I Won't Lose My Faith In College

I Won't Lose My Faith In College

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." ~ Hebrews 11:1
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From the moment I was born, my Catholic faith has constantly been a part of my life.

During my elementary school days, my Sunday mornings were dedicated to singing for my parish choir during Mass. But for the days when I wasn't singing or positioned as an Altar Server, I sat alongside my family in the same exact pew. At this time, my faith was dependent on my parents--the people who raised me through religious tradition. By this dependence, I followed along to the repetitious prayers and rituals during Mass, failing to notice their liturgical significance.

However, as I grew older, my faith became gradually less dependent on my parents. When I was attending a Catholic high school, there were certain religious obligations that were expected of everyone, such as monthly Mass, prayer services, prayers before classes, etc.

However, during my high school years, my faith grew simply because I chose to do so. I was the one, not my parents, who signed up for countless retreats, service projects, and leadership roles. Through this initiative, I encountered life-changing experiences, mentors, and friends who have forever changed my life.


Yet, by the time I graduated, I saw my high school glory days fade before my eyes. Before I knew it, I was off to a new place hundreds of miles away from home as a college freshman. Although I chose a Catholic university, specifically because my faith became that important to affect my college application process, I quickly realized that not only the religious diversity of a college campus, even a Catholic one, but also the fact that those who did identify as being Christian failed to incorporate their faith into their daily lives.

My high school teachers warned me about this months before I graduated. But now, I wish I could hear their advice just one more time.

Because the truth is....it's hard to be religious in college. The stereotypical college student who has spent their entire weekend either sleeping or partying is too lazy or reluctant to dedicate an hour of their Sunday evening to Church; therefore, it's difficult to find a group of "Mass people" to walk to Church with every Sunday.

Therefore, there have been Sunday evenings where I casually stroll to the Villanova Church alone; yet, I feel once I'm inside, the Catholic community takes away the fears, anxieties, and stress that I experienced on the way there. Only recently have I realized that this is the challenge God has given me in this new chapter of my life.

I am not only prepared for this next step in my spiritual growth. But most importantly, I am ready to see where it takes me and what I will become as a result.

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Cosenza

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I Don't Believe In Souls, I Decide MY Fate

Destiny and fate don't appeal to me, I choose my own path.
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I don’t believe in souls.

When people first learn that I don’t believe in immortal souls they flip.

You must not believe in destiny? I don’t.

You don't believe in life after death? No, I don’t believe in that either.

I always get a retort that details how bleak of a life I must lead or how negative my views are. I just slide a slight smile and move along. To everyone, everything is different. Where others see grim, I see hope. I don’t live every day anxious about leading a life that is confined to a religion that promises a happy life-after-death scenario. I live my life in my life.

If I connect with someone, I know that it’s because as humans we get each other. I don’t put my faith in a higher power that has sway over our interactions. Fate doesn’t decide for me, I do. I choose how my day will go and after that, that’s it. I’m content with that because I live knowing that this is what I’ve got and I’m going to invest in it.

I live in the solid evidence of what I have. For others, it might be comforting to have sour situations out of their hands and the blame be placed on fate or God. For me knowing that it is up to me to succeed or to fail; that’s where I find my ambition.

Maybe there are others like me who fear the rejection that society slings when they find out your opposing view. I admit, sharing that I don't believe in what gives the rest of humanity hope sends an awfully bleak message about myself. It hurts when people don't get it. But I don't get them either.

I gain a certain security from believing that there is nothing more than this. That the afterlife is just that, after life — no strife just rest.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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What We Can Take Away From Lent, Christian Or Not

Even if Jesus isn't a part of your life, the message is the same.
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If you weren't raised in a Christian home, Lent is the season before Easter. It lasts for 40 days and starts with Ash Wednesday, where Christians of all denominations go to their churches and get marked with ash in the shape of a cross on their forehead.

When I was at mass this past Ash Wednesday, the priest described Lent in a way I hadn't thought of before. Lent is typically viewed as a solemn time. There is no joyful hallelujah, and we don't sing at the beginning or end of liturgies. The 40 days can sometimes feel like an eternity. But, last week my perspective was dramatically changed.

The priest invited us to enter into this Lenten Season with the perspective that we're all just working on it. Everyone has some struggle they want to overcome, or some mountain they need to climb, and Lent is the perfect time to do so. While the Christian tradition comes at this with the belief that Christ is the One who helps us conquer these struggles, I think this message of progress and continual struggle can be applied to everyone, regardless of faith.

Our society is so focused on keeping up appearances and only showing the highlights of our lives, it's easy to get lost in expectations. We look through our feeds on social media and see how great our friends look or how much fun they're having at school. If you're having a bad day and all you see is the filtered version of other people's lives, it's easy to feel like you're somehow not good enough.

I know when I'm having a bad day and all that pops up on my Instagram feed is pictures of my friends going out or looking amazing I feel like crap. I forget that other people have bad days too, they just don't post it for the world to see. This is an extremely isolating system, and we need to constantly remind ourselves that no one looks that great all the time. We filter our lives so no one sees the mountains we're climbing, no one sees what we're working on.

We want everyone to think we have it all together, all the time. But this simply isn't true, no one is perfect. Lent reminds us that this is okay. No one should feel like they need to be perfect every second of every day.

In the Gospels we hear about people who were falling apart, on the inside and out. Jesus didn't pass them over because they weren't perfect. He saw them for who they were and gave them the opportunity to become great. Even if Jesus isn't a part of your life, the message is the same. No matter what your struggles are, remember that we're all just doing our best in life, and we're all working on something.

Cover Image Credit: Life Teen

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