How to Stay Connected to Your Faith in College

The following article will discuss ways to connect to a faith family in college.

By Samantha Bockoven — January 25, 2023


How to Stay Connected to Your Faith in College

A newborn has no religious views and does not follow spiritual practices. Instead, the child is exposed to different religions and worldviews as they grow and develop. Most of the time, the child adheres to their parents' chosen faith. This may occur because the values and beliefs of this religion are taught in the home, at the family's place of worship, and maybe at the school the child attends. During this time, the child may not have a lot of religious autonomy. They might even get in trouble if they question the family's religion or push back against what the parents value and believe is right.

As an individual leaves to go to college, they will have the opportunity to make religious decisions for themselves for perhaps the first time. For some, this might entail an exploration by breaking away from religious practices instilled in them their whole life. Some might want to continue following the same religion but feel lost without the guidance and structure they found at home. Either way, the following article will discuss ways to connect to a faith family in college.

Get Connected to a Place of Worship

Depending on where you attend school, you will most likely be too far away to continue attending the same church or place of worship you did growing up. It is tough to stay connected to faith if you are not regularly exposed to religious teachings and immersing yourself in a community with like-minded individuals. Because of this, getting connected with a new place of worship is important. To do this, consider what you seek in a place of worship ahead of time. For example, if you look for a nondenominational church, you might ask yourself:

  • What size church am I looking for?
  • What are my beliefs, and do they align with a specific denomination of church doctrine?
  • Do I like more traditional hymns or more modern worship music?
  • What kind of ministries and outreach would I want to be involved with at a church?
  • What demographic makeup am I looking for in the church body?

By answering these questions, you can form a picture of the ideal place to attend. Next, you can look on the university's website, where they list nearby places of worship or hop onto the internet to see what is nearby. Initially, you might be overwhelmed by options, but you can quickly start filtering through these choices by checking out the websites.

You can find answers about the church's doctrine on different websites by reading their faith statements. In addition, the website might answer the size and makeup of the church and what they value and find meaningful. Once you do that, you can pick several to visit over the next few weeks to see which one feels the best in person. Once you narrow it down, try to attend for several weeks until you determine it is the best fit.

On Campus Groups

Many campuses have an office of religious and spiritual life or an office of student activities. Whether you physically go into these offices or look online at their websites, you should find a list of different religious groups and clubs you can participate in. Many of these groups have different focuses. Some religious groups might focus on getting together to study religious texts and pray. Others might be service oriented and allow you to meet up with a group of people once a month to do a project in the community. In addition, there may be religious groups for people who want to hang out, play games, or go on outings with people who share the same values. These are great ways to get involved depending on your desire. Do not be afraid to go try out a group. If you do not like it, you do not have to keep going!

Find a Mentor

One way to grow in your faith is to find a spiritual mentor. A spiritual mentor is someone you can meet with regularly to share your struggles, successes, things you are learning in life, etc. They can cheer you on, advise, support you, and help hold you accountable to reach your goals. You may find a spiritual mentor within a more organized program at your place of worship or in a less formal manner by thinking of someone you admire and look up to and asking them if they would be willing to mentor you.

Carve Out Time in Your Day

To truly be connected and grow in your religion, you need to spend more than just a few hours on the weekend focusing on your faith. Instead of this compartmentalization, you should strive to incorporate your faith in every aspect of your life. One way to do this is to start carving out time during your day to pray, read religious texts, or refocus yourself in whatever way is best. This might be difficult at first, but once it becomes a habit, you may begin to look forward to this intentional time you have each day.

Above are several ways to connect and grow in your faith after moving into a new town. The biggest thing to consider is how you will connect to people who share your beliefs and values and are willing to support you, encourage you, and push you to be the best version of yourself. Whether it is a mentor, a place of worship, or a campus group, there are many opportunities to get involved.

Samantha Bockoven

Samantha Bockoven

Samantha Bockoven graduated from Villanova University in 2019 with a degree in Peace and Justice and a minor in Global Health. She went on to get her master’s in public health with a concentration in disaster health and emergency preparedness. Since then, she has worked in a variety of public health jobs in the United States and around the world.
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