Each week for the coming five weeks, each Scholar will individually share what they have been doing and how they have coped during this highly unusual year. My hope is that they can become more involved and visible in the life of the church in these last few months of the academic year. As you will read they are all doing well and are extremely grateful for our care, support, and assistance as this year’s Planseon Scholars. It has been such an honor and privilege for me to get to know and work with each Scholar this past year.
Rev. Dr. Don Dempsey
Plansoen Scholarship Director
An Update from Plansoen Scholar Jamari Tansmore:
Praise the Lord, FPC… and Happy Holy Week!
I hope and pray you all remain well and in great health and strength during these continuously trivial times. Yes – it seems as though we are coming to a point of figuring this virus out and it seems like we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this road back to a sense of normalcy. But it is important to recognize that we are not yet out of the woods and that our global situation still poses a great threat to the health and wellbeing of us all – so it is imperative that we all continue to be grateful for how God has kept and sustained us all even to this day. That is most certainly the case for me in regards to myself and my people, as well as you all – I am glad you are here.
My family have all been doing well. I really echo my sentiments from earlier in that I am very much so thankful that I, as well as everyone in my family, have been able to avoid the perils of the pandemic from a standpoint of health. None of my immediate family members have contracted the virus – and the very few of my extended family members that have contracted all were able to make some speedy recoveries. My father got his first vaccination shot and is waiting on his second. My mother is waiting on her first – but she has done a tremendous job living this COVID life by the book, so I am pretty confident in her ability to stay healthy and out of harms way. Arizona (my home state) has lifted their mask mandate as of last week – so that has me a little more worried than normal because I believe it is way too early. This isn’t the first (and more than likely won’t be the last) poor decision made by our state legislation. But that is completely out of my control so the best thing I can do is leave it in God’s hands – the best pair of hands a situation like that can be in. My brothers are also doing well, as well as my nieces and nephew. I can’t wait to be able to see them again.
As for life here in the Midwest, life has definitely picked up its pace on my end – but I am pretty sure that is because I just came off of a 10-month stretch of doing a lot of “nothing”. So in hindsight, it’s actually been refreshing to finally be able to have a lot on my plate again. For starters, we are currently in the heat of the semester and I am really beginning to feel it. The homework assignments are getting longer, the exams are getting much more intense, and the pressure is definitely on. Gladly, it isn’t too much to handle – it just keeps me disciplined and it makes sure I really stay grounded in my studies, which ultimately is a good thing because the moment I start becoming slack about my schoolwork is when the load will actually become too heavy to bear. So, as backwards as it may sound, this fast pace is actually keeping me on track.
In regards to football… the season is still on! Our first game is about a week and a half away (April 10th) and we will be playing against Greenville University – which ironically is our head coach’s alma mater. The other three games will happen over the next three following Saturdays. I am very excited to get back out there after a long year and a half hiatus. We have been training seemingly nonstop ever since February 15th. The training schedule has definitely been hectic in its own right – it has consisted of rigorous training for six days a week (including Sundays – which I honestly wasn’t the happiest about). It was a little rough in the early going because many of us had trouble gaining access to training facilities over the COVID period – so many of us didn’t come to campus in the best shape and, therefore, our bodies had to really get used to being consistently active again which is always an uphill battle. As we’ve gotten closer to actually games, we’ve eased up on our training sessions in effort to preserve our bodies. The only conflict about that is the fact that everything is happening so fast – meaning we don’t really have any other choice but to have such a full schedule due to how much we have to get done in the little amount of time that we have to do it.
As far as all of my other campus organizations go, I can’t really say too much about them because many of them are still limited in what we are allowed to do due to the Forester Commitment COVID-19 guidelines – as is the case with how things are here at FPC. But they are starting to open up little by little as the school continues to move through the different phases. I am really anticipating getting to get fully reacclimated with all of my other organizations. I never stopped being a part of them, but I’ve missed being able to really be active within those groups.
Lastly, an update on Jamari’s personal day-to-day life. Due to our global climate concerning the pandemic, I made the decision to live off campus. Thanks to the Plansoen Scholarship, I was able to rent out a nice, roomy 1-bed apartment in Vernon Hills for this semester. I am doing this to minimize my time spent on campus – which, in turn, minimizes my chances of falling victim to the virus, or being contract traced. Being a commuter definitely has its pros and cons. For starters, having to drive to school every day is a bit of a hassle (especially when the weather wasn’t cooperating). But I don’t live that far so that isn’t all that bad. Another big con is that I am never really home due to my hectic schedule that I mentioned earlier. A lot of times I feel like I don’t have much time and opportunity to really appreciate the place. And lastly, the biggest con are all the costs that come with commuting that I didn’t have to really worry about as a residential student (groceries, gas, etc.).
On the other hand, never being home also has its perks. It cancels out some of the costs that I described earlier. For one, I’m not driving all over the place. I’m at one place all day. So I’m not really using much gas outside of the ride to school and back. Also, since I’m at school for a good part of the day, I bought a commuter meal plan so I still can eat on campus everyday as I would if I were living there. Which means I usually only eat at home once a day , which alleviates the grocery bill tremendously.. Also, not being home that much equates to having some pretty low utility bills because you can only use so much water and electricity when you are only actively at home for about 5 hours a day. I live alone, and that’s nice for me because I don’t have to answer to anyone, entertain anyone, be on anyone else’s time except mine, I can come and go as I please, and I don’t have to worry about that messy roommate who is always behind on his half of the expenses. It definitely takes a great deal of responsibility, but it gives me peace of mind to know that my fate (as a tenant) doesn’t lie in the hands of someone else. This responsibility is preparing me for adulthood, which I am also appreciative of. There aren’t many people my age doing all of this yet so it’s been nice being able to get my feet wet as it pertains to adulthood. I’m learning a lot. Vernon Hills is a very nice area with a lot of good places to eat so it’s nice being close to everything over there. I just can’t wait to have some more free time to really sit back and enjoy it.
With that, I will conclude my update. Once again, I just want to express my gratitude for being allowed to take part in this opportunity. Hopefully, the conditions will soon allow me to be able to interact and connect with you all in person. I am excited to see what God has in store for us all. God bless and keep you, FPC. I will see you all soon!