As a Christian high school student, a majority of my life has been dedicated to attending the same church with the same people, singing the same worship songs, and hearing the same testimonies. But oftentimes I wonder what it’s like to explore faith on my own.
College is a great time to step out of that routine. It will provide amazing opportunities to confirm my faith, explore it, and embrace it for its role in my life. As I approach a time where I’ll be confronted with the stresses of living on my own and learning new things, I know I’ll need God more than ever before. And since I’ll be going to non-denominational school out of state, this means I’ll be doing so on my own.
Here are a few faith-based aspects that I incorporated into my college search. If living your faith on campus is important to you, you should keep them in mind as well.
Christian or secular?
While searching for colleges, you might consider Christian schools as opposed to secular schools. Since my calling is toward a major that more secular schools have stronger programs for, I chose to apply to them over other campuses that provide more for students in the same faith as me. This was the better option for me and my financial future as opposed to my spiritual future, but I have a means of providing for that separately.
If you choose to go to a secular school, there are many ways you can still live your faith on campus. Try picking a set of verses or chapter to work on before bed and then bookmark it to reflect on in the morning. By doing this, you’re working reading and study into your daily routine while maintaining your education at the post-secondary that will benefit your future career.
If you aren’t sure what you want to study or you prioritize your religion over a specification in majors, you should look into Christian colleges to stay connected to your faith at school. This way more opportunities such as ministries, a campus chapel, bible classes, religious clubs, and service learning will be available to you. (Just make sure the school has a variety of academics you’d like to explore so you have choices when it comes time to declare a major.)
Nurturing your faith
Regardless of the denomination of the school you choose, there are a lot of steps you can take on the path to reconnecting in college, especially in new environments. The first thing I’ll do is find a new church. I go to a Protestant Christian establishment, a little one quaint in thought but significant in spiritual presence. To match that sense of spirituality and fellowship, it’ll be imperative for me to tour my new college town before the semester starts for various establishments to make my weekly commute for the sabbath.
It’s also important for me to volunteer with the church I choose, because in living the faith, it’s always helpful to contribute to the church. I’d love to volunteer to help lead youth services or work with the kids in Sunday school—maybe even manage beautification to make the church as lovely on the outside as it is within.
Clubs for different religions and beliefs are available on all college campuses, secular or not. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you may be able to create your own student group. I plan to join bible study clubs within my college. In addition to my regular classes, I’ll set aside time in my schedule to meet with peers and talk about ways to apply God’s word to our lives. It’s always helpful to sit in fellowship with others who share the love and faith we have in Jesus as Christians.
All in all, I’m looking forward to worshipping with a new group, studying with new friends, and reflecting on my own in college. It’s the best way to give back and benefit my own spiritual growth, all while living on campus. This is what I want in a college and community. I hope it helps you find what you’re looking for as well!