Keepin’ the faith

 Uncategorized
May 092004
 
Authors: Rachel Wiley

Water is not the only thing that dries up in the summer.

Some CSU students notice a similar problem in their spiritual

lives and find it difficult to maintain the spirituality they had

during the school year.

“I’ve found it’s definitely different. For me, last summer was

harder because Hillel is such a big part of my life,” said Kayla

Brummett, a sophomore English major and president of CSU’s chapter

of the Jewish student organization Hillel.

With a new routine and new environment, students who have been

involved in a faith community during the school year may not be as

focused on religion during the summer, said Cindy Swindell, a

psychologist with the University Counseling Center.

However, it does not have to be a negative experience, Swindell

said.

“When we have a change, it’s a fork in the road,” she said. “It

can present a dilemma, but also new experience.”

Preparing in advance for future challenges can make a big

difference for students trying to stay faithful over the summer,

said Brian Robbins, director of College and Career Ministries at

First Baptist Church, 900 E. Prospect Road.

“The ones that do well are the ones that think about it

beforehand,” Robbins said.

Laurie Walker, campus team leader with Intervarsity, a Christian

organization on campus, said it is important for students to know

what struggles they might face.

People also need to stay in touch with friends from college or

reach out to establish new community connections, Swindell

said.

Benjamin Carroll, a sophomore political science major and vice

president of Hillel, will be staying in Fort Collins this summer

and participating at Congregation Hav Shalom.

“One of the things that we have in Fort Collins is an active

Jewish community with a synagogue,” Carroll said. “It’s good to

know that no matter what’s going on, there’s a place we can go that

we can stay spiritually connected to our Judaism without

Hillel.”

Robbins encouraged students to get involved in a community of

people who share the same faith.

“Biblical teaching makes it clear that we need each other,”

Robbins said.

Some practical ways to get involved in your community and

maintain a strong spiritual life also include participating in

service projects or donating to charities, Walker said.

“Maintain a connection with nature,” said Swindell. “If that’s

part of your spirituality, be outside, enjoy nature. Nurture your

connection with a creator … With a little effort we can take the

activities we enjoy and let them be spiritual.”

Swindell also recommends that students take some time for

themselves.

“Embrace that,” she said. “Maybe it’s a season to explore more

individual practices: prayer, meditation or reading.”

Walker also recommended practicing spiritual disciplines such as

reading, studying, praying, worshiping, or even simply spending

time in silence and solitude.

Being faithful in her religious practices is what helps Fatimah

Mohamed, a freshman business major and treasurer of the Muslim

Student Association. She notices very little difference in her

spiritual life when she’s not around friends.

“If you practice it long enough, you don’t feel a change or

anything,” Mohamed said.

Some students have even found that summers can be an opportunity

to develop their spiritual lives.

“I believe that the summer is actually a great time for

spiritual growth because there are no classes, no studying for

tests and the number of responsibilities decrease,” said Hany

Khattab, a sophomore biology major. “As a Muslim, I believe I have

a direct connection to God and so I believe the summer is a great

time to take a step back and see, be thankful and analyze what he

did for me so far in my life, specifically in the last year.”

Walker agreed that summer provides an opportunity for positive

growth.

“We’re just encouraging people not to take a spiritual break for

the summer, but to take their values into the community, their

families and to their friends. Be a leader wherever you are,”

Walker said. “Plan to thrive, not just survive.”

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