Many parents and teens alike struggle with the distance that undergraduate school can bring. Even at a well-respected catholic school, young people will find their beliefs and values challenged by new ideas and world views. In fact, one publication worries that Catholic schools, as well as other colleges, can often cause students to lose their way and change their course. If you want to receive the best education possible, while remaining firm in the faith, you can do a few things to hold fast to the traditions you have grown to love, if you choose to do so.
1. Embrace the school's code of conduct.
Most Catholic schools have a strict code of student behavior that helps to maintain a moral environment on campus and in the dorms. If you are worried about the temptations and freedoms that living on your own can afford, staying close to guidelines laid out by the administration is the best way to keep yourself out of trouble. Common stipulations include:
- curfews for school nights and weekends.
- limited or prohibited alcohol use
- no tolerance for drug use
- prohibitions again sexual activities and misconduct
- strict cheating and plagiarism policies
- a dress code for both students and staff members
You'll find many students, even those who share your faith, who push the boundaries on some of these rules. The best way to stay true to your own convictions is to decide what kind of student you are going to be, and to stick with your convictions. Try to make friends, both in and out of your sect, that respect your personal choices and the code of conduct set by the school.
2. Give everything to your studies.
Many Catholic students enjoy growing their intellect because with every truth, they are better able to see the hand of God in their life. Many students feel like the mental challenge of secular studies helps to improve their personal relationship with Christ. Because Catholic schools strive to be holistic in their educative approach, it's important to take full advantage of studying sciences and liberal arts through the lens of deep conviction and devotion to your chosen religion.
3. Stay consistent with mainstream church activities.
One of the advantages of going to Church school is that you will have full access to weekly Mass, and will be able to attend Bible study and other faith-strengthening groups with young people who share your convictions. If possible, seek a group of friends who re interested in keeping up on church attendance and religious activities. Go to Mass together, and share your insights that you have during your classes with each other.
Also, Catholic schools leave the path open for people who wish to partake of the Sacraments, as well those who seek Ordination to the Priesthood. These pursuits can often be worked into your secular classes, and, of course, your professors will attempt to give you time for personal religious study.
4. Take advantage of spiritual counseling.
Your catholic college will also have ample support for young people who are plagued with questions and who need spiritual guidance. Schools will have chaplains, priests, and bishops who are ready to talk. If it helps you, you can also take advantage of anonymous confession in the school's chapel. If you feel conflicted in your beliefs, these spiritual counselors can help you through your crisis of faith. Don't be afraid to confront your doubts and seek for answers.
Moving away from home and setting out on the strength of your own spiritual wings can be daunting. Use the resources of your catholic school, along with your own personal determination to stay strong in the faith, during your undergraduate studies.