A Letter to a College Freshman
This is your first year in college and away from the protective shelter of home. It is a very exciting period for you and definitely will be full of challenges, some of which I would like to talk to you about.
In college, you will encounter difficulties that will challenge what you know and who you are. Remember that difficulties are opportunities to grow. For each difficulty that you are able to overcome, you will grow spiritually stronger and wiser. If you give into the temptations, a little bit of your spirituality will die.
One guaranty, college life strives to make the students independent thinkers, individuals standing on their own two feet. Reason is to prevail at all times and peer pressure discourages tradition and family ties. Do not forget your spiritual roots. College will try to steal from you, your faith and your virginity in a very subtle way.
As some people treasure purity of mind and heart, others strive to destroy it. Your roots go deep within family and faith. Reasoning is a quality and ability of the human mind, faith comes from the heart. Would you allow anyone or anything to steal your physical heart? No way! Without it you could not live. That is what happens when you allow an English or a Philosophy professor to challenge your faith and moral values in the name of culture, modernism or the age of Reasoning.
The greatest thing you have is your faith. Reason is a wonderful addition to your whole self. As long as you know the dangers ahead you will be able to avoid them and defend yourself from them.
How can you face your Freshman year and survive it?
Keep this in mind- The order of importance in your life should be, first God, then family and then friends, everything else goes after that.
Every day begin with a prayer. Pray in thanksgiving for all you have, in praise for what God is, and in supplication for guidance for this new day. Pray for faithful Catholics to surround you and for someone similar to you who will support you as you face the world
Be friendly but wise. The test of a true friend is time. As you begin college, everyone is a stranger. Be careful. Friendships will develop and time will put them to the test. Remember intimacy is reserved for the very few.
Stay connected to home and familiar environment. If someone back home is holding you accountable for your actions, you will be less likely to get into trouble.
Do not give in to “everybody does it” “don’t be prudish” “what is wrong with you?” Let us analyze the meaning of each statement one at a time:
"Every body does it”- means that the one who is talking has done it: Be it alcohol, sex, dishonesty, or any other wrong doing.
“Don’t be prudish” means they are trying to go beyond the limits of decency and they are trying to break your barrier of defense in order to make you sin. Be careful, when you give in to such pressure, you may live to regret it. A good friend in Christ would not challenge you that way.
“What is wrong with you?” can be easily answered with “What is going on with you?” “Did you know that God gave Moses, The Ten Commandments and not the ‘ten choices’? As Christians, we have rules to follow with the consequence of sin and when we break those rules we sin against God.” By obeying God and placing Him first in your life, you will remain on solid ground while others who are not following God will fall by the wayside.
In the name of reason and college education, our religious and moral values are challenged and many people lose their moral values in college much to their detriment for the rest of their life.
We are fragile human beings and all we have is ourselves. A good friend can enhance our lives while a bad friend can damage it and sometimes destroy it.
In college the most important thing is to stay connected to the faith. Look for friends who share common interests with you. Be a leader not a follower. Do not be deceived by appearances, look into people’s hearts. Do acts of charity in your extra time, remember it is in giving that we receive.
Let us remember a children’s song:
“Be careful little eyes of what you see…”
Filter the movies and shows you watch. Watch no pornography which will destroy your healthy view of sexuality, no soap operas which give the wrong view of what love and family are all about, no horror or violent movies, remember that any images you view will remain in your mind conscious or unconscious. Keep your self pure.
“Be careful little ears of what you hear...”
Filter what you hear. The music, the humor, the news all of that hear will become part of you and the way you react to the world around you. Sarcasm can destroy a tender soul.
“Be careful little hands of what you touch…”
Your hands are instrument of God’s love on this earth. Use them as such in everything. Raise your hands in praise. Make Jesus proud of the use of your hands. May your hands do the work of Jesus, attending to the building of His kingdom on this earth.
“Be careful little mouth of what you consume...”
In college, according to the news, freshmen gain 15 pounds average in their first year. Your health is important. Keep a healthful diet. Exercise your body, so your mind may work better. Stay away from alcohol and drugs. The promise of a “good feeling” is a false promise and it can only lead to trouble. A sober mind can think clearly and make right decisions. A drunk or drugged head can make decisions that will be regretted for the rest of its life.
“Be careful little tongue of what you say…”
Do not gossip. Remember that someone’s reputation is the greatest thing they have and a good name is hard to make, but easy to destroy by gossip. If it cannot be said with the person present, don’t say it at all. I like an old Spanish saying: “In a closed mouth, no flies come in.”
Keep your life in order- A scheduled life is a fruitful life. Keep your room in order – you will be able to find things when you need them. Keep your clothes clean, ready to go anywhere at any time. Start doing your homework on the first day – Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
The first year of college may be lonely, but you will survive. Stay connected. A tree can grow strong and big through the years, facing the winds and storms, because it remains deeply rooted. Do not lose your roots. Stay rooted in the faith and in your background. Society advocates individualism and independence to the college freshman, but it does not tell the whole story. The freshman who are able to survive are the ones who remain rooted. The winds of change and temptation will blow and blow but it will not be able to uproot you if you are strong in your faith.
Pray. Write. Study, Shine with the light of Christ. Enjoy.
You may not have a friend, but you can be a friend.
You may not be loved, but you can love.
When lonely reach out to others and your loneliness will end.
Volunteer in your free time to help the helpless.
Be a leader and not a follower and shine the love of Christ to others.
Know that the Lord is good
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Written by Marta
August 18, 2003
© 2003 Marta
Last update Thursday, January 17, 2019
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