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How to Keep the Faith When Heading to College

August and September are typically months when young adults start college and university. It may be the first time you’re away from home. Making good choices based on reflection rather than impulsively making decisions will help you to keep your faith.

Sacraments: Attend Mass weekly--this is a must, and Confession monthly, if possible. Some students may sleep in that first Sunday they’re away from home and realize that lightning won’t strike. Well, that’s true. Lightning won’t strike if you sleep in and don’t attend Mass. As human beings, we all have a tendency to sin. We need the graces of the sacraments, especially weekly Mass and the Eucharist, to be able to fight any temptations that come our way. Without the graces of weekly Mass, keeping your faith will be much more difficult. Good news, most colleges offer a Sunday evening Mass, so you can sleep in on the weekends without missing your obligation.

Drinking/Drugs: It’s best to avoid experimenting with both drinking and drugs while at college. It’s tempting to want to try these things, but both can get college students into a lot of trouble. Young women (and young men) can be taken advantage of when they are under the influence and not acting with a full conscience mind.

Ongoing communication with your parents: You may be nervous about living away from home, but your parents are nervous too and will depend on texts and phone chats while you’re away. They won’t necessarily insist that you text or call them every day, but keep them informed on a schedule that you and your parents can agree on.

Catholic organizations: There are many great Catholic organizations in the city you’re attending college. There are Catholic youth groups in many college towns. Set aside time to attend Catholic youth conferences like the National Catholic Youth Conference and Lifeteen throughout the entire school year to give you spiritual support with other like-minded young adults.

Guardians of the eyes/ears: It’s a great idea to keep a crucifix near your computer or laptop. It can remind you to be morally responsible on the internet. Also, read good Catholic books that will enhance your faith instead of books that tempt you to fall away from the faith.

Living away from home doesn’t have to be nerve-racking and you don’t have to lose your faith. By frequenting the sacraments, avoiding drinking and drugs, communicating with your parents, and keeping guard of your eyes and ears, your faith can—and should— grow stronger!

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