Spirituality is one of the most essential yet often overlooked aspects of college life. Even defining the concept can be challenging. It is as broad as it could possibly get. In a nutshell, it’s a belief in something greater. The meaning of life, the connection, the universe — spirituality extends over different layers of existence.
It is a source of empowerment for students. Yet, the ways how a person finds this connection could be the most diverse. Some people visit religious sites while others serve their community, practice yoga, meditate, spend time in nature, or journal… What students choose to get in touch with their spirituality is deeply personal.
In this article, we will explore the role and importance of spirituality in college. Let’s dive in.
Purpose and Meaning
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Spirituality and purpose in life are intertwined. Spirituality helps students understand themselves and define their values and attitudes. When students ask the “big questions” about morality, faith, and meaning, they become more likely to engage in philosophical discourse and find answers to personal questions. This process can be quite complex, so some students may choose to use a trusted paper writing service to pay for essay or even a research paper that further explores these themes.
Finding these answers gives students a sense of direction. Spirituality inspires a connection with one’s inner self and higher powers. For some people, it might be God. For others, it means being mindful and aware. As a result, spirituality impacts the way students make decisions and promotes a sense of fulfillment. Having a purpose also offers a framework for planning an academic journey with a focus on contributing to the community and making a difference.
Spirituality contributes to higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness among college students. According to an original research article by the Department of Psychology of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, spirituality is a positive predictor of subjective well-being. The same correlation was found in religious, non-religious, and uncertain individuals.
Spirituality has a complex influence. It supports a student on emotional, intellectual, and physical levels. Emotionally, a person becomes more caring and compassionate toward others and themselves. On an intellectual level, spirituality supports decision-making and ethical behavior. Inner self-care inspired by spirituality also translates into physical health with quality relaxation, better sleep patterns, and a strengthened mind-body connection.
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It’s no surprise that students have to deal with a lot of stress and pressure in college because of grades, loans, and a rigorous curriculum. According to the American Institute of Stress, 8 in 10 students frequently feel stressed. Spirituality is one of the possible solutions as it may serve students as a psychological buffer.
Spirituality is a source of inner peace. It provides emotional support and encourages a student to focus on the present moment. Spirituality promotes resilience and gives a person mental clarity to deal with challenges. It becomes a coping mechanism and a form of self-care that nurtures a positive outlook and restores hope.
A Sense of Belonging
When students go off to college, they have to navigate a completely new social context. A sense of belonging becomes critical to their perceptions and experiences on campus.
A person’s sense of belonging mostly relies on their understanding of their own identity and how it answers the new circumstances. In turn, spirituality is tightly related to the sense of identity. The best research paper writing service helped us summarize the key findings from a National Study of Spirituality in Higher Education. Having interviewed 14,527 students from 136 colleges, the researchers found that spirituality nurtures a sense of belonging. It provides a solid base for students to help their community, engage in extracurriculars, and feel connected and valued on campus.
What About Academic Outcomes?
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Student success in college is a combination of factors. Usually, scholars focus on the external environment, including instruction, availability of resources, and various incentives. Yet, student involvement and engagement in class are often determined by their internal psychological processes, in which spirituality plays a crucial role.
How does spirituality enhance the outcomes of college? Here are a few examples:
- A sense of purpose is related to engagement;
- Charitable involvement nurtures leadership skills and commitment;
- Finding meaning in times of hardship builds resilience and allows a student to deal with academic stress and pressure;
- Self-reflection promotes psychological well-being and helps to foster values;
- A search for purpose in life encourages students to commit to self-development and attaining goals.
In combination, various facets of spirituality enhance learning. They help students to develop a versatile skill set to thrive in college and beyond.
Exploring and nurturing spirituality in college can influence a student’s well-being and mental health. It forms their values and attitudes. As a result, spirituality guides college experience and personal growth. It has the power to support academic success as well as nurture resilience, concentration, and ethical values.
Featured photo by Brett Sayles