Keeping faith: religion as a student

Waking up at midday with a headache that can only have been inflicted by the devil himself (or those nine tequila shots Dave bet you wouldn’t be able to do). Attempting to make yourself a fry up before remembering that McDonald’s is now on Uber Eats. Lounging around in your unwashed pyjamas, watching old reruns of Friends and stinking out the communal lounge with your funky body odour. Then preparing yourself to repeat last night’s activities, and planning your revenge on Dave.

But where does worship fit in?

Religion plays a huge role in the lives of numerous young people; it can be a comfort, a tradition, an essential aspect of their values. The stereotypical student lifestyle doesn’t seem to accommodate these needs, and therefore religion can be shunned and forgotten from lives like a regrettable haircut. Furthermore, there are so many negative connotations associated with religion and worship:
“It’s a waste of time.”
“It’s extreme.”
“It’s not fun or exciting.”
“It’s stupid, how could someone believe it in the modern day?”
“You can’t be religious and believe in science.”
The list goes on.

So is it any wonder that on attending university, so many people lose their faith?

Recent statistics have shown that 45% of students are not religious, but that leaves 55% who are. It’s sad that so many of us feel embarrassed to talk about something which is so important to us, and which we’re more than likely to have in common with some people we meet! When I started opening up about my Christianity, I found that most people were surprised, they didn’t expect it for a multitude of reasons. And although people had questions, they were respectful and genuinely interested in what I had to say.

At the Freshers’ Fair, nestled between stalls encouraging you to join the lacrosse team and the beekeeping society, you’ll find that there are societies for a range of faiths, from Islam to Christianity, to Buddhism. You’ll find people in the same position as you, and older students who can help you find a place of worship ideal for you and provide advice on how to juggle the socials, studies and religion. But don’t be scared to talk to your flatmates either; despite the numerous people who stray from religion during uni years, I also know a fair few who have found it. This isn’t me encouraging you to convert everyone you meet – I’m not sure Dave would be keen on the idea – but having open conversations will help people understand what it means to you. And if they judge you, they are in the minority.

Don’t be afraid to embrace your faith at university, whatever it may be. It’s possible to fit it all in, and you’ll have God on your side for exams too.

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