How I Brought My Faith to College

by Taryn Blackstock

College. It sounds like a scary place, right? Living on your own, taking hard classes, picking a major, “adulting.” You’re basically starting your future in college, or at least preparing for it.

As a Christian, I had a lot of questions.
Like me, you may be thinking…

Where will I go to church?
How do I keep my faith?
What about all these parties and crazy drunk college students?
You may be asking God things like:
Where should I go to college?
What should I major in?
Should I join a sorority or fraternity
What am I meant to be doing?

While these all seem like very important questions and they may stress you out, I am here to give you my testimony as a college student at Oklahoma State University that is in a sorority and still strong in my faith.

Senior year of high school, I felt so overwhelmed and so excited about the thought of college. I had a million questions, and a million things to do. I was trying to ask God where he wanted me to go to college, and what He wanted me to do.

I quickly realized that sometimes those are decisions you have to just make, and God doesn’t simply give you the easy answer. Truth is, God can use you however He intends to use you, no matter what college you attend. Once you realize that, just go wherever you feel at home and wherever you can see yourself living for four years.

Finding a Church

Finding a church was the first thing on my to do list when I got to college, after moving in and buying books.

I looked up churches and campus ministries online, and also asked around. When you tour your campus, there may also be a place to sign up or talk to campus ministries, and they will reach out to you when you get to campus.

Each weekend, my boyfriend and I went to a new church to try out all of the ones in Stillwater until we found one that was for us. Yes, I went with my boyfriend, but let me tell you why this was such a good thing for me. He also made finding a church a priority, and we kept each other accountable for going each Sunday and trying to find a church as soon as we could. If you know anyone going to the same school as you that is a Christian, make this a group task and go together each Sunday so you aren’t alone and can find a church together.
In some college towns, churches will have services specifically for college students or even have services on campus.

Just find one where you feel home and comfortable! If you make finding a church a priority and don’t put it off until the second semester, it will be easier to find a new church to call home while you’re at college.

For me, I tried campus ministries, churches in town, and some small groups. Each week we went to a new church, met people, and listened to the service. I was looking for a church that had a similar atmosphere to Preston Trail and Life Church became that for me in Stillwater, where I didn’t feel like I had to be a perfect Christian, because there really is no such thing.
I would also encourage college students to find a small group so you have others to hold you accountable in college. I met some friends that already attended a small group and asked me to join them, and I ended up loving it!

Leaning into God

You may be thinking that college will really be hard on your faith, but let me tell you why so far this has been the best year for my relationship with God.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m in a sorority and most people will tell you that recruitment was the worst week of their life, but for me it was one of the best. That week I felt God more than I ever have in my life, He was there with me through the whole process, and I knew I didn’t have to worry as much about how I looked or what I said, because He had a plan and I would end up wherever He wanted me or could use me the best.

That week especially, I felt God’s presence with me, and whether I got in a house or not, He had plans for me that were far greater than I could even imagine. I did end up in a sorority house, and one of the reasons I liked it is because faith is a part of it.

We have two Chaplains do a message at every chapter meeting, have prayer requests, and have Bible study once a week. That is not the case for every house, but for me I have a great circle of people around me that keep me accountable for my faith and that can help me when I struggle. Another reason why this was the best year for my relationship with God, was because I had learned to trust Him more and give everything to Him.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I applied for Freshman Representative Council and Junior Greek Life, both very prestigious groups for freshmen on my campus. I applied and interviewed for both of these in the same week and got rejected from both the following week. That was a very hard time for me because I felt like a failure, like I couldn’t get anything and like I wasn’t good enough.

After sulking for about a week, I looked back on the situation and realized that I needed to trust God because I know He has great plans for me and there is just something else I am meant to do. I ended up being a Freshman Research Scholar, Facilitator for the National Society of Leadership and Success, Academic Excellence Chair, and Sports Chair for my sorority. If I had gotten either of the other positions, I wouldn’t have had time to devote myself to any of the positions I currently have. Now when I apply for things, I have faith that God knows what is best for me and if I don’t get something, that is okay because God needs me somewhere else and I can still do His work no matter where I am.

My Experience with Greek Life

Lastly, I want to talk about being in a sorority. Before going through recruitment, I always thought sororities were all about parties, boys, and being pretty. Boy, was I WRONG!! I am not one for drinking, partying, or anything of the sort, honestly.

I usually do homework or watch Netflix on the weekends. I am not judging anyone that does any of that, it just isn’t my scene and I am still thriving in my sorority. We have date parties, formals, and a million other functions, but I just choose to not go to those events or I just sober monitor to take care of my sisters who need it.

So, if you want to join a house, give it a try because you don’t have to party or drink, you can stay strong in your faith, and you can have so many amazing opportunities. In my house a lot of the girls serve at church and most of us all go to Life Church together. I have so many leadership positions and got them even when I was just a freshman!

We also make sure we do study hours and keep up our grades. We even go volunteer together and have our own charitable cause we are constantly raising money for. Going Greek is definitely not a bad thing, you just have to figure out if it is your thing and find your home. Who knows you could even help bring your brothers or sisters to Christ through the process.
God can really do amazing things with you when you’re in college, there will be ups and downs, but you learn a lot about yourself and your faith.
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