I’m so excited about this post! As I’m sure you’ve learned by now, I’m a college christian, but I wanted to chat with you about what that really looks like. I believe a lot of people are turned away from christianity in college or really any season of life because they think they won’t be able to have fun, or are guilty for the things they’ve already done. Being a christian in college has not stopped me from experiencing friendship, good times, or being left out of the “college experience”. In fact, being a christian has actually added to the value of my college experience.
Life as a Christian in College
I think it’s so important to start by telling you where I was my freshman year of college. I entered college as a fairly new christian. I had been going to church for about three years and had read a very minimal amount of my bible. I didn’t really know what it looked like to have a community of christian people in my life, and I was entering the year having made a lot of mistakes.
We’re all sinners and we all make mistakes. I entered freshman year having done things that I knew were wrong. Things I wasn’t proud of, and honestly things I didn’t really want to do. I think we all have a vision for ourselves and I was someone who let my own standards and values get pushed to the back burner in order to be included and loved by others. Pursuing my faith in college made me more aware of who I truly wanted to be.
I tried out a bunch of different campus ministries and didn’t really feels as if I had found my fit. Second semester of freshman year I joined a bible study through FCA, a campus ministry. It wasn’t what I expected and didn’t give me the connection I needed. But then covid happened, and we were sent home, and I was dealing with a lot of brokenness and loneliness. It was in that season I decided to turn to scripture. Those few months of reading through the New Testament showed me the Bible was written for me. I realized that my brokenness and past mistakes no longer had to define me, I had the choice to make something better for myself.
Sophomore year I joined another small group and got more involved in FCA. In that year, I found exactly what I was looking for, and discovered who God was calling me to be. Do I have all the answers now? Of course not. Do I still sin? Of course, but I live my life differently. I live my life with peace knowing God is in control and it’s up to me to try my best to live out my life as He desires.
The "College Experience"
I’m not going to sugar coat this or act like we don’t all know what goes on freshman year in college. Someone in the universe has convinced us that freshman year is the year of experimentation. It’s the year you have sex, get drunk, party, etc. but I can tell you that all those things lead to dead ends. At the end of all those things you’ll find loneliness, guilt, and shame. Sure, maybe you have a couple fun nights, but those “fun times” don’t lead to lasting relationships. They don’t lead to deep conversations. They don’t lead to the things you NEED to survive.
I wish this was something I had realized sooner. There is no right way to experience college. If you never go to a frat party, you didn’t miss out on a college. You simply chose to experience college life in a different way. In a more life-giving way.
Being a christian in college means I hold myself to higher standards. It means I have to actively choose to live my life differently. Yes, it can be difficult sometimes to take the road less traveled, but it’s so much more rewarding. I’ve found people who I genuinely love to do life with. We can gather and have deep conversations. We can encourage each other. We can laugh over coffee, or games, or walks in the park. It’s about shifting your mindset and realizing there are so many other ways to create fun. If you’re not in the place yet, it’s okay. Give yourself time to find those people, and ask God to send them your way.
I spend a lot of my time planning for small groups, attending small groups, sitting in coffee shops chatting with friends, going to fun retreats, and so much more. All of those things fill me up and provide me with joy.
Take a second to reflect on what fills your soul. Do you enjoy playing card games? Is it reading a book outside? Kayaking or going for a run? Staying up late watching movies? Traveling? Having a dance party? Baking or cooking? The list goes on and on. There are so many things out there we consider our passions, things we enjoy doing in our free time. Turn those things into your fun.
4 Tips to Create Fun & Form Friendships as a Christian
1. Be the planner
How many of us are standing around waiting to get invited to things? Stop being afraid to reach out to people. Maybe you have to text a few people before you finally get a yes. That’s okay! I used to think it was a bad thing if I was always the one planning stuff. It doesn’t matter who got you together, what matters is you’re having fun.
When you plan the events you also dictate what you’re doing. This means you have the power to plan stuff you love. Invite your friends to go for a hike, to meet for a sunrise breakfast, watch a cheesy romcom. Whatever it is that fills your soul and creates genuine connections with people. Who wants a good bucket list post??? Comment some things you’d like to see on it.
2. Do what you love
Stop doing things you don’t enjoy. College is for you. When you start doing things you love, you begin to attract people who love those things too. The key to making friends in college is to surround yourself with people who love the things you love. If you don’t love going to bars on Friday night, or hanging out at a party, why do you think you’ll find friends there? Stop looking for people in the wrong places. God will bring people into your life who lead you to better and call you to higher. You find those people in places where you’re completely yourself.
3. Don't be afraid to say no
Stop feeling selfish or guilty for saying no. There were many times freshman year that I said no to a party and then felt guilty for staying in my dorm to read a book after a long week. You deserve to take time for yourself and the things that you enjoy. If no one else is going to tell you, I will, it’s okay.
4. Think outside the box
There’s actually a lot of really cool things you can do in college that don’t exist anywhere else. You don’t have to do the same old boring things all the time. Think outside the box. Plan things that are different and fun. On that note, college is a place for you to create the experience you want. If there’s not a club for your favorite hobby, create one. If you want to start a podcast, get some friends together and make it a reality. Just do it. Start the thing and take a leap of faith. Don’t confine yourself to what you know or what others have done.
5. Stay present
This is a big one, especially coming from a professional worrier. Don’t get caught up in the maybes or the tomorrows. Focus on where you are today and you’ll find you’re so much more content. God will provide so much for you if you just let Him do it on His time. One of my favorite verses to remind myself of is Matthew 6:34 which reminds us to be present because God has already planned our entire lives for us.
I’ve been the girl with one foot in the world and one foot in the Bible. I don’t want that for you because it leads to nowhere. When you start living with both feet in God’s word, you are rewarded with so much life. Reach out to me on instagram @dear_littlesis to have a conversation.