It’s August, and that means a lot of you are buying five-pound textbooks, packing up the car and getting ready to go to college, maybe for the first time. So please, take with you this piece of advice from someone who learned it the hard way:
If you eat bacon at every meal it won’t be long till you’re forced to wear the same pair of sweatpants all week because none of your other pants fit. Trust me.
OK, OK – That’s not the advice I was talking about. (But seriously, watch it on the bacon.) College is a place where you are exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking. It’s a fantastic time to learn and grow. Except that not all ideas are good ideas. So what do we do when we come across one that goes against the Church’s teachings?
I went to a fairly liberal college where it was safe to assume that when it came to sexual morals most of the students followed the “do whatever you want” policy. Even in the classroom sex was a topic that no one felt shy discussing. One day a professor assigned my class a short story to read that was … how shall I put it … explicit. It didn’t leave anything to the imagination. I knew there was no way I was going to finish reading it or want to talk about it, so I skipped class that day.
It was no big deal to skip — the story wasn’t on any test and my professor never asked why I didn’t show up. Looking back though, I wish I had told him why I didn’t go to class. Maybe if I had sent him an email explaining that the story was inappropriate he would have thought twice about using it again. Maybe other people felt the same way as me, but because no one spoke up he’s still teaching it.
So this is my advice to you: Speak up. Let your voice be heard. When you come across something that is morally wrong, say so! It can be scary to disagree with popular opinion, but most people are mature enough to respect your beliefs even if they disagree with them.
If you are made fun of for speaking out though, remember that Jesus called those who are persecuted in his name “blessed.” (Matthew 5:10) I hope you have the courage in college to be “blessed” in this way.
I wish I had.