Shreveport, Louisiana – “The darkest night produces the brightest star.”
That was the message written on one of the pieces of art on display Wednesday as part of the “Resilience Through Dark Times” exhibition on the third floor of the Noel Memorial Library.
This exhibit is a collection of essays, poems, paintings, and drawings detailing how LSUS students overcame difficult life situations.
The exhibit was a collaboration between LSUS Counseling Services and the student organization Active Minds, which collected and displayed 47 pieces of work from both in-person and online students.
“We wanted to make this project available to all students so they could feel connected,” said Kendall Redell, director of LSUS Counseling Services. “I think it came together beautifully, and the students submitted their soulful work that exceeded our expectations.
“The main purpose of this exhibit is for students to know they are not alone and to see how other students have overcome dark moments.”
The topics submitted ranged from dealing with the loss of a parent or sibling, divorce, overcoming substance abuse, surviving an injury, and dealing with suicidal thoughts.
Most works were submitted anonymously.
After a divorce, a woman moved to Montana to live with a friend, but the friend borrowed money without intending to pay it back and eventually kicked her out of the house.
A woman was working part-time at a fast food restaurant and living in her car with her beloved cat, Buster. She drives her car to the highest point in the area with the intention of falling off a cliff, but just before she can hit the gas, Buster starts licking his tears.
That was 15 years ago, and the woman is now 55 years old and pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at LSUS.
A poet named “J” wrote about his demons and how he was able to choose between two paths: closure or consolation.
“The process of writing the poem helped me understand and reconcile my emotions by expressing them through art,” J wrote in a note accompanying the poem. “By putting into words the emotions I had been experiencing for months, I was able to understand myself more deeply.
“Writing this poem freed my emotions from turmoil and allowed me to continue living. It helped me realize that the path of destruction does exist…but my job is They helped me choose a path of solace, which allowed me to blossom and share my experiences resiliently.”
Another student’s father died by suicide during her senior year in high school, and when she was sexually assaulted at a college in Arkansas, she too considered ending her life.
Her advice to others is to feel all your emotions, then pick yourself up and keep fighting.
One camping enthusiast pictured a campfire against a dark starry sky, explaining that a campfire provides light and warmth against the never-ending darkness.
“We loved all the diverse proposals we received,” said Active Minds president and senior business major Tiffany Robinson. “This is a comprehensive exhibit, but it also showcases the different perspectives of our students.
“You can see how these students got through dark times and continued to come out stronger.”
Students experiencing live exhibits on Wednesday enjoyed an art gallery experience complete with hors d’oeuvres and sparkling grape juice.
The exhibition will be held on the first floor of the library throughout October.
Counseling Services will also digitally highlight selected pieces each week on the department’s Instagram page @lsuscounselingservices.