July 2018

Spiritual Loneliness in Graduate School teaser image
Graduate programs are designed to challenge students to the fullest extent. 
Academically: We study. We read. We write. We question. We research. 
Physically: We struggle. We forget to eat or eat too much. We can’t always find time to go to the gym to go to the doctor’s office or we rely heavily on exercise to manage the stress.
Mentally and Emotionally: We grow. We learn. We adapt. We experiment. We change.
Spiritually: We sometimes get a little lonely. 

While I anticipated many of the challenges I would face in graduate school, I did not anticipate the spiritual battle zone I was entering as a master’s degree student.
As a first year student, I spent a majority of my time feeling incredibly alone. I was no longer surrounded by my friends from undergrad. My family was hours away. My classmates were just as busy as me, sometimes even busier. My first semester was flooded with loneliness and sadness, sometimes to an overwhelming extent. 

After finals, I finally found rest. I took a break from my studies, focused on my personal health and let my mind realign with my personal feelings. I spent time with my family and my friends that I missed desperately over the semester. 

But I still felt the loneliness in my spirit. 

After some much needed time, I realized I had spent an entire semester attempting to survive a graduate program all on my own. I had attempted to go through it alone. I had pushed the One who made my dreams of graduate school even possible as far away as possible in order to focus my complete attention on my studies. 

And my spirit was weak.

Moving into my second semester, I included ‘self-care’ time in my schedule every week. Not just hot baths and restful reflection. I made time for my spirit and for Him. 

My attitude changed. My outlook transformed. My loneliness faded.

Graduate programs are designed to challenge students to the fullest extent. But that doesn’t mean we are alone in facing these challenges. 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Georgia "Gandy" Osburn
Gandy is a second-year student at the Bush School of Government and Public Service

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