Traverse City’s first snow of the year occurred the week our winter shelter, Safe Harbor, opened, and we have since had enough snow to cause multiple school closings (including NMC!). Many of us know students who struggle to find and keep stable housing. Comments like “I had to find a new place to sleep because my roommate/spouse forgot to pay the bill/angered the landlord” has already been a prelude to more than one of my students’ requests for an assignment extension. I also have a couple of students that I receive current housing updates from. 

I don’t have words of wisdom to offer about this situation that you probably haven’t already considered. We are midway through National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month, and heading into Thanksgiving and the rush to finish up the semester, we might want to take a moment or two to consider students who will crash and burn due to layoffs, evictions, and other life difficulties that seem to concentrate during this time of year. 

Currently, I’m working with three who have been hit with a catastrophe and were mature or trusting enough to communicate with me about their situation. We’ve come up with alternative completion plans. Maybe you could light candles or make requests to whichever spirit you communicate with on behalf of our students who are in the midst of competing urgent situations. We all know that completing their college education increases their long term ability to bounce back and continue to thrive after such setbacks. They may not see how to move through their current situations though. 

If you want to give your students a reflection opportunity on these issues, here’s  a link with information about this week’s fourth annual Walk for Health and Housing in Traverse City.