast love of his family and the guiding light of his faith.

“Faith and family really helped me push through,” said Sanchez. “The reason I was able to overcome the adversities in my college life is because of the support system I have, both in California and Nebraska.” He recounts how he received calls and care packages from students, professors, and staff. Many also offered prayers for his family.

Adversity is an inevitable aspect of life that can leave a lasting impact on our experiences. Nevertheless, our ability to face and overcome adversity with resilience is a crucial factor in navigating life’s ups and downs. Resilience, which is often defined as the capacity to recover from adversity, can play a vital role in shaping our personal growth and development.

As Christians, we can rely on our faith and community to provide a solid foundation for resilience. By grounding ourselves in our faith, we can find a sense of purpose, hope, and strength to endure and overcome difficult circumstances. Our community provides us with a supportive network of people who share our beliefs and values, encouraging us to persevere and grow stronger together. Drawing on these sources of resilience, we can emerge from adversity with greater wisdom, compassion, and strength, equipped to face the challenges of life with greater confidence and fortitude.

Andrew Allen is a senior communication major at Union College.