A Letter to Christian College Students from a Christian College Student
By: Ariel S. Bennett
In today’s society being a Christian college student can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. You’re away from home and on your own for the very first time. There is a ton going on and in the midst of all of that you’re left to figure out how to find balance. It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the fun of college life and lack of rules and boundaries. I mean come on, there’s no one around to tell you when to come in for the night, what to spend your money on, or wake you up in the morning for class. Those High School days are over, and you love it. But, while enjoying your social life and new-found freedom, it’s essential that you remember the reason that you’re in college: to get an education.
I can speak from personal experience when I say that the first semester flies by! I spent so much time exploring and meeting new people. I didn’t know how to balance my social life with school and on top of that band practice. I stayed up late all of the time, partied until my feet couldn’t take anymore, and picked up some bad habits in the process. Mid-terms rolled around before I knew it, and I was NOT prepared. I was behind in classes and barely paying attention when I actually went to class. When grades came out I was extremely disappointed in myself for slipping so far from what I knew was right. I was an honor student all through high school and always took pride in making the best grades and putting forth my best effort. I had lost all of that. I was starting to become someone that I didn’t know anymore. And to make things worse, I hadn’t been to church since I left home and wasn’t praying like I used to. After seeing my grades and realizing that I didn’t like the person that I was becoming I decided that I would do whatever it took to get back on track… after my Spring-Break of course! I was not about to miss out on Panama! (My priorities were still all screwed up).
The school was back in session and I was determined to not only bring my grades up but to also get back to where I came from the church. This was way easier said than done. For the first few weeks, I struggled with studying because I had abandoned all of my study habits. Studying was the last thing on my mind when I first got to school, so I got really acquainted with a new friend, Cramming. He was my go-to option for all quizzes and tests. It was hard to let him go, but after really focusing on what I needed to get done, Studying and I made up and were like best buds again. I started to see my grades getting better and this motivated me to keep pushing. One thing down, now on to the next. One of my close friends at the time went to church just about every Sunday, and would always come back and tell me how good the services were and that I should come with her sometimes. I took her up on the offer and went to my first church service since I had been away from home. At first, I was nervous and hesitant to enter the building. I started thinking about everything that I had been doing and putting before God and church. I knew that I was wrong and felt extremely guilty. It was overwhelming to realize how far I had strayed away from God and his word. I gathered myself and walked in. Everyone was very welcoming. This eased my anxiousness and I felt ten times more relaxed. After the service, I felt revived and started to wonder how I had gone so long without being in church. I started attending a lot more often and my relationship with God became stronger than before. This was one of the best decisions that I had ever made, and it was even better knowing that I had made it on my own.
Shortly after getting my life together I started to see things in people that I hadn’t seen before. I was no longer blinded by my excitement and freedom. I began to shake many of the bad habits that I had picked up in the first semester and some of the bad people too. It felt good to have a balance. My grades were improving, I was a lot happier, and the path to greatness seemed even brighter.
When faced with the challenges of being a Christian college student it will always be easy to go with the flow of things. I won’t lie and tell you that it will be easy to do the right things, the Christian things because sometimes it won’t be. But, you have to remember to keep God first in all that you do. He gave us the knowledge to know right and wrong for a reason, and we have the choice to use this knowledge to our benefit. Take a few notes and don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Keep your focus, learn to balance things as soon as possible, stay away from the wrong crowds, don’t forget to study, and don’t forget to PRAY!!! God Bless!
P.S. I would love for some of you to comment, leave your opinions, or your experiences with being a Christian college student!
About Ariel- She is currently a college student at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. She is originally from Birmingham, AL and is a member of the First United CPCA and Birmingham Presbytery.