As the air slowly changes, we know what comes next: moving to school.
Whether it’s your first fall moving to college or your last one, the summer chapter ends soon. You may feel a number of things–maybe you’re anxious about classes, or you’re excited about your senior year.
Wherever you begin this year, here are four things to keep in mind regarding your faith.
1) Fresh starts are intentional
Summer is almost a fever dream and ends before we know it.
As college begins, we need a fresh start, and it’s intentional. There is no need to compare your faith life to the past. This is your blank page. Write it exactly how you want it. All you need is to take that first step.
Join that Bible study, stay for donuts after Mass, or go to weeknight Eucharist adoration. Maybe you already did these things and feel “stuck”.
What a perfect call to challenge yourself and step into something new!
For example, you could take on a leadership position at your local Newman Center, lead your own Bible study, or even start Fr. Mike Schmitz’s ‘Bible in A Year’ podcast. Nevertheless, this fall, the Lord invites you to something new and exciting.
How will you answer that invitation?
2) Prioritize Him
College is busy. You have your class schedule, along with your social life, a sport, a club, a job, or whatever it may be. Your schedule gets full, fast. Trust me, I get it, and so does Jesus. But He still wants to see you. This fall,
I invite you to make time for Him and make it purposeful.
In the same way you schedule office hours and study time, schedule some time to see and talk to Him.
A good start can be those 30 minutes you have in between your afternoon classes. Go to the chapel and just talk to Him. Daily Mass is always an option and a great way to start or end your day.
Prioritize your time with God every day. It will be so worth it. It will give you a sense of peace during the panic of the semester.
3) Holiness in the ordinary
Being faithful in college is not easy. There will be difficult and busy days and days where you don’t want to pray because you see it as another item to check off the list. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.
There is so much holiness in the ordinary!
When you wake up, say a prayer of thanksgiving that you received another day to study and do what you love. On your walk through campus, say a few Hail Marys for the students passing you by. Keep a rosary in your pocket so when the stress hits, you know the Lord has your back.
Do the little things that bring you closer to Him. No matter how small you think they are, He notices, and you will notice how it changes you.
4) Be disciplined and thoughtful
Falling into a rut is easy; allowing homework and our daily activities to fill our heads without noticing we are scrambling.
We want to say ‘yes’ to everything and see everyone, but that’s not always possible, and that is okay. At times, we need to discipline ourselves, understanding when and where to say “yes” and when to acknowledge that a “no” might be best.
When we practice discipline and pray regularly, it’s easier to discern what God wants us to do with our limited free time.
Maybe grab coffee with that friend, or take quiet time and finally read that book on your nightstand. Or set aside time to take a nap.
Perhaps your fall schedule will allow some breathing room and the opportunity to finally attend a mission trip through FOCUS Missions or another organization. You could also attend a national Catholic event to rejuvenate your soul, such as SEEK23.
New chapters are full of many emotions. Embrace them all and trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment.
This school year will be one for growth. I can’t wait to see everything the Lord has in store for all of us. He walks right next to you as you start this chapter, so allow Him to lead you this year and always.