I’m about to start my final year at my college. Throughout these past three years, I’ve learned so much about who I am and what I want to get out of this life. The one thing that has increasingly become the center of all of that is God. I’ve talked about my faith before, but this time I wanted to get a little more personal and tell you all the basic story (so far) of being a Catholic in college, which is also sort-of my testimony too. (Hint: It’s as hard as you think it is.)
When I came to college my freshman year, I was so excited to try everything out. There was going to be drinking and parties and boys and I just couldn’t wait to have the time of my life. That was all fun for a while but I let something else go entirely: my faith. My morals were honestly starting to go down the drain. There were a lot of times that first year that I would be super unhappy with myself because I didn’t like who I was becoming.
I went to church, but not regularly. I just didn’t want to get involved with it. All I saw was hard work and constant praying and bible studies. Sure, being a Catholic consists of that stuff, but not in the quantity that it seemed like.
Looking back, you see how easy it is for you to just throw everything you believe out the window in order to fit in in college. You see “college life” in the movies and think that’s the standard you have to live up to. Ex: casual sex all the time, getting way past the point of no return with drinking, going out every night of the weekend. Of course this isn’t true of everyone, but it was for me.
However, the more I fell into that routine, the more I honestly didn’t like myself. I didn’t agree with half of the things I did, but did them anyway. Although I made sure to never do anything extremely bad or crazy, it still wasn’t me and still wasn’t good.
When I came back to school my sophomore year, that was when everything kind of clicked for me. I’d had my fun my freshman year and learned more about myself than I ever had, and now I was ready to see what that meant for me. My faith honestly came back into the picture when I met my boyfriend at the beginning of that year. He was (is) this boy who was super rooted in his faith and he made it look so easy. He loved God and that made me love him. Just a couple of days after we met, we went to church together and I’ve (almost) never missed a Sunday after that.
Once I let God back into my life, things finally felt right. I was finally happy with who I was becoming and what I believed in.
However, it’s been a struggle just as much as it’s been a blessing. Having the beliefs that I do in this day and age is hard. I’ve had so many classes that teach things like evolution and pro-choice and things that just go against what I believe in.
It’s hard to explain to people that no, I’m not interested in casual hookups with guys.
It’s hard to explain that I don’t agree with all of the protestant religions that people practice on college campuses and everywhere else in this world.
It’s hard to explain that I love going to church on Sunday, even if I was drinking the night before or stayed up way too late.
It’s hard to explain that while I may not be found supporting gay or transgender people, I think they deserve just as much love as everyone else.
It’s also hard when people tell me that the church is pushing all of these “crazy” ideas into my head. That isn’t the case at all. I love what the bible has to say, although it’s not always easy. Although not everyone may agree with it, I’m proud of it because I’ve experienced the goodness that comes from it.
And guys, I’ve never been let down when I pray about something. Never.
People tend to see Catholicism (or religion in general) as a way of controlling people, but that’s completely wrong. I’ve found more love and happiness and confidence and freedom in my beliefs that I ever though possible. It’s changed me as a person 100%.
One of the coolest things about being a Catholic in college is that there’s other people like you out there. There’s other college students, with the same struggles as you, who love God. And those people are some of the best that I’ve ever met. They care and smile more than I’ve ever seen and they’re the kind of rare, genuine, hard-working people everyone looks up to.
Although I still go out and have fun with my friends and drink (yay to being 21 finally!!), I have a new perspective on it. I don’t need any of that to be happy or validate that I’m having a good college experience. I take care of myself and hold strong to my morals.
Yes, everyone, I still mess up. A lot. There’s a lot of things I’m not proud of about myself. I’m so far from perfect and I’m always going to be that way. But it’s knowing you aren’t perfect that makes you a good Catholic. God is always there to forgive you and give you another chance, even though He knows you might need a million more. That’s why I need God in my life, that’s why we all need God.
I could tell you stories upon stories of times when God has worked tiny miracles in my life, or stories of things I’ve experienced. It’s incredible.
Although it’s never been easy, it’s always been exciting when it comes to living my faith in college. I’ve never been tested so much or learned as much as I have these past three years. I know I have a strongly rooted faith I’ll carry with me my entire life.
So, to the rest of you:
although what you believe may not be the most popular opinion, believe it anyway. Because if you don’t stand up for what you believe, what do you have?
Have you guys had similar experiences in your life so far? Please comment below and let’s have a conversation about it! I am super curious,