As you begin this new chapter of your life, it is important to firmly root yourself in the faith. College is about much more than learning from professors and writing term papers. College is about more than an education. It’s about formation.

College will be your first experience of living life by your own rules (unless of course your mom is moving in with you–which we don’t recommend). We have a few suggestions to help you get your priorities right from the beginning.

If you need some motivation, start by watching this video  from the campus ministry at Colorado State University. At school you will find there is an overwhelming majority of people who claim that virtue is outdated, but there is also an overwhelming amount of people who know that “when we’re pursuing the promises that the Lord has given us, the great, then we’re on an adventure that allows us to be fully alive”.  

Get connected and stay connected

Your faith starts becoming more your own when you have to freely choose it. Transitions are always difficult and sometimes the only way to get connected is to go out and do it yourself… no one’s going to do it for you.

Most campuses have a Catholic club or Newman Center but even if yours doesn’t, go to the surrounding parishes. Staying connected to friends and your community at home will help to ground you even when it seems like there is nothing to help you grow in your faith at school.

Always remember that God doesn’t leave us alone. He doesn’t bring us to a deserted place and drop us off for the semester. He always provides what we need, but most of the time that requires us going outside of our comfort zones to seek what He is offering.  

Mind body and spirit

We all need to find the unique balance of sleep, food, prayer, exercise etc. in our lives. What works for your friend may not work for you. Just because a hallmate can function on three hours of sleep doesn’t mean you should be able to. Scheduling in time for prayer, exercise, and fun is something that sounds like common sense but with a completely new environment, all of this can get shoved aside. It is important to get involved but as with anything, balance is the key.

Ask for help

If you’re struggling, it may not be because you’re not praying hard enough. We need others who are older and wiser to help us see our situation more clearly. Get to know the people who spend a lot of time with Him and seek their friendship and advice. Asking for help gives God permission to work more freely in our lives.

It’s okay to not be okay

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt 6:33).
Surprisingly, college isn’t ‘it’. Though it’s a new environment with new friends and opportunities, problems and struggles do not melt away. It’s okay to suffer. It’s okay that you don’t like being at college. It’s okay that it’s not what you expected. And to reveal a big secret… not everyone is having the time of their life as portrayed on social media. College is hard and forming authentic friendships take time. When you don’t settle for the typical college experience and pursue a life of greatness, the community will come, but not as quickly. Be patient. 

Be a Saint

Don’t settle for less than your heart desires! Say yes to the crazy offers He makes you and don’t be afraid to jump! Pope Francis encourages us to swim against the tide and the norms of our generation. In college, there is so much talk of the future and the next step that it is very easy to get caught up in what you are going to do in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, but God is calling you to be a saint right now. We don’t need a diploma to give Him our hearts!

Be assured that the prayers of the Catholic Link team will be with you as you embark on this part of your journey.

A Student’s Prayer (St. Thomas Aquinas):  Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance. Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion. This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever.  Amen.