Warm hugs and prayers help relieve finals stress
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
Finals week can be a stressful time for college students, but at Grand Canyon University, students were offered a spiritual and emotional boost Thursday.
Fuel for Finals is a campus tradition, hosted by the Office of Student Engagement, that invites students to take a break between studying to enjoy treats, drinks and get some much needed encouragement before final exams.
Jeanne Lind, parent and family program coordinator, asked families to volunteer this year to help students manage stress so that they can succeed during finals week. She was amazed by the response.
“I sent out an email, and all it took was three days to get more volunteers than I needed,” she said. “At this time of the year it’s very evident that students need encouragement, and I hope this will be the beginning to what will be more opportunities for our families to serve our community.”
Volunteers arrived at 8:30 a.m. to distribute candy canes with scripture cards and warm apple cider. Students also could write a prayer request on a sticky note and put it on a chalkboard.
“From what I’ve seen, there’s a mix of stress and emotions because everyone’s really tired at this point, so we need the extra encouragement,” freshman Bailey Drake said while standing next to her mother, Tina, and watching her 82-year-old grandmother, Louise Green, pray over one of her peers.
The trio was among the 35-member group of volunteers on the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Promenade and at The Grove.
“I think my attitude and my feeling for God is what has created me to be a prayer warrior,” Green said while taking a break. “Today I prayed with one young lady, and I believe that God will answer that prayer positively.”
Tina said she was “surprised and overjoyed” by the students’ reactions.
“There have been lots of thank yous, hugs and instant smiles,” she said. “It’s so dear to me because I know a lot of these kids don’t have their parents here to be able to hug them. I think so many times we tell our kids that it’s time for them to go find their own way, but they also need some adults to come alongside of them to remind them how great God has already made them.”
Viorecea Moca, a recent online graduate and a parent of a commuting freshman, could relate to that feeling.
“It hits the heart in the right way to see the importance that GCU puts on prayer,” she said. “My family knew that we wanted to be a part of a Christian school, and so far I’ve been very impressed.”
Sarah Camberg, a nursing student, had just finished taking a quiz before stopping by to have some cider and request a prayer.
“It wasn’t a final, but it felt like one,” Camberg said. “There have been times this week where I have just wanted to take a nap and cry, but coffee, friends and prayer keep me going.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.