In college, a student's faith is often challenged. Students cope with schedule adjustments, family independence, social interactions, and life after graduation. The sometimes-stressful school schedules, job searches, unexpected life circumstances and uncertainty about the future can cause anxiety and worry. During difficult periods like this, faith can be either strengthened or weakened. For me, these periods are where I cling to God more because I know He is watching over and providing for me even when my life is crazy and uncertain. This is especially true now in light of the current economic crisis.
As a graduating senior, it is frightening and frustrating to watch the job market plummet day after day, and see opportunities of receiving employment after graduation diminish. I know many other seniors have the same concerns. Not only because we have worked so hard the past four years to earn a degree, but also because there is no way to gauge when the economy will rebound. This is when I am especially reminded of God's provision and rest in the hope and security that even though I have no control over current events, He will guide and provide for me. It is not the first time He has provided me with employment.
I am unable to work during the school year, so summer employment is essential for me to earn money for school and living expenses during the year. The summer before my sophomore year of college, I was privileged to work for the Army's Department of Defense as a summer intern. I worked with diverse, professional clientele and earned a good salary. Budget cuts in the company the following year prevented me from being rehired with the DOD. I was disappointed, but confident that God would help me find another job.
I sought employment elsewhere, but my ideal was to work at the Olive Garden so that I could gain food service experience for my dietetics degree. Several weeks went by and I received no offers. I applied to Olive Garden twice during general job interviews hours, but was unable to speak with a manager either time. I left my applications, but received no reply. I continued filling out applications only discover to that most restaurants did not accept summer hires.
I was very discouraged and did not know what else to do. My mother, however, encouraged me to try Olive Garden one more time. Admittedly I was slightly embarrassed, however I went back a third time. This time, not only did I meet with a manager, but I was offered a job on the spot, and I began working two days later. Not only that, but they offered to pay me $3 more than the current minimum wage. I was unbelievably thankful and excited. The event was made even more special because I was hired on my birthday. I felt like God gave me that job on my birthday on purpose. A month later, I overheard from another employee that Olive Garden does not accept summer hires. My manager was standing nearby and I asked him about it. "Yes, it's true," he said. "I was desperate. Guess it worked out for you, huh?" he said laughing. I realized that I was hired because of the Lord's favor. I also had favor with the managers and was invited to return during the winter, spring and summer breaks.
Although my jobs were not full-time, they demonstrated to me that God cares about something as seemingly mundane as summer employment. Despite the current economic hardships, God still provides. I have learned that God is God regardless of what is happening in the world. That does not change faith. Otherwise, faith would not be faith, hope would be meaningless, and God would not be God. I have faith, I have security in my God's promises, and I have hope that whatever life may bring - good or bad - He will always be by my side watching over me.