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Sharing at a state university
When I applied to college in the fall of my senior year, I was trying to figure out where I would succeed and where I wanted to fit in. I applied to only three schools, because I had no desire to go anywhere but to those three universities.
As a graduate of DiscoveryBound’s National Leadership Council (see www.discoverybound.org), Christian Science was very important to my identity and I wanted to continue growing in my relationship with God. So, like many others, I thought that if Christian Science was important to me, I had to attend a school where everyone shared my same faith. However, I decided to attend a big state university. I was in love with the school, and while I was very excited about it, I still felt guilty. Did that mean I wasn’t making Christian Science a priority?
Then I thought about a DiscoveryBound event I had attended one Labor Day weekend in high school. The theme of the weekend was “Let Your Light Shine.” I remember looking up this verse from Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” That weekend, we had passed around candles, showing how one small candle can light up a whole room. I decided that I would let my light shine wherever I was, and demonstrate Christian Science by loving and helping others.
The first week of college, I sought out a youth group so I could keep learning about the Bible and meet like-minded students. My roommate decided to go with me to visit some groups, and we each found one we really liked. A month or two later, my roommate told me the reason she had gone to visit the youth group was because I had suggested it, and started to tell me that she hadn’t attended church often before. I was in awe that I had helped someone connect with church without even realizing it, and I felt assurance that my light was shining. I continued to read the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson, and before stressful days, my roommate and I would talk about Bible quotes. It was so helpful to share ideas and start the day with a spiritual mind-set!
Later on in the semester, I went to a party with five of my friends. One of my close friends and I don’t drink, but we wanted to be social and hang out with the rest of our friends. During the party, my close friend was offered a drink. I looked at her to see what she would do. We made eye contact, just before my friend turned down the drink. When we talked about the situation later, she thanked me for looking at her. It had reminded her to be true to herself and her morals. I was happy to help, and it reminded me that I was making a positive impact on others at my university, even if it was just within my group of friends.
Throughout the semester I had also been trying to find other Christian Scientists on campus, but it was very difficult. I was getting frustrated, so I started to pray. I prayed to know that I was in my right place, and that God would want me to find right companionship. When I was visiting the local church, they gave me contact information for a student who attended my school. We later met up to talk and share ideas.
After looking back at my first semester, I know I have made the right college decision. I love the academics, sports, and social life on campus. I look forward to sharing Christian Science with the world throughout my life, and right now, my university is a great place to start.
—Catherine Smith, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US