According to the National College Health Association’s spring 2018 research, within a 12-month period, only a total of 1.6% of students experienced “no stress,” while 44.4% experienced “more than average stress.” In attending a religious institution, how do students and faculty use their faith to find peace throughout seasons of stress?
According to Campus Pastor Mike Whitford, he remembers chapel as being a great place for him to get away from the stresses that college can bring.
“I saw chapel as a blessing, a reprieve if you will, a place to just breath in the goodness of God,” Whitford said.
According to Chaplain Heather Siracusa, she has found worship music to be a great tool she uses in times of deep worry or stress.
“For me, I love listening to worship music…especially when I am stressed or like really frustrated. I’ll just put worship music on in the background because there is just something about that for me that’s just really calming,” Siracusa said.
According to Siracusa, another thing that has helped her is the exercise of releasing, receiving, and returning. She releases three things she is upset about, receives three positive words over herself, and returns three things back to the people she surrounds herself with.
For Associate Pastor Krystal Baca, one of the ways she has been able to find peace during difficult times is to focus on spiritual disciplines, which she learned from Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Disciplines.”
According to Baca, during these times of stress, she sets aside time for God. Silence and worship are some of the spiritual disciplines she uses most often.
Additionally, Baca emphasizes the importance of balancing time as a college student.
“It’s one of those things where when you’re busy and all these things are going on [and] you’re constantly giving and giving and giving; you’re pouring out. So, as much as you’re pouring out, you also need to be filled,” Baca said.
Worship Pastor Asenath Casarez has been able to find personal peace through the act of worship.
“Worship [has] always been a lifeline for me. It’s my connection to God; that one phone call you get to make. I think it was just through worship that I learned to hear His voice,” Casarez said.
While stress may be unavoidable for many, students at Vanguard can look to their faith for peace throughout the challenging times of the semester.