In Praise of Peer Pressure: Newman Society Features Benedictine Student Essay
Benedictine College freshman Anna O’Leary of Texas, who is currently studying nursing at the Atchison, Kansas, school, was featurered on the website of the Cardinal Newman Society recently. She entered the Catholic higher education’s essay contest and placed as a runner up. An excerpt follows.
A Mexican proverb says, “Tell me who you walk with, I’ll tell you who you are.” Choosing the right people to surround oneself with will influence life not only in college, but in the future too. At an authentic Catholic college, the atmosphere is centered around the Church and Her Sacraments, calling the students to live fully in union with Christ through Eucharist, Confession, and Adoration. Attending any college brings peer pressure; however, an authentic Catholic peer pressure is a benefit. With friends who regularly attend Mass and have the same foundation in faith, an individual is presented with opportunities to grow in faith. Whether it is a quick prayer before a test, or visiting the adoration chapel with some friends, Catholic college students begin developing the habits of faithful laypeople. These habits formed in community during the college years will be essential to their lives after graduation, as they continue their journey to sainthood in whatever vocation they discern.
In today’s society, moral clarity is more important than ever. We live in a culture in which moral relativism is the prevailing value and traditional views of marriage, gender, life, family, and religious freedom are under attack. Young people are also faced with the constant temptation of materialism and are urged to seek earthly goods rather than heavenly treasure. Attending a faithful Catholic institution provides clarity on these issues. This clarity comes not just from the classroom but is present in the overall culture of the campus, as it is manifest in the speakers invited to campus, clubs sponsored, and the faithful witness of faculty and staff as role models for students in living a moral, Catholic Christian life.