I’ve grown up in the church. Both of my parents are Christian and going to church on Sundays was just what we did. However, as I’ve gotten older, my faith has been more about me. If I wanted to go to church on Sunday, I had my own car and could get myself there. So when I started my first semester in college, my faith and religion was up to me and that’s hard.
1. Is it really worth it to wake up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning?
You know the stereotype of your typical college kid- stays up late every night, sleeps in until all hours of the morning (or afternoon.) Sunday mornings are designated for sleeping. There are dibs called on those precious hours. So, deciding to wake up every Sunday morning to go to church is not an easy decision to make. I have to force myself not to hit the snooze button and actually get out of bed. However, by deciding to go to sleep at a reasonable hour on Saturday night and then actually moving on Sunday mornings, I’m more motivated to get work done during the day. I’m in a better mood, and I'm more productive. So, getting up early on Sundays isn’t as bad as it seems.
2. Finding a new church seems like a lot of work.
I’ve been going to the same church all my life. I love my church. Those people practically helped raise me. They’re family. So having to find another church to attend while at college seemed like a daunting task. Also, our campus is not religiously affiliated, so we don’t have any churches, temples or mosques on campus. So, how do I find a new church to go to, and will it be anything like my home church?
In reality, it wasn’t all that scary. I went to an open house at our campus’s Interfaith Center where they had connections to Christian clubs on campus and churches in the area. The information is there. You just have to ask. Additionally, if you get connected with any of the Christian clubs or organizations on campus (see number 3,) many of them attend church as a group on Saturdays, Sundays or whenever, They also have services on campus throughout the week. I was able to find a church within walking distance of my school that has services very similar to my church back home. Additionally, I got to visit a few other churches in the area with my friends. The people at these churches understand that college kids can’t necessarily make it every week. However, just going to church on a Sunday morning makes campus feel more like home.
3. Christian clubs are intimidating.
I grew up in a Christian drama company and those kids were my second family. Leaving that behind after graduation was terrifying. I thought I would never find any kind of Christian organization that would introduce me to a second family like that.
Boy- was I wrong.
I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship which is one of the Christian organizations on our campus. I was immediately welcomed in and within the first week I was already involved in a service trip for the next weekend and a small group bible study. I met the sweetest people that I am so blessed to have in my life. While I’ve only known them for one semester, I feel like I’ve known them for years. I’ve been welcomed into another Christian family that I cannot thank God enough for. I highly encourage anyone who already is a Christian, is interested in becoming a Christian or simply learning more to find a Christian organization on campus that you can become involved in. It is something you will not regret.
4. I don't want to have to deal with the whole "science vs. religion" debate.
I attend a school that has a very heavy influence in science and engineering. You find very few history, philosophy or English majors on campus. Most likely, they’re a double major with something else. So, how does one maintain faith when people who believe in evolution and would disprove any essence of God with some scientific explanation surround you? It’s not easy- trust me.
I’ve found that I surround myself with people who can agree to disagree. I respect that other people do not share the same beliefs as me, and that’s OK. I have my beliefs and you have yours. I’ve also found that engaging in conversation with other people (especially non-Christians) can lead to some interesting discussions. Many people have had a negative experience with religion or church but they are still willing to talk about it. While it saddens me to hear stories like that, it gives me a sense of hope that I could be the catalyst in renewing someone’s faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.
5. Everyone has preconceived notions and stereotypes of Christians.
Being a Christian comes with all of the Bible-bashing stereotypes. Many people have preconceived notions about what a Christian should look like, how they should speak, how they should act, and things they should and should not do. While many of the stereotypes do hold up, it is hard to be seen as someone who likes to have fun when, for example, you don’t like to go out and party, or you have a Bible study to go to instead of going out. However, I’ve found that surrounding yourself with people who share the same interests and respect you allows you to maintain your faith without worrying what people think about you. I have plenty of friends on campus who are not Christians, but they respect my faith and I respect their views. They know how important my faith and being involved with InterVarsity is to me, and they won’t judge me if I tell them I can’t hang out because I have a Bible study that night. Finding people like this allows you to grow in your faith while maintaining friendships with both Christians and non-Christians.
So, in conclusion, being a Christian on a college campus is hard. There’s no denying that. Nonetheless, being confident in my faith and myself enough to be able to say that I’m a Christian in college is one of the more rewarding aspects of my college experience so far.