STUDENT PERSPECTIVE BY MARY-CECILE GOYOSO, FGCU FRESHMAN
A common warning repeated at high school small groups and private schools, and said by dozens of concerned teachers, parents, and pastors is this: be careful in college, a lot of believers lose their faith there. Of course, this would frighten any young Christian on the cusp of adulthood, excited to leave home but also anxious about what may happen. When I graduated high school, I didn't know what to expect. I had heard stories of once impassioned believers turning from God; I had heard stories about Christians being frequently harassed by people trying to disprove them. I wasn't necessarily frightened, just a little apprehensive. Is that what college is really like? I would think.
Turns out, the answer is no. College does not have to be this giant temptation trap that pulls in young Christians, and it doesn't have to be a place of persecution, either. I have found quite the opposite, actually. By being at a secular university, my faith has been strengthened. Leaving the familiar environment of home and venturing out into the 'real world,' where all kinds of people have to find some way to exist peaceably, is both an exciting and scary thing. Being around people of different beliefs has reinforced my faith, causing me to really explore why I believe what I believe and realizing the facts I have to prove it. The more you know about your faith, the better you can defend it. When you are able to successfully hold your own during a heated discussion, you know that you truly believe what you're saying. After all, how can you defend something you do not think is true? For college students, I think that knowing the science behind Christianity and being able to calmly debate with people of any religion is an important skill to have.
Addressing the more private aspects of being a Christian, I have found that being away from familiar things, like my family, church, etc., has helped me grow closer to God. Alone in your dorm at night, you can really have more quiet time with God. Since your parents and friends aren't there to give you advice or help you through an immediate problem, you find yourself turning to God more often, at least, that's how it is for me.
College can be a great place to grow your faith, as you develop your own spiritual habits and routines. It doesn't have to be a vortex of temptation and loss of faith. Jesus tells us that the life of a Christian will never be easy, it will be a challenge. But having faith in God and staying strong in your beliefs can help overcome that challenge while in college.
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