College is an awkward transition between leaving home and entering the “real world” of careers, grocery bills, and mortgage payments. And you might not want to hear it, but we have it easy in college. It’s easy to find free food and life is safe here in Hillsdale. It is not uncommon to find yourself in an unusually small bubble throughout your college years, especially here at Hillsdale, but it is important to find an outlet for staying in touch with reality. This can be done by continuing to cultivate your spiritual life, which will shape your collegiate growth.
One of the most influential factors of your childhood was your family life. Growing up with your parents and siblings shaped much of your character. Your family may have introduced you to a faith community, where you shared beliefs and values. So, get involved: go to Church, meet families within your congregation and get to know them, they will offer you a glimpse of the life for which we are preparing.
Because Hillsdale College does not have a specific church of its own, students are led to local parishes in the surrounding communities. This opportunity to engage with local faith communities allows for a glimpse into familial congregational life, something that college students do not have on their own. Being able to observe and worship with families of the same faith background gives students yet another image, outside of their own families, of people living out the Gospel.
Senior Meghan Perks helped establish an adopt-a-student program at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church after hearing about a friend’s experience with a similar program at College Baptist. She says that the program, which allows students to participate in activities with a family from the parish, is a great way to get off campus and “realize that there is life outside the library and Lane and Kendall.”
Most importantly, however, Perks said the program is a reminder that as students, we are still part of the Body of Christ.
“Our school life is part of living a life of Christ and walking with him,” Perks said.
On campus, different religious groups gather for worship, bible studies, and prayer throughout each week, but attending weekly services off campus allows a deepening of relationships outside the college.
Keith Porter, pastor of Hillsdale Free Methodist Church, said faith never really becomes real to us unless through action, which ultimately makes scripture more alive.
“Having exposure to another congregation outside that of your childhood broadens your scope of the Kingdom of God,” Porter said.
His congregation offers students a variety of volunteer outlets, allowing for students to engage in their community, primarily through working with young children.
People change a lot during college. You will grow significantly in maturity, in wisdom, and in your understanding of The Truth. So engage with those in your church communities, because they possess a treasure chest of wisdom that will keep you grounded in reality, as part of a larger preparation for the future.
Josephine von Dohlen is a junior majoring in American studies.