Discernment during college years


Hello friends!

I have a rather quick question for those of you with experience (or not!). I’m going off to finish my BA soon, and I wonder whether college years are useful for discernment, or if I’ll probably be too busy/distracted. It’ll be about two years. I’m pretty young (22) so not a ton of wise discernment as of yet.



I bolded the most important parts:

Start now. You will ALWAYS be too busy/distracted. What will your BA be in? Will you be at a catholic school?

My suggestions:

Does your school have a chaplain? See if he would be willing to offer you spiritual direction.

Go to Mass every day if possible. If not, make a conscience effort to pray seriously every day. Meditate on the daily readings, and listen for God speaking to you through them. There are many resources you can find about how to cultivate a deep prayer life, if you need pointers.

Be aware of your feelings and emotions; God gave you them for a reason. How do you feel when you pray? How do you feel about the future? What is it about you’re study that interests you? How can you use it to love God more? Remember that if anything makes you anxious, it is probably not from God.

Make friends with people. Lots of people. If you are discerning Priesthood, you should be skilled in relating to other people. Join a Catholic, or Christian, group if your school has one, or start a bible study.

How would you feel about dating? Pray about it. Marriage is a vocation too. Since you’re not in seminary yet, I don’t think you should avoid dating just yet, but only you (and maybe your spiritual director) will know if it is the right move. Again, be conscience of your emotions.

Wheooo, long answer, and more than you asked for :D. Seriously, don’t put it off till you graduate. You will be sorry if you do.



Stephen put it well. I was going to say that you will only have as much time as you are willing to put in to it. We all have our priorities, and sometimes they are not in the right order. Finding God’s will for our lives should always be a top priority. If it’s not one of yours, well, as Stephen said, you will always be too busy - now would be a good time to devote some time to discernment. Try to think about how you can be most holy, as our primary vocation on this earth is that of holiness. Your secondary vocation (which I think is what you are discerning) is that which will allow you to become the holiest person you can be - the person God created you to be!


Thank you Stephen and Bobballen_18!

“Start now. You will ALWAYS be too busy/distracted.”

Ah, too true; thank you for pointing that out. I often hear “wait to make decisions until you’re out of school”. This is why I question whether I should just let myself “grow” spiritually, not making any hard choices, until after school. By hard choices, I mean set myself in a particular direction. It’s probably fear talking, but if I decide, even to pursue, something, I might hold it to my honor to see it through.

“Be aware of your feelings and emotions; God gave you them for a reason.”

Very important for me to remember. I always try to logic away my feelings. This one is hard.

Addressing other questions/points: BA in Literature. Catholic school. I’m a lady, so no seminary for me.

I very well might be wrong, but I thought of another thing that could be important. I’ve only been a practicing Catholic for about a year. That’s part of why I’ve thought that perhaps I should “settle in” to my spiritual life for a couple of years. And, possibly also why I’m wary of following my feelings in this area. Growing up I had very different ideals than are presented to me currently, and so my feelings are conflicted.

Sorry for the long post! I’m really grateful for the input and I will think on it!



I became a lay Dominican during my college years.

Develop a schedule. While the occasional “all-nighter” can disrupt it, You’d need times for:

Rising & retiring – for the body’s sake, be consistent. I chose midnight to 6am.
Three meals

Morning Offering
Angelus (usually 6am, 12 noon, and 6pm)
Divine Mercy at 3pm
Liturgy of the Hours (I had the one volume Christian Prayer)
30 minutes meditation which can stem from Lectio Divina
Sacramental participation as able
Adoration (if not available in a walk-in scenario try savior.org/ )

This will at least get you familiarized with the basic elements of the religious life. Even if your vocation is to marriage, the routine will assist you with resettling as a layperson. Hopefully, your spouse would be holy, too. (One spiritual director suggested hubby and I pray Night Prayer together). Each family has to discern for itself, though.

I attended a fundamentalist college (although they said they were non-sectarian). I told the Lord I had wanted a Catholic college. He said I was that Catholic college. I had the freedom to live my horarium, although some external signs would be questioned. One girl ended up Catholic when I offered to miss class to take her to health service after she slipped on ice and snow.




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