I’m In College and I’m Religious

For a lot of my life, I’ve been a religious person. I went on mission trips every summer with my church, I was on my church’s Youth Board, and I attended mass every Sunday (oh yeah, I’m Catholic). So when I got to college, one of the first things I did was to see what campus ministries were available. While other girls were rolling out of bed at 1:00 pm on Sundays and going for a hungover brunch, I was in the student cinema with about a hundred other students praising God.

Because I became so involved with my campus ministry, I met a lot of friends with my same beliefs and morals. While this shouldn’t be a problem in my life, it became one almost from the very beginning. Once people find out that I’m religious, they start to make a lot false assumptions about myself, as well as my friends.

Assumption #1: We are holier than thou

The first thing I always hear is that we are “holier than thou.”  I’ve learned through my experiences that a lot of other Christians have trouble going to church. They say that if they went, it would make them feel like they have to act holy all the time. So this makes it even difficult for me to really express everything I feel about God. I don’t want people pointing out examples of how I’m not leading the most holy life. And I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes it’s easier for me to pick one persona or another. Either the quiet, Christian girl who won’t talk about her problems or the troubled party-goer. A lot of people will argue that it’s not worth going to church because all the pews are filled with a bunch of hypocrites. Sure it’s a valid point, but they’re forgetting why we go to church in the first place.

We go to church because frankly, we aren’t good at being a holy people. We need God (because we aren’t perfect), so we seek Him in church. My friends and I are just like you and we won’t judge you because you might make different choices than us. I have never condemned people for their life choices, because that is one thing the Bible tells us to never do. What it does tell us to do is love everyone. As a Christian, I try to view people as God views them – with unconditional love.

Assumption #2: We don’t party

Another annoying assumption people make when they learn I’m religious and very active in my church is that I don’t party. Although the Bible tells me to not drink in excess (and I don’t drink 24/7), it doesn’t mean that I don’t drink and don’t go to parties. I would even be lying if I said I haven’t gone to church with a hangover. Some of us party, and some of us don’t, but don’t assume either way. Rather, find out by asking us. Every time friends from class ask me what I’m doing during the upcoming weekend and I say I’m going to a party thrown by a friend from church, they laugh. They picture us playing Scrabble and cuddled up under Snuggies. Not true.

Some of my most fun parties have been thrown by my church friends.  So yes I do go clubbing, I do go to parties. Just because I love God doesn’t mean I don’t also love to shout Gaga lyrics to the top of my lungs and dance like crazy while laughing and holding a Coors in my hand.

Assumption #3: We are all conservative

Finally, the assumption I face almost daily is people assuming that I’m conservative because of my Catholic beliefs. Not true.  The fact of the matter is I don’t discuss politics. What I will do, is listen to what you have to say, and if you want to talk about whether I agree with you or not, we can talk in person about it. Heck, I don’t even mind if we don’t really know each other and you want to hear my opinion about something. Even if you do sit down with me and talk to me about stuff like that, I’m nice to everyone. Like I said earlier, I was taught to love everyone, regardless of different beliefs. If you ask me how I feel, I’ll tell you, and there is no way you will ever change my mind about the topic, but I will say it calmly and don’t mind getting into friendly debates. I will never shut you down because you disagree with something I believe in. Because peace is essential to Christianity, and as a Christian I know that isn’t the way to change someone’s mind.

Why do I go to church?

So why do I go to church while in college? As silly as it sounds, it’s really relaxing to go to church on Sunday mornings and have an hour that is worry-free. For that hour classes, exams, etc. don’t matter. The only thing that matters is I am celebrating God. So it keeps me grounded and gives me a short break from all of my stress. Church is also a great place to meet friends and I-wanna-be-more-than-friends. Through my campus ministry I found friends with similar beliefs, passions, and lifestyles. We’ve been able to get really close because we’ve participated in lots of different activities with each other on a weekly basis. I met my boyfriend through my ministry, and we get along fantastically because we already agree on fundamental things. I go to church because unlike my friends who say college is for taking a break from religion, you can’t take a short “break” from religious life. You can’t just put it on hold until you’re “ready.” College is a time for growing, and learning. I take it upon myself to learn more about my faith on my own and stop depending on my parents for pushing me to do so. I go to church because I know I need it; I know I still have a lot of growing to do.

Everyone would have us believe (even some of the writers on this website) that college is a constant party and orgy, but that isn’t so. College is about finding yourself, and becoming more of who you always were (but didn’t realize it). As college students, we are all wanderers, forced out of our homes and into the real world. We wander until we discover what it is we want to do with our lives, and we succeed or we fail. We move forward, whether we know where we are headed or not. So while I am always wandering, I am never lost, because my religion helps guide my college experience.

5 Reasons You Should (NOT) Hook Up with Your Professor
5 Reasons You Should (NOT) Hook Up with Your Professor
  • 10614935101348454