It​ ​would​ ​be​ ​wrong​ ​of​ ​me​ ​to​ ​write​ ​this​ ​post​ ​pretending​ ​like​ ​the​ ​spiritual​ ​transition​ ​from​ ​high school​ ​to​ ​college​ ​is​ mostly​ ​seamless​ ​with​ ​a few​ ​slip-ups​ ​on​ ​the​ ​way. In​ ​fact,​ ​I​ ​really​ ​think​ ​I​ ​would​ ​be​ ​flat​ ​out​ ​lying​ ​to​ ​you​ ​and​ ​that​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sin,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​must​ ​keep​ ​to​ ​the​ ​rule of​ ​honesty.

Currently,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​in​ ​my​ ​second​ ​year​ ​in​ ​school.​ ​My​ ​first​ ​year​ ​was​ ​spent​ ​attending​ ​almost​ ​every OCF​ ​meeting​ ​and​ ​every​ ​Sunday​ ​Liturgy​ ​possible.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​responsible.​ ​I​ ​found​ ​rides​ ​to​ ​church, ways​ ​to​ ​attend​ ​Thursday​ ​Bible​ ​study.​ ​I​ ​did​ ​everything​ ​I​ ​was​ ​“supposed”​ ​to​ ​do​ ​to​ ​set​ ​myself​ ​up for​ ​success​ ​in​ ​my​ ​spiritual​ ​realm.​ ​However,​ ​here​ ​I​ ​am,​ ​halfway​ ​through​ ​my​ ​second​ ​year,​ ​and my​ ​spiritual​ ​life​ ​has​ ​waned​.

I​ ​have​ ​rehearsals​ ​on​ ​Tuesday​ ​nights​ ​so​ ​I​ ​miss​ ​our​ ​OCF​ ​meetings​ ​and​ ​on​ ​Sundays​ ​when​ ​I should​ ​be​ ​going​ ​to​ ​church​ ​in​ ​the​ ​mornings.​ I have to be honest with you, while I know this lifestyle is not necessarily conducive to growing a faith, I do not regret the choices I have made when planning my weekly schedule as I know they contribute to my education. However, while I never intended to impede my spiritual growth, I have made a choice that does, and must face the effects of that choice.

During​ ​Christmas​ ​Break,​ ​my​ ​freshman​ ​year​ ​of​ ​college,​ ​I​ ​took​ ​confession​ ​with​ ​my​ ​parish​ ​priest, and​ ​he​ ​gave​ ​me​ ​this​ ​advice​ ​when​ ​I​ ​told​ ​him​ ​I​ ​felt​ ​like​ ​I​ ​had​ ​not​ ​been​ ​doing​ ​enough​ ​for​ ​my faith​ ​while​ ​in​ ​school.​ ​His​ ​advice:​ ​​Claire,​ ​you​ ​are​ ​in​ ​college.​ ​You​ ​are​ ​there​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​and​ ​to receive​ ​a​ ​degree.​ ​While​ ​God​ ​should​ ​always​ ​stay​ ​at​ ​the​ ​center​ ​of​ ​your​ ​life,​ ​do​ ​not​ ​punish yourself​ ​if​ ​you​ ​cannot​ ​always​ ​attend​ ​liturgy​ ​or​ ​OCF.​ ​That​ ​is​ ​not​ ​why​ ​you​ ​are​ ​in​ ​school.

via barnzy on flickr

It​ ​is​ ​from​ ​this​ ​advice​ ​I​ ​offer​ ​you​ ​my​ ​own:​ ​When​ ​you​ ​come​ ​to​ ​college,​ ​you​ ​have​ ​the​ ​opportunity to​ ​essentially​ ​design​ ​your​ ​own​ ​life.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​massive​ ​responsibility​ ​for​ ​so​ ​young​ ​and inexperienced​ ​a​ ​person.​ You will make choices that you will not know whether to consider morally right or wrong. You will go through periods of time where nothing seems quite right with any aspect of your life.

​If​ ​you​ ​cannot​ ​get​ ​yourself​ ​to​ ​OCF,​ ​or liturgy,​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​type​ ​of​ ​service​ ​being​ ​offered​ ​at​ ​your​ ​school​ ​all​ ​I​ ​ask​ ​is​ ​that​ ​you​ ​take​ ​a moment,​ ​when​ ​you​ ​can,​ ​to​ ​appreciate​ ​what​ ​you​ ​see​ ​around​ ​you.

Look​ ​around​ ​at​ ​creation,​ ​appreciate​ ​the​ ​specific​ ​things​ ​in​ ​life​ ​that​ ​give​ ​you​ ​joy.​ ​For​ ​me,​ ​it​ ​is when​ ​I​ ​walk​ ​towards​ ​my​ ​first​ ​class​ ​in​ ​the​ ​mornings​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sprinkling​ ​rain,​ ​umbrella-less, looking​ ​at​ ​the​ ​blooming​ ​flowers​ ​in​ ​the​ ​trees.​ ​That​ ​is​ ​all​ ​part​ ​of​ ​creation​ ​and​ ​we​ ​have​ ​the blessed​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​experience​ ​it.

We​ ​live​ ​in​ ​a​ ​turbulent​ ​world​ ​that​ ​asks​ ​quite​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​its​ ​young​ ​people.​ ​Take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​this education​ ​God​ ​has​ ​given​ ​you​ ​and​ ​use​ ​it​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​the​ ​goodness​ ​and​ ​kindness​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world. And​ ​like​ ​the​ ​tenth​ ​leper,​ ​come​ ​back​ ​and​ ​tell​ ​Him​ ​thank​ ​you​ ​when​ ​you​ ​have​ ​received​ ​your​ ​gift.

Claire is a sophomore at UC Berkeley studying Theater and Performance Studies and English. She currently attends Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Her favorite Saint is Saint Pelagia the actress and when not in church or the theater, she likes to spend her time exploring San Francisco, reading plays, and eating sushi.