Fresh green basil plan in a pot

In 250 Words: Hope and Despair

In the 250 Words series, one question is posed to the RU Student Life bloggers, who each provide their own perspective. 

Question 10: Do “hope” and “despair” ever work together?

Jess: Making it Back to Dry Land

I was thrown into the choppy waters of despair last month when the place I was moving into fell through at the last minute and I suddenly found myself without a home. Even though I wanted to succumb to those feelings of hopelessness by curling up in a ball until things magically sorted themselves out, I decided instead to hold onto the hope that I would wind up creating a much better situation if I persevered despite the hand I was dealt. I maintained hope by reminding myself that this situation, no matter how taxing, won’t last forever. That hope was powerful — it helped to carry me through two weeks of house hunting, all while applying for jobs and studying for finals. I have also been reminded of the amazing support system that’s there for me when times get tough. I didn’t know when things would fall into place, but the knowledge that they somehow would was the ultimate light at the end of the tunnel. So, to answer your question, I think that hope and despair absolutely work together. Despair is an inevitable part of life, but hope can act as a powerful anchor to keep us holding until we get back to dry land.

Zahra: Opposites Attract

It’s a universal law that opposites attract. It’s a rule of thumb for science and even people. We’ve known it since the teacher started the vocabulary wall/tree in kindergarten. Happy to sad, love to hate, so despair to hope only makes sense to follow suit. But the thing with opposites is that we can’t see one clearly without the other. Only in despair do we seek hope; only in the dark we seek light.

My mother always pointed out to me how I suddenly started praying when my exams came along or when I got sick. God and hope become synonymous for me. Hope is a scapegoat in despair and I’m never sure if this energy is fuelled by an action plan or just blind trust that everything will be okay eventually.

Sometimes I think I only engulf myself in hope because I can’t bare to handle my self-created despair or take responsibility for it.

So yes, hope and despair work together but that doesn’t mean it’s a good pair. This question touched way too many nerves I didn’t think I had in me.


What do you think – do hope and despair work together? Let us know @RUStudentLife or send us an email at or FB message of your own 250 Words.

Read more 250 Words questions and responses here.