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Personal Essay: 5 Benefits of Exploring Faith in College

It’s a typical Saturday morning at SMU, when you and your BFFs go on a cute, insta-worthy brunch date. It’s easy for us SMU women to say yes to brunch… like, why not? It’s bomb food, cute outfits, probably cute pics for Snapchat, and good laughs. But how do we find that group or that friend to go to brunch with?

They say college is supposed to make it “easy” to find your friends. Prior to starting college, my idea was always like a How I Met Your Mother episode where you find the type of friendships that Ted, Marshall and Lily had- immediately, convenient and set in stone.  And then, along the way, you meet some other super cool people (Barney and Robin) to adopt into your squad. If you know anything about HIMYM you know why I brought up brunch. It’s Ted’s fave meal with his fave people. What SMU girl doesn’t want that? And exploring faith is basically like trying out brunch with some friends.

The scary/uncertain thing is, how do we find this group of awesome people that are compatible with our own level of awesomeness if you don’t find them at Mustang Corral, where #mysmu claims that’s where it all starts? Or maybe you didn’t have a roommate you connected with on the first week. (Lol, me either.) Or perhaps, you’re a transfer student and going to freshmen orientations feeling like a grandma.

College can be intimidating and questionable when it comes to meeting and finding your people. Introverted or extroverted, we all need some type of community. Let’s be real, we’re relational beings and thrive in groups for the most part. Not only do we thrive in this way, but the real world (whoa, scary) depends on relationships and personal growth. What’s cool is that faith offers the ultimate relationships, and exercising this will only be a transferrable skill in how we interact with others and ourselves. Let’s admit, it’s pretty necessary to have a solid friend or group of friends (holla at the introverts! We got this!).

Consider your values, type of woman you are now and who you want to be once you finish undergrad. That’s an exciting thought right? A woman with a prestigious degree. You have an ambitious checklist. It’s full of adventure, academia and success. Perhaps, you aren’t sure what you value in in your life, or maybe you’re confused where you stand on some aspects. Welcome to the club, and it’s okay. That’s how most of us walk into college. So here are some of the many benefits of giving faith a shot that other SMU woman can testify to.  

1. You’ll learn about yourself: “I look at myself and others with grace, place my happiness in something more powerful than my circumstances, and form genuine community with those around me. It’s a joyful way to live,” senior Katie Logsdon said.

2. Community: “My faith has impacted me in college because it has given me a community of girls who will support me, encourage me, and love me at all times,” junior Rebecca Baccus said.

3. Connections for success: “Faith in God provides direction and clarity in all parts of my life, including my career path. I’m able to get better advice and connections that will benefit my future to glorify God,” junior Rachel Johnson said.

4. Direction in life: “Following Jesus has made college the greatest adventure. I don’t have to carry the burden of trying to control my future. Instead, I get to enjoy my education and focus on loving others well because my identity isn’t wrapped up in anything other than being known and loved by God,” said Nikki Dabney, SMU class of 2016 and founder of thelegacyladies.com.

5. Personal growth: “I have so little anxiety because of my faith, especially compared to how I was when I first entered college when I was constantly worried about how others perceived me,” senior Kelly Shostag said.

If you’re a woman who wants to be the best you after four years at SMU and have fun, I 100% recommend exploring your faith in college, and I’m not alone in this encouragement. You’ll discover what’s important to you and why. I think we can all agree as college women we deal with a lot of pressures from school, extracurricular clubs, sports, boys (OMG), social life, career, all of it. But what’s cool about faith is that it can make your college experience fulfilling and enhance all parts of our lives as college women.

College can easily become a long-term worry or years of growth and fun. How are we going to take on the best and worst parts of our college experience? Try something new. Try exploring who you are in areas that are uncomfortable and new. Give faith another shot, if you have already. We all know sometimes we’ve got to keep trying to get it right! We’re all a work in progress, that’s a fact.

Beyond our normal focuses like, “how do I look? What am I going to wear to ___? Who am I interested in? What grades am I getting? Etc.,” give faith a shot or a retry to figure out how to become your best self. I mean, we basically try just about everything else in college… You’ll at least get direction and/or a whole lot more (good) than expected!

We as women need to learn ourselves and where we stand first so we can stand for others. By no means am I placing urgency that we all need to become future Hillary Clintons aka women of power in politics or whatever (although we could prob solve the world’s problems with that type of ambition and intellect). I’m also not saying by first, or even by the second exposure, you’ll fall in love with faith.

What I am encouraging you, and us as the SMU female population, to try faith if you haven’t yet or to give it another chance. Who knows, this could be your “ah-ha” moment where you overcome what you’re going through or make a difference (I would totally bet you can accomplish both, all through faith). You may get another perspective of religion (yes, there’s a difference between religion and faith) and yourself. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, others and your purpose in life. Even if you try it timid, confused or lost, you’ll now be able to Yelp it like your fave brunch place and give it a 10/10-recommend or not.

Feature Image via Pinterest

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