Purpose through a pandemic
Daijah Stowe had a post-graduation plan for her career in graphic design and photography but God – and COVID-19 – had a different idea for her.
The Bermuda Institute alumna was one of many students whose senior year of college was turned upside down as the coronavirus pandemic hit.
When Southern Adventist University shut down abruptly in March, the 22-year-old was forced to pack up and return to Bermuda instead of completing her final year there as she had anticipated.
“I never expected anything like this to happen. We had one week to pack up everything, say our goodbyes and leave.
“Classes and coursework continued but, because I am an arts student it was more challenging doing this from home. It was a weird transition. My graduate portfolio had to be done digitally, which is not the norm.”
Despite the challenge that distance learning presented, Ms Stowe completed her portfolio and was able to graduate virtually, in May.
“I think the Lord showed himself this year,” she said. “Throughout the pandemic so much happened; it challenged us mentally and spiritually. But my faith grew.
“When you stick to your faith and know that everything is in God’s timing and within His plan and purpose, you can find the motivation to get through. School is hard on a regular day, so pushing through to finish in the midst of this global pandemic was a test of my faith.”
With school out of the way for now, Ms Stowe set her sights on finding a job and establishing herself in her field. But she was faced with another test of her character and her faith.
“Graduating in a pandemic was one thing but to add to that, no one is hiring. I felt a little stuck,” she said.
“Entrepreneurship was not my plan. I did not intend to freelance. But no one is hiring in a pandemic. So, I had to think outside of the box and it turns out, God gave me an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Ms Stowe launched her business – DS Photography & Designs – after completing the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Summer Student Entrepreneurship Programme in September. The young artist offers a range of services including logo design, website development, event photography and photoshoots of any kind.
“Sometimes we sit and think ‘what if?’” she said. “What if this pandemic did not happen? What if everything was normal? But I feel like it was meant to happen because where I am now – mentally, spiritually and physically – is not where I would be if this pandemic didn’t happen.
“I’m actually kind of grateful for it, in a sense. I feel like we have all grown and we have learnt how to get through it. When things like this happen, it’s only God that can get you through it.”
Although freelance work was not what she had originally intended to be doing, she is settling into it and trusting in God’s plan for her life.
“I was talking to a friend recently and we were discussing how we have a choice. We can go the worldly route to find success or we can go with God. So, I’m choosing God and trusting in His timing and the purpose He has for me.”
Ms Stowe continued: “I’ve always had faith. Having attended both Bermuda Institute and Southern, I had a solid foundation. But I have also always been an independent thinker. It’s not about rules, it’s about relationships. And my relationship with God has grown so much through this experience.”
What started as challenge to overcome has now become an opportunity for her as a photographer and she is excited to see where God will lead her.
“It’s weird how this all started in the midst of a pandemic. Who would have thought? I guess I found purpose through a pandemic after all.”
Follow Daijah Stowe on Instagram @itsdsphotography or visit daijahstowe.com