A Catholic’s Guide to Surviving College

Getting through the daily grind of homework, lectures, studying, and signature assignments has the potential to sap our strength and leave us with little time for devotion and prayer. This is the nature of colleges and universities, as most simply do not reflect the Catholic culture. As Catholics continue to attend colleges or universities, and face these struggles so often, here are some tips I have suggest to help Catholics survive college:

Designate time throughout your day to pray

  • Being able to set aside time to pray the Rosary, reflect on Scripture, or even just attend Adoration on a constant [weekly] basis, helps to ground us in our Faith.
  • When praying the Rosary, divide it up throughout the day. If you can’t pray the Rosary in a single sitting, do so in multiple, shorter sittings as you go about your day.  If you are driving to school, use a Rosary ring or pray with your fingers. Make it work with your schedule.
  • Aside from the Rosary, an Eastern Christian practice concerning the Jesus Prayer, (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”), is to pray it while using a prayer rope, also known as a chotki or komboskini. This is another practice you can add to your repertoire.
  • As Christians, we should familiarize ourselves with the Sacred Scriptures, especially even more so, knowing St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. Praying with Scripture, or Lectio Divina (literally “divine reading”), involves four steps: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), contemplatio (contemplation), oratio (prayer). Being able to spend time with God in asking Him to reveal to us the Word of God in reverence and openness is truly a beautiful thing.

Surround yourself with good influences

  • Eliminating the bad influences in our life is a great start in making sure we don’t give in to negative habits, and replace them with positive habits that help reinforce and regiment our daily devotion to God.
  • Surrounding yourself with fellow practicing Catholics isn’t a bad idea either. Being able to have people hold you accountable to your obligations as a Catholic can be a saving grace at times.
  • When faced with temptation, the Jesus Prayer and the Hail Mary are two great prayers. The former helps humble and ground ourselves with Christ, whereas the latter does the same but through the intercessions of our Blessed Mother.

Ask for the Intercession of the Saints

  • Asking our spiritual family to pray for us is a great way to help, especially if they’re patrons of students and teachers. Sts. Thomas Aquinas, Scholastica, Gregory the Great, Jean Baptiste de la Salle, Francis de Sales, Expeditus, are just a few of the many great patrons concerning education.

Don’t Stress

  • Don’t let the anxieties and tensions of university and college life get to you. Just stay calm and ground yourself before you embark on an educational journey. The strains of study can be exhausting, so don’t overwork yourself.

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