A College Student’s Examination of Conscience
It’s that time of year! Classes have started, and you get to navigate another semester at college. Why not take a moment right now to reflect on how you want to live this next academic year? It’ll be gone in the blink of an eye, so it helps to set aside a few minutes to make some goals.
College students have unique struggles and a pile of pressure and societal expectations that no other group has in quite the same way. So read over these questions and jot down a few things that strike you. It will go a long way in having your best year yet.
College is a unique time to meet people. You can easily find people who have similar interests to yours. Add to that the fact that you share the same places to eat, sleep, and study, and you’re in a great position to make friends. Here are some questions to help you think about your relationships …
Am I open to making new friends this semester?
Which friends should I spend more time with this semester?
Which friends should I spend less time with this semester?
Am I keeping up my relationships with family members? Do I call or text my parents, my grandparents, my siblings to say hello, and not just when I need something?
How is my dating life? If there’s someone I’m interested in, am I working to move that relationship forward, or am I hanging out in an undefined, friends-with-emotional-benefits situation?
Whether it’s a class you’re very invested in for your major, or a general education class that everyone has to take, your time in the classroom is the main reason you are here. Consider the time you’re spending on studies.
How am I balancing my time? Am I devoting enough time to study for each class?
Am I taking my classes seriously?
Would sitting closer to the front of my classrooms help me focus better?
Where and when do I study best? Do I use that self-knowledge to study in a way that works for me, even if my friends don’t study the same way?
Do I arrive to classes on time?
Does the way I have studied in the past work for me still? Or do I need to try something different?
3: Free time
When you’re not studying, how do you spend your time? There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer. But, like so many things in life, balance is key here. Don’t spend all of your time online, and on the other side, don’t spend all of your time with the same people. But, if you are feeling lonely, sad, or empty more often than not, it might be good to reassess how you spend your time. (And if that doesn’t work, please check out the counseling services on your campus. That’s why they’re there—you don’t have to be completely falling apart to take advantage of a little help).
Am I happy with how I spend my free time?
What could I do to spend my free time in a more fulfilling way?
Whom do I spend my free time with? Should I be hanging out with other people more? Do I need to take some time for myself to recharge occasionally?
Do I exercise at all? Do I spend time outside?
How often do I drink? Do I realize that getting drunk is a serious sin — and depending on my age, a crime?
Am I involved with any groups or clubs on campus? Or am I involved with too much, and have spread myself too thin?
College students are generally not known for having vibrant faith lives. But that doesn’t mean your only option is to give up God and question every moral or value you’ve ever learned. Use these questions to make sure you’re sticking with the most important relationship of your life.
Do I attend Mass on Sunday?
Am I making time for prayer?
Have I made an effort to meet and befriend fellow Catholics?
Do I struggle with any serious, habitual sins (pornography, masturbation, getting drunk, making out, having sex, etc.)? Am I actively trying to break free from these sins? Do I avoid situations I know will trigger these sins?
Do I go to confession?
Do I live what I believe consistently, in every situation around every person, or do I act differently depending on who I am around?
If someone looked at my life from week to week, could they tell that I am a Christian?
This appeared at Aleteia.
Image: University students in the academic quad at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.