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Recently, I was reading through one of my favorite webzines, Boundless (www.boundless.org).  I stumbled across a wonderful article entitled “How not to lose your faith in college”.  The article offered great advice such as “get involved with a church” and “choose your friends with biblical criteria in view” – both sound pieces of advice.  However, I thought that the article gave a lot of advice on what to do, but not how.  As if the first few weeks of college as a freshmen aren’t disorienting enough – dorm life, classes, professors, clubs, friends – now throw in the your spiritual health and well- being!  It’s enough to trigger a nervous breakdown in anyone.  So I looked back on my first few weeks, and thought about what I have done to make sure I can keep my faith.

1. Utilize Facebook
The first step should actually be taken months before you ever set foot on campus.  Most college classes will have a facebook group for incoming freshmen.  Search for “Your college class of your year”, in groups and you will most likely find it.  These boards are full of your future classmates, looking for advice and people to make friends with before move-in day.  Now this next tip may make you nervous, but it’s critically important.  In the discussion board, make a topic where fellow Christians can get to know each other.  Make sure the title is bold and obvious – “Calling all Christians” or something of the sort will do. Keep posting to keep it visible on the board – you will be surprised at how many people will come forward just because you did it first!  I made many of my current friends on Facebook before school even started, and it was wonderful to begin hanging out with Christians who shared my values the moment I set foot on campus.  Some of my friends even requested each other as roommates after meeting on Facebook, to ensure that they got to live with someone who shared their values!

2. Join a campus organization
I thought this was a rather obvious one that they missed.  Even if you are not attending a Christian college, there will almost assuredly be an organization for you to join that will allow you connect and make friends with fellow Christians.  A common one is Campus Crusade for Christ, which is actually an international organization.  Joining a group like this can be an awesome way to not only make friends, but also find a church (and a ride to church!). Many organizations provide services such as Bible studies, and praise and worship opportunities. The older students in these groups can be invaluable sources of guidance, both spiritually and academically.  The division of CCC on my campus actually throws “dry” parties almost every weekend as a fun alternative to the drunken parties that most college campuses have.  You don’t have to stay in your dorm every Friday night!

3. Be obvious!
This one may make you a little nervous at first, but I have found it actually to be one of the most fun.  Be obvious and proud of your faith.  Don’t hide your Bible under your arm.  Tape your favorite Bible verse to your wall.  Wear your cross necklace.  Pray at your meals in the dining hall.  Doing these things are not only a good witness to the non-believers on campus, they’re also almost guaranteed to spark a conversation with someone you didn’t even know was a Christian.

4. Choose where you live purposefully
This option isn’t always available to everyone – sometimes you have to live in the dorm where they place you.  However, you can usually request where to live.  A good place to start is to look for dorms that are “substance free”, or dorms that don’t allow students to have alcohol or tobacco in their rooms.  Not only will this prevent drunken neighbors from interrupting your sleep at 3 am, you’re also much more likely to be living near to other Christians who are looking for the same sort of environment.  The dorm that I live in is substance free, and I have heard it referred to as “New Jerusalem” because so many Christian students request to live here.  That doesn’t seem to be especially true this year – but there are quite a few of my Christian friends living just below me, which makes for convenient late night study parties!

5. Network
This tip may sound more like a piece of career advice than spiritual, but it’s true.  Once you’ve made a few Christian friends, try to get introduced to their friends.  Introduce people to each other.  Have group dinners and activities.  Chances are that once you make one friend, you have the opportunity to make four more.  Many people you will meet will know other students through older siblings, their home church, etc.  You never know when or where you may meet your new best friend!

Above all, be faithful.  Pray every day.  Make time in your busy homework schedule to read your Bible.  Avoid those things that college adds as temptation to your life.  Keep connected.  College can be hectic, scary, but awesome, all at the same time!

“How not to lose your faith in college” – Thabiti Anyabwile. Boundless Webzine. <https://emilymueller143.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php&gt;

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