And the Lord said, try Catholic College?

Hey guys! Trying to discern God’s will for me in my life.

I’m a freshman in college, and have been going through a lot lately. I just got out of a relationship that was dead for a long time, but we both were trying so hard to make it work. This left me spiritually exhausted, because in a sense I ended up making her my idol. After the relationship ended, I fell into sexual sin (eg porn and masturbation), cause I felt that was the only thing that I could control in my life. Eventually, I hit a spiritual low, until one day I heard Carolina Liar’s song “Show me what I’m Looking For”. It hit me because the song seems to be about a man begging to God to show him his purpose. I’m not exactly sure if that song is about God, but I was blown away by it. That night, as I listened to it in bed, I turned it into an prayer.

The next day, it hit me. I began to feel as if I don’t belong at a public college, and that I ought to consider Catholic colleges. I don’t know if that was God speaking to me, but I pretty much woke up the next day with the realization that I don’t feel at home at this college. I want to be more spiritually challenged by the faculty. My current college has FOCUS, and it’s pretty good, but having more spiritual opportunities on campus would be great. Having things like perpetual adoration a few steps out of my dorm would be so amazing.

I am also discerning whether I should enter the religious life or married life. I feel on a Catholic campus would give me a better opportunity to discern. Having a sacramental life around me would give me lots of opportunities to really dive into my faith. Having a lot more members of the opposite sex with the same core values would be great in my dating life, and having religious priests, brothers, and sisters would be a blessing in considering the religious life.

Finally, and by far the main reason I want to go, is I want to major in theology no matter what. Or, if I don’t, I want to get my masters in it some day.

So, a few things. Pray that I be able to discern where I should go. Catholic college is sooo expensive. I really want to go, but it just might be financially wiser to wait to get a masters in theology someday. My parents aren’t too keen on the idea, as we are just an average family, and not the wealthiest people on the block. They don’t like the idea of being even more in debt, but they said that they’d find a way to get me there if that is truly my passion. It is, but, at the same time, I don’t want to put both myself and my parents into more stress trying to pay off future loans either.

I feel the Lord might be calling me to a Catholic education, but I am not sure. Just pray I can discern clearly:D thanks!

Oh, and one more side question, why are private colleges so expensive compared to public ones?

This is just to reply to one of the issues you raised. If you do decide to go to a Catholic college, you ought to discern which one carefully. I worked 35 years at a Catholic university and well saw that some Catholic colleges haven’t kept a Catholic identify. I recommend a guide like the one put out by the National Catholic Register, to faithfully Catholic colleges, at www.ncregister.com/images/documents/CG_NCR0907.pdf
If you are worried about how to pay for it, which is a common worry, you could contact the college of your choosing to see what financial help they offer.
If you want to study theology, a faithfully Catholic college is essential, unless, perhaps, you would be willing to study a theology that, actually, isn’t Catholic.

I am actually considering Benedictine College in Kansas, which is fully faithful to the Mandatum!:thumbsup: I’ve heard a lot about how unfaithful some “Catholic” colleges can be, wouldn’t want to go to any sort of place like that!

Carefully. proceed carefully. As the previous poster says Catholic colleges are not always what they appear and majoring or getting a masters in Theology, you would experience the brunt of any “interesting” ideas.

I myself attended a heterodox (theologically and somewhat liturgically) Catholic College. I however, was not a theology major and missed most of the heretical ideas floating about. Even though their ideas were out there, for me, the opportunity to go to daily Mass, liturgy of the hours, and very Catholic oriented choir experience (including a Chant schola) were very helpful for me during my college years. I think it very important for young adults to develop a rigorous discipline of prayer and spiritual exercise, for they have a lot of challenges and it is good to learn it then when you have the leisure and opportunity. For me, the ready access and opportunities (combined with the natural setting and Benedictine spirituality were very good for my spiritual life and the stand I was taking against the unorthodox theology and liturgy helps keep me going). However, I watched one of my friends who was a theology major, go from holding rather traditional orthodox views to dropping articles on nouns (“we are church”) and defending abortion.

So the moral of story, is to discern carefully. There are some good schools out there and there are some that are not what they appear to be. You should know that it is very common to feel like you don’t belong at this age. I don’t think I had any close friends until I was a junior, I was even excluded from the rooming arrangements of my friends my sophomore year and ended up living alone. :shrug: The main thing is to get through this time, stay busy, try new things, and find things you enjoy doing.

If you’re looking for a Catholic University and you like the big city atmosphere, try St. John’s University in New York City. From what I heard, the university is actually into their faith, at least that is what my cousins say. Also, St. John’s offers great scholarships and financial aid.

Fabulous choice. From what I understand, the majority of students there receive scholarship or financial aid. Call the admissions office. Just because a tuition price is listed, it doesn’t mean that is what you will pay.

I am nearly positive that Benedictine is an excellent college, all I have ever heard is about it’s faithfulness to it’s Catholic identity and the warm welcoming everyone gives you. But, all will be determined in a visit there.

But, discerning is a huge part. I have made some pretty good friends at the college I am at now, both secular and religious ones, so saying goodbye to them would hurt a bit. But, I still feel this emptiness there, and that theology major can’t be found on a public campus. I am not giving up on my current college just yet, my plan is to apply to both, hold off from deciding on one however long I need to and then drop out of whichever one I am not going to, even if that is like, the end of summer.

I’ll check it out! I’ll probably stay closer to the midwest, but I have looked at the University of Steubenville, so why not look at New York while I’m at it!

EDIT: I reread your post, and I’ll still give it a look, but to be honest I am more into the small city or rural college setting. That is the setting of both my current college and Benedictine as well.

I already have and we are working with them! Truth is, I wish I would have checked out the place earlier when I was a senior, cause transfer scholarships aren’t as good as freshmen ones, but they’re still really good nonetheless!

I really want to focus on this:

Please, please, before you do anything you might regret later, look carefully at the financial aspects.

Think about the cost and the level of sacrifice for you and your family.

And think about the possible earning potential. What kind of a job would you get from a theology degree from a Catholic college? And would it be enough to pay back student loans?

Please, get some solid answers on this. Colleges are going to tell you anything just to sell themselves to you; it’s important to look beyond the sales talk and look at the financial reality.

If your choice is a theology degree from a Catholic college I respect that choice, but please, please, consider the financial aspects.

Good luck.

jesusalright4me:

I don’t know where you live, but it sounds like you are close to the plains. If so, you might want to look at the University of Kansas (the main campus in Lawrence) and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Why?

I’ve heard KU has a good Catholic Student Center - I believe it is called St. Lawrence. That would give you a support group, and if you are a Kansas resident, that might help you on your tuition.

I recommend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, because the Lincoln Diocese is very solid. Check out the Catholic Student Center there as well.

Two other options: The University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign and Texas A&M University. Both also have strong Catholic Student Centers.

Within the last 10-15 years, several bishops have been more discerning about choosing the leadership on college campuses. The places where the orthodoxy is present, those are the ones where the students are coming. The places doing the watering down have empty student centers.

Hope this helps.

And that is key, I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I’m praying on it, and I think that it might be wise to just get a bachelors in my other passion (education), and then get my masters in theology when I am financially stable enough down the road.

I’d like to teach theology in high school one day (or maybe even at a college, I’d have to see what that would take), and I want to be able to teach it with the least amount of errors possible, which obtaining a bachelor’s degree in it would help me do. Plus, a degree in theology makes you more marketable in obtaining a job like that.

UNL would be the most likely for me. However, I do not know if I could handle the size of such a university. I am considering the University of Nebraska Omaha a bit!

Thanks; good to know that you understand my concerns and that I’m not trying to be negative.

This is a good idea you have, too; getting a degree in something marketable; then having a job and a source of income so you can get a degree in something else without breaking the bank. That might be the option I’d look into if I were in your position.

This is another option.

My aunt in fact attended a secular college with a Catholic center. She got the degree she wanted and could still be part of a Catholic community.

Good luck.

Jesusalright4me:

UNO might be a good “fit” for you as well. I was fortunate to transfer into Texas A&M as a retread college student, and with the encouragement of the other students (upon arrival, I was a “one hour Catholic” who was on the verge of leaving) I was invited to the Catholic Student Center, and my “reversion story” began. It was a memorable 18 months of my life.

Another option for saving money could be to arrange taking some courses at a junior or community college. Before you matriculate at a junior college, I strongly suggest checking with the registrar at a four year college you plan to transfer, and see what courses would be acceptable. Many times, freshmen English, Government, History, Psychology, and some math and science courses will be accepted. (Example: you might be able to transfer in freshmen biology for a six hour science credit if you are a business major). However, some sophomore level classes (some, not all) may not be accepted.

Jesusalright4me, you might even be able to transfer in an Introduction to Philosophy (or Ethics) - I’ve heard some state colleges will take these credits. Seriously, years ago, I was able to persuade the engineering department at Texas A&M to accept six hours of philosophy credits, since I needed some Humanities and Social Science credits. One was even a senior level class that I took at a Catholic college Pass/Fail.

Jesusalright4me, try making a visit one weekend to UNO, and go to Mass at the Catholic Student Center. It would give you an idea. You may even have friends to attend there already.

Good luck!

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