Survival Kit: Challenges in Life and Academia

It’s great when everything rolls along smoothly in your academic work and the rest of your life. But what about those times when it doesn’t? Maybe this spring, you’re dealing with doubt, struggling with unjust circumstances, or grieving a loss. Or perhaps nothing huge is wrong, but you feel overwhelmed and tired out. ESN has gathered a few of our memorable posts on dealing with difficulties of different kinds. We hope the stories and insights in one or more of these posts will be an encouragement, whatever challenges you may be facing:

1. Facing Doubt

Sometimes the details of our subjects or the circumstances of our academic lives bring us to moments of doubt. Historian Paul Yandle shares what he learned when doubt crept up on him in the archives in his two-part article, “Surely the Lord Was in the Rare Books Room.” Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

2. Dealing with Disappointment

What happens when an opportunity you’re excited about turns out to be less than satisfying, or when things don’t happen the way you planned them? An emerging scientist tells the story of an internship that varied from the student’s hopes in Finding God When It’s Tough, and a professor reflects on how chronic illness changed her experience in Not What I’d Planned.

3. LIving with Suffering

Mark Eckel reflects on the experience of suffering, sharing his own stories and his insight as a teacher and theologian. Click on these links for the series: Sighs, Part 1; Hands, Part 2; Displaced, Part 3; Chaos, Part 4; Listen, Part 5.

4. For Those Ecclesiastes Moments

Maybe nothing terrible has happened recently: no disasters, no tragedies. But somehow life seems repetitive and low on joy. Campus minister Allison Downing reflects on those moments in Another School Year: Finding Progress in the Repetition.

5. Poetry of Grief

Maybe your academic work is going fine, but you’re grieving something deeply in the rest of your life. In a moving reflection, creative writer Dana Ray shares what she found through poetry in a time of grief.


Whatever you may be facing, we pray for the Father’s mercy to comfort you, for the Holy Spirit’s grace to sustain you, and for Christ the Man of Sorrows to be with you.

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