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Religion is something we are exposed to, something that is brought upon us at a young age. Many babies are baptized during the first few months after they are born. Some children are sent to religious private schools, and others simply attend religious services with their family during the weekend.
When children are introduced to religion, it is not their choice. Their parents make the decision to have their baby baptized, and send them to Sunday school or other religious day schools.
But with the freedom that comes with leaving home and beginning a new chapter of life known as college, young adults also gain the freedom to make their own religious decisions.
When they come to college, it seems students choose either to explore their faith or let it fade away. As I left home for my freshman year, I wasn’t sure which path I would choose.
I was raised Catholic. I was baptized shortly after birth and grew up attending church with my family, as well as catechism classes until I was fourteen and was initiated into the Catholic Church as an adult member. After confirmation, I was no longer required to attend any kind of bible study.
It was around that time I stopped going to Springhill, a Christian summer camp I started attending as a child. At the camp, we prayed three times a day—sometimes more—but what I looked forward to at Springhill were the activities such as going to the waterslide and playing capture the flag. In fact, prayer times were my least favorite part of the day.
One night, during one of my last years at Springhill, some of the campers and I sat around a campfire while our counselor told us about “giving our life to God.” As a teenager, I didn’t understand what this meant or how to go about giving my life to someone else.
When catechism classes ended and I stopped going to camp, I lost interest in going to church and became detached from God and religion. It was high school; I was too busy try to find myself to worry about finding my place in the Catholic Church.
But when graduation came and went and I left home for college, God came with me.
The first experience I had with religion in college was through my suitemate, who hung crosses in her room and only sent out Tweets that included Bible verses. For me, that was too much. Her religious devotion seemed more like a cult movement than a relationship with God.
Months later, when I began to feel the distance between school, home and the pressure of academics, my relationship with God began.
Feeling like a lost puppy, I reached out to my best friend, who told me she prayed every night before she went to bed. I figured it was worth a try.
It didn’t take long for me to feel an effect.
Shortly after I began praying regularly, I felt like I had a true relationship with God. I felt invincible and protected, like someone had my back, and I didn’t have to worry. I felt peace. I was happier than I’d ever been.
When I came to college, I was at a crossroads with religion, as many incoming freshmen are. I had the freedom to make my own decisions, and I chose a path that involved God. I’ve been so lucky to find best friends at MSU who just happen to be as close to Him as I am.
Having someone to go to church with, or talk to about religion, has been an unexpected blessing. A bond over religion wasn’t something I expected to find at college.
Since I opened my heart to God, my life has been an easy ride. It seems every time I pray for guidance, an answer comes to me quickly.
I know that isn’t how it’s supposed to work, and God isn’t there just to give you everything you want. But since I started having a relationship with Him, I can’t help but notice how great my life has become.
In the words of Kanye West, “I’ve been talking to God for so long that if you look in my life, I guess he been talking back.”
Lauren Evasic is a guest columnist at The State News and a journalism junior. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.