College is a time of growing in what we know and realizing what we don’t know, or aren’t sure about, anymore. We learn about economics, public speaking, and how to write research reports. We learn that everyone doesn’t have our moral-ethical values. Some individuals don’t even have beliefs close to Christianity. Seasons of the Church aren’t too relevant.
In high school, most of my friends went to my church. We shared the same viewpoints. In high school, church was my only activity outside of school. My faith was a priority. When I got to college, I realized that often I was just agreeing with my high school friends, rather than deciding if I believed the same things.
Although in college my faith remains important, I also have other priorities, i.e., getting to class on time, completing assignments, and meeting with study groups. Normally, I attend church every Sunday. If I don’t attend church, it’s because I have a study group meeting at that time, I may be sick, or I’m studying.
My friends that are religious tend to go to church every Sunday regardless of other things they need to do. Some go three time a week. Friends, who aren’t affiliated with any religion and didn’t go to church growing up, don’t go to church. Church attendance isn’t important in their lives.
If I had to evaluate whether my Christian faith has grown during college, my assessment is that it changed more than grew or wilted. I believe in God; however, there are religious things that I am unsure about. In college, I have met so many different types of people; some with completely different religions. I have one good friend who is Muslim. I have friends who are Christian, agnostic, and atheist. While I may not believe in their viewpoints on religion, I learned so much just by being friends with people of different faiths and beliefs.
I am proud of myself for realizing that I need to learn more about what I believe. Many people just believe what their parents do. If faith is key in my life, then I need to decide what is and isn’t important in my faith life. Also, by being receptive to hearing different views on religion, I’ve gotten to know people who I may have never met. I’ve created friendships that will last a lifetime.
Reflection: Now, in my second year in college, I am still a Christian; and I realize that I need to delve deeper into what I believe, rather than going with the flow of those around me.
*Adapted from Kathryn Keeley, college student and parishioner at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church, Roanoke, Virginia.