How To Survive In College As A Christian

You are probably going to think that I am strange for saying this, but…I love school. There. I’ve said it. Granted, I didn’t always enjoy learning pre-calc and trig in high school, but by being homeschooled, my parents instilled a love for learning in me. When I got to college, I got super excited about learning. 

After I transferred to my four-year university, I took a look at the list of degrees and courses offered and it almost felt like I had just walked into the best pastry store downtown. So many wonderful things to choose from – how was I ever going to pick?! Coming out of high school, I had known science was kinda cool. General chemistry was a fun lab – even more so when I didn’t actually blow anything up. It wasn’t until I took my first microbiology class, though, that I fell in love with science. There is a whole other world around us, too small for the naked eye, and it is all unique and made by a Divine Creator. Anyone who says that this world was made by chance must not be a microbiologist…

At least that’s what I thought until I walked into my microbiology lecture and found that eukaryotes (e.g. human cells) just came from a bigger prokaryote (e.g. bacterial cell) that ingested a smaller prokaryote (e.g. bacterial cell) – aka the “Endosymbiotic Theory”. Wait, what? First off, why is a theory being taught as fact (think: Theory of Evolution)? I mean, take a look at the scientific method sometime. You’ll see that once you reach the theory stage you’re not quite done until you reach the proven fact stage. (Side note: for something to be considered a fact in the scientific world, it must be able to be repeated and consistent results achieved…think of those painful lab reports that you need to write). Secondly, how in the world can something bigger eat something smaller that was just like it and create something completely different? Maybe I’m missing something here, but that doesn’t quite add up. I wanted to raise my hand and ask…

So what if one guy eats a smaller guy? Why don’t cannibals turn into something different – like a giraffe for instance?

You think I took your Endosymbiotic Theory way out of context with my question? Ok – here’s another. Male betta fish eat their offspring, and yet they don’t turn into something different. Why is that?

…but I didn’t. I sat there, wrote the information down, and regurgitated it for the true/false section on the next exam. The question was not “do you believe the Endosymbiotic Theory…” but rather “the Endosymbiotic Theory is…”? 

“Hang on!” you yell. “Aren’t Christians supposed to stand up for truth? Why didn’t you argue, even though that goes against what God says?” See, here’s where it gets tricky, and I’m about to share my tips about surviving in a secular college environment and my reasonings for them.

DON’T argue with your professors, even if they are going against God’s Word.

Remember that in school, the point is not to prove that you are right, but to learn. There were so many other things that I learned in my micro class that were amazing. It would not have been worth arguing the point. If my teacher had come up to me and asked me what I believed, then I could tell him. But he didn’t. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “don’t go borrowing trouble”, and that’s what I try to do. Don’t start a fight. After all, we should not need to argue with others about Jesus. It is not a debate. And arguing doesn’t point people towards God.

DON’T hang out with those who cuss or talk about crude or obscene things.

I know that this one’s really hard, and you can’t always prevent it. Where I go to school, almost everyone cusses or talks about things that really shouldn’t be said out loud. However, when I do hang out with these people (usually to get group work done), I do not laugh or remark about their language or obscene comments and I do not reply with some of my own – in essence, I am not encouraging them. I have noticed that by doing this, there are people who notice that I don’t appreciate it. And guess what – those people have tried to watch what they say around me, and they have tried to stop their friends that I saw maybe twice from doing those things around me. It’s totally OK to be different.

DON’T be afraid to tell others about Christ.

Remember that Jesus said to always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you why you have the hope of God inside of you (1 Peter 3:15)? I have actually had someone ask me why I was so happy all the time. The question took me aback. I mean, I have my bad days just like everyone else. Was I really happy all the time? What made me different? Then I realized that it wasn’t because I was necessarily happy all the time, but because I had the hope of Jesus in me, I guess I came off that way. Instead of telling him about Jesus, I chalked it up to “I try to look at everything from the positive side.” And yes, while that’s true, I felt this nagging feeling that I should tell him about Jesus. But I was scared. So much for my I-can-be-a-missionary-anywhere mentality. The conversation was ended as we both had to run to class. But I couldn’t shake the guilt that I felt. What if, because I had stayed silent, he ended up in Hell? I sought him out two days later since I knew we both were out of classes at that time, and I gave him a tract. He asked me if I believed in God, and I told him I did. He thanked me for the tract and stuck it in his pocket. While it made me feel better after I had given him the Gospel, to this day, I still regret not telling him about it right away. What if I had not gotten a second chance? Learn from my mistakes…DON’T be afraid to tell those who ask about God.

DO shine your light.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16 

Be different. There is no reason to be afraid of what may come. You can conquer anything! Do you know why I say this? Jesus has already conquered the world, and He is the one who gives you strength. Be nice to people, hold the door open, speak like the gentleman/lady that you are, and act like a prince/princess. Why? Because you are a child of The One, True King. You are different. You don’t fit into this world, and that’s completely alright. Don’t try to fit in at a secular college – you’ll only end up compromising your virtues and being a stumbling-block to those around you who were watching your Christian Life play out. After all, what is so awesome about God coming to save us if we’re just going to be like everyone else?

I am learning how to traverse a secular college while still believing that everything was created by God. These are the things I have been trying to put into practice to make my life as easy as possible (other than the fact that I enjoy taking 18+ credits per semester). Now, with these tips I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tell anyone you’re a Christian…I’m just saying that you shouldn’t announce it to the whole school if you want to “fly under the radar”. Just remember: your job is to let everyone know about Christ and His love. Your job is NOT to challenge your teachers in class. Accept it as what you need to know to ace the test and nothing more. 

Being a Christian in a secular school studying science (of all things!) has not caused me to abandon my love for school. It is possible to survive, and even enjoy the experience. Besides, these stories do make for a good laugh. I’m serious. When my professor told the class about the Endosymbiotic Theory, I automatically started to laugh, which quickly turned into a snicker as I remembered I was in class, causing the people around me to look at me like I was strange. 

If you do not know 100% that you will be going to Heaven when you die, now is the time to repent and put your faith and trust in Christ Jesus. If you have any questions or doubts about your salvation, click here to read how you can be saved.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.

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