Schools are where the next generation is formed.

Sometimes, negative things happen there but there is so much positive going on as well. I wanted to know how being Catholic positively affected students’ lives, so I asked them.

I offered a free student planner to the best response to a simple question: “What is different about you at school because you are Catholic?”

Here are the best 12 responses I got from high school and college students – just the age we often lose hope – and I’ll reveal who won at the end.

“My Catholic faith is the reason I am still in college. After wanting to give up numerous times and having gone down a wrong path in the past, my faith is the reason I have persevered so far, and why I feel at peace about the future.”

Dominique C., College Senior

“The thing most people notice is when I pray over my food at lunch. I’ve been praying over my food my whole life at home, but it took time for me to muster up the courage to make the sign of the cross in front of my peers.”

Almira M., grade 12

“I receive so much support and encouragement from my Confirmation sponsor, who is a priest. When I was thinking about what I’d like to study and do, he advised me to not look for a job or career, but to seek out my vocation instead. That really stuck with me.”

Michael H., grade 11

“Being Catholic at school means working hard to glorify God. It means offering up studying and waking up early to pray. Most importantly being a Catholic student means seeing my campus as a mission field to bring the Gospel message to each and every student.”

Patrick P., College Sophomore

“Every Thursday night, when most of the kids at my secular public university head downtown to drink and party, because I am Catholic, my friends and I head to the Catholic Center and have an hour of Adoration and fellowship.”

John B., College Junior

“Because I am Catholic I am able to share my faith with the crucifix I wear around my neck. People are able to come to me and ask questions – mainly Catholics who know I am a convert and am knowledgeable.”

Seth B., grade 11

“I’ve been very open about my Catholic faith this past year and everyone knows me now as the ‘Catholic’ one. It’s been really amazing because since I have that identity people have asked me questions about the faith, and I’ve even been able to get one girl interested in becoming Catholic.”

Alexandra M., grade 12

“I am involved in a few different faith based organizations, my roommate and I go to mass every Sunday and other holy days, and I’ve often explained the reason behind different Catholic holidays to classmates. As a science major, everything I learn makes me more amazed at what God is capable of.”

Rebecca P., College Junior

“I make daily mass, weekly confession & adoration, & evangelization opportunities priorities in my busy school & sorority schedule. I recently decided to ditch the underage drinking to better exhibit my faith & show others that there is another lifestyle choice that brings about true freedom, joy, & virtuous friendships.”

Hanna B., College Sophomore

“I try to remember the work that I do (probably lesson plans next semester for student teaching), despite all the stress, and no matter how unimportant it may seem can be for the greater glory of God if I unite my prayers works joys and sufferings with Him daily.”

Madeline, College Senior

“Being Catholic should not be like wearing a mask, it has become a part of who I am and who I am striving to become (a saint). I learned to forgive those who push me around and defend my faith when asked questions such as, why do you confess to a priest? Isn’t he just a man? Why do you people eat the body, are you cannibals? I learned that abortion is not ok and that being called a Catholic Church girl is a great compliment.”

Lovita V., College Freshman

And the winner is…

“One thing about have found compelling in my first year at Stephen F. Austin State University is my spiritual peace, specifically during finals. I would find myself in Adoration during study breaks seeking knowledge and guidance during rough times. Being Catholic gives me this opportunities and I cherish it.”

Alex C., College Sophomore

Alex won a free S2S: Student to Saint planner for the best response! A few of the responses above also deserved a planner too but I only had 1 planner.

[See also: 10 Saints Every Student Needs For Going Back to School]

[See also: Epic Fail: College Students Mistake Dominican for KKK Member]

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