How to Grow Your Catholic Faith While in College
Moving from high school to college is a major life change. It’s a time when you’ll meet new people, explore living on your own and figure out what life is like being an adult. You’ll experience plenty of life changes during your time in college, and one of them may be expanding your understanding of the Catholic faith. Learn different ways you can grow in your Catholic faith during college while enjoying your college experience.
How Do You Maintain Your Faith in College?
College presents new life challenges and situations where you may need to consider, “Is this where my faith is leading me? What is the best thing to do in this situation?”
Maintaining your faith in college is a great help when navigating these new situations and helping you make the best decisions. Even if you have confidence in your ability to make good decisions and live out your faith, you never know how you’ll react in the moment. It’s common to have your faith tested in college, and knowing how to make choices that align with your values can help maintain and grow your faith.
Maintaining your faith in college requires intentionality. While you’re on your own for the first time and exploring this new freedom, it’s important to find ways to be deliberate with your life and the choices you make. Being intentional and prioritizing your faith is one of the best ways to keep it in the front of your mind.
If you make an effort to prioritize your faith at the beginning of college, you may find it easier to maintain it throughout your college career. A way to jump-start the growth your faith is to search for Catholic student groups or clubs you can join on campus. This can help you network, build relationships with like-minded people and learn how to promote Catholic faith in your college and community.
Tips to Grow Your Faith Through College
You may feel that you’re spread thin between classes, clubs, friendships, jobs and more in college. Growing in your Catholic faith is a great way to find stability and comfort while you navigate a busy schedule. Explore how to grow in your Catholic faith during college with these tips:
1. Work on Being a Good Student
Attending college is a privilege that strengthens the foundation of your professional life. School, class, exams, studying and homework are the main reasons you’re attending a college or university. The social part of college comes second to working hard on achieving your degree.
You can make the most of your time at college by attending class. As long as you’re healthy and life is carrying along as normal, aim to be on time to class and focus on your homework and studying for upcoming tests.
Regardless of your major, whether it’s in biology, marketing, business, agriculture, health sciences or art, fully immerse yourself into your studies and strive to be an excellent student. Prioritizing your schoolwork along with your faith can help you expand your knowledge in both your studies and your Catholic faith. You can also be an example of the strong work ethic we’re called to embrace in Colossians 3:23.
It’s important to branch out and learn on your own terms. Whether this includes reading a book for fun, journaling or reading passages from the Bible, you can always find time outside of coursework to exercise your brain for education and faith.
2. Build Strong and Valuable Friendships
One of the most fun parts about starting college is getting a fresh start. While you might have some wonderful friendships from high school, college will introduce you to some amazing people who can end up being your life-long friends. You might want to dive headfirst into introducing yourself to people and making friends, but it’s important to consider what you’re looking for in your friendships and how you want these new people to impact your life.
You’ll learn a lot of important topics in the classroom, but you’ll also learn life skills and problem-solving outside the classroom with the friends you surround yourself with. The new friendships you make in college can impact your academic life, social life and spiritual life. That’s why it’s important to learn how to find Catholic friends in college and build strong relationships with people who will support you during your college career and beyond.
College friends who share your spiritual beliefs can be an invaluable source of fellowship and assist you in some tough decisions. A good friend will help you focus on your schoolwork before other social pressures many students experience in college.
3. Strengthen Your Relationship With God
The most important thing to accomplish while you’re at college is to continue building your relationship with God. College might be your first time going to Mass without your family or hometown friends. It’s essential to attend Mass and find moments to grow in your relationship with God during this transformative period of your life.
Strengthening your relationship with God can also mean finding time to volunteer and make a positive impact in your community, going to confession once a month and saying prayers every morning and night.
How to Find a Community of Catholics in College
Whether you’re at a small college or large university, finding a Catholic group for students is one of the most beneficial things you can do. Most colleges have at least one student group where Catholics can gather and share in Bible studies, service opportunities and other activities. Student Catholic groups or clubs are a helpful way to find other Catholic friends and continue to grow in your faith together.
Finding a Parish in College
Many people attend the church their parents brought them to over the course of their lives. Once you enter college, it’s time to find your own parish to call home. This is a decision you should take careful consideration in, as finding a church you enjoy and find comfort in is important in maintaining your faith in college.
One of the best ways to find a parish is by asking other Catholic friends at school. You can ask people in your student clubs, organizations or people in your classes for Catholic churches within the surrounding community. You can always attend churches yourself and see if you enjoy them, but it may be helpful to ask for recommendations beforehand to make your search easier.
Enjoy Your Time in College and Pray for Growth in Your Faith
College is an exciting time of your life. The power of prayer is strong, so pray for friends that share similar beliefs, speak with God to build your relationship and focus on your schoolwork. If you would like additional prayer for growth in your faith during your college career, submit a prayer intention today. We at Catholic World Mission are happy to spend time in prayer and will ask the Lord to expand your knowledge and prepare you for the chapter that comes after college.
Learn More About Catholic Inspiration & Encouragement
Deacon Rick Medina is the Former Executive Director of Catholic World Mission and for years oversaw the management of all of Catholic World Mission's projects in over 35 countries. He was ordained a deacon of the archdiocese of Atlanta in 2013. He currently serves at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Georgia, and is active in several ministries, including RCIA, baptism preparation, Life Teen, Altar Server group, Grief Share, and Adult Faith Formation.