Going to school doesn't have to mean giving up your faith. Although you may be leaving your church temporarily, you don't have to abandon your religion altogether. For many students, losing faith is a very real concern. Here are five tips for maintaining your faith while you are away at school:
1.Find a Church
Don't be shy about attending a new church while at college. Cities that hold a college are used to having students integrate themselves into the local scene. According to the Christian College Guide, campus chapel services and local churches are popular gathering places for the faithful. If you have a difficult time locating a church in your college's town, ask around or contact city hall. Someone will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Colleges are full of student groups. You'll easily find a group that is centered on your religion. If, on the off chance, there is no group that celebrates your particular faith, start one. Visit the student life office for a list of groups on campus or for information on how to start your own group. Don't count on socializing with fellow believers in class. Sitting next to someone in a lecture hall is not the same as participating in a meeting with religion as its main focus.
If you are simply too shy to join a group of strangers, daily devotions can help you keep your faith alive. Spend 10 or 15 minutes in the morning reading verses. Sit quietly before you head off to class and pray or meditate. When you consciously set aside time each day for devotions, your faith will be as strong when you return home as it was when you left. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can grab a spare minute here and there to spend with your beliefs; you'll never find that minute. Schedule time for your religion.
You don't have to spend weeks on a mission trip to serve. Look for volunteer opportunities on campus or in the local community. Keep in mind that your service does not have to be religion-based. If your roommate needs help studying, offer your assistance. If you keep your mind open, you will find opportunities to serve falling into your lap.
If you find yourself struggling to maintain your faith while at school, find a mentor. Your mentor could be a fellow student, a professor, a chaplain or even a member of the local community. This person is someone you can talk with when you are feeling your faith slipping, and can be someone to turn to when the weight of college is riding on your shoulders.
Many young students struggle with the thought of maintaining their religious faith and attending college far from home. Part of being an adult is being responsible for yourself. You do not need your parents or church members by your side to be able to maintain your religion; you can do it all by yourself. Use these tips as ways to maintain your faith as you begin life on your own.