Chris Padgett: Graduated Seniors

College can be difficult; that’s not exactly a secret. You’ve got to deal with new spaces, new people, new classes, new teachers, time consuming homework, weird sleeping schedules, and of course, the dreaded freshman roommate who may be you new best friend or worst enemy.

High school has prepared you some, but the next four years are still an unwritten story. When you unload you bags in that dorm parking lot, you will be walking into a world more daunting than it is familiar. So how do you survive? How do you navigate the complex changes while still keeping your personality, your faith life, your soul?

It’s an answer Chris Padgett explores as he leads the talk about college life–an answer that isn’t always easy. Because as Chris blatantly puts it, large, secular colleges are the places convictions go to die. Classrooms are not always safe zones to share your belief in Jesus. In fact, an abandonment of your religion and the blurring or moral lines is often accepted if not outright promoted. You may get odd looks if you start quoting the catechism in class, but no one will argue or bat an eye if you proclaim you don’t believe in God. This makes maintaining your spiritual life ten times harder, especially if you attended a  Catholic high school where the teachings of the church were openly discussed. Despite the barriers, Chris lets us know there always hope. Here are some suggestions Chris gives to keep you relationship with God flourishing despite the obstacles that jump in your way.

Find Your Oasis

Even in the most hostile environments, there are faithful practicing Catholics and amazing resources at your fingertips. Many colleges have a Newman Centers and Catholic campus ministries that hold worship nights, meetings, and events. There is are also a plethora of online communities, blogs, apps, and books written and created specifically with your college faith journey in mind. There are many tools from prayer novenas to YouTube videos only one Google search away.

An Accountability Partner

No man is an Island. Find friends who will lead you to holiness and keep them close. Have a a person you trust that you can text a quick prayer request to or talk on the phone. Find a local priest or spiritual adviser. If you have a wonderful youth group already, don’t let those connections go just because you’ve graduated.

Be A Light for Others

Haters gonna hate, hate, hate right? There are always going to be people who  don’t understand the Holy Spirit you have burning inside. Those people often shy away or oppose your light, because they are too far in the dark to feel comfortable being around the illumination you show. Accept that your love for Christ is not always going to be wanted, but don’t be afraid to share the happiness and joy you’ve received from the sacraments. You may be the only image of God’s love that they ever see.

Quotables

Ask yourself a simple question. What will it take for you to become the saint you are suppose to be?

You are only one prayer away from healing.

To be truly independent you have to acknowledge that you still need Christ.

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Written by Aneliesa Gilpin
Aneliesa is a student at Berklee College of Music, studying songwriting. She loves pop music, exploring Los Angeles, and explaining to people how she can’t hear the letter H. You can find her volunteering on the Reap Team or breaking into spontaneous musical theater numbers with strangers on the street.