Maintaining faith in college is not a particularly easy thing. With the hub-bub of common college culture, it is sometimes difficult to find one’s place and identity within the realms of faith. When I arrived at Puget Sound last fall, I knew that I wanted to get (lightly) involved with the Christian groups on campus, but I never I imagined that I would take on a leadership role so soon. I look back on my first encounter with Lighthouse recognize how close I was to missing the opportunities that got me involved.
I remember the mixed feelings I had when attending the first Lighthouse. It was the second day of school at eight-thirty in the evening, and I was sick. I did not want to make polite small chat with people I barely knew when I was sickly and exhausted and incredibly socially incompetent because of it. I was a grump, to say the least. I approached the rotunda with heavy feet, trying to decide whether I should blow it off or listen to the faint nag of my conscience telling me to attend. My conscience won the struggle, and soon enough I found myself among friends, listening to great worship music and volunteering to run sound for the team. That Lighthouse is now a pleasant blur of color and sound in my memory.
Looking back on this anecdote, I realize how fortunate I am to be a part of this community. In high school, my faith was far from strong. I did not pursue it, nor when I had questions or doubts did I try to resolve them. I shied away from affiliation with my religion when it came up in conversation because more often than not, the discussion was not in favor of faith. In retrospect, high school should have been a time where I was more confident in my faith. My life was stable and my schedule set: Wake, school, theatre, home… sleep a little, and repeat. I was surrounded by family and friends- familiar faces that I grew up with.
This being said, I suppose it is natural to assume that I would have expected to be thrust into more of an existential crisis as I juggled a new environment, new faces, new studies; new everything. With the sudden freedom from the norms that cradled me for eighteen years, I thought the little flicker of faith I had would diminish some or at most, stay the same; however, I soon found that while my prior identity waxed and waned in random intervals, my faith was a growing string of continuity. Prior to college, faith was always kept in the dark of my back pocket, but now I find myself wearing it more like a blouse – close to my heart but for everyone to see. My faith did not fade behind my transition from one phase of myself to another; it very much became a prominent part of my identity.
College is a place where one can rebuild herself. The separation from familiarity enables her to find a balance between the old and the new. I found more spiritual freedom because of this. I find that while small portions of what makes me who I am may change, some building stronger and others whittled off, my faith has been (and will continue to be) a large part of who I am, and how I define myself.
Want to chat with Soup about this or anything else? Stop by her next cafe hour anytime from 11-noon on Thursday, April 19th in the Oppenheimer cafe.