Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Being a college student is not an easy feat: It’s a balancing act on a tightrope. You have to balance classes, friends, family, extracurriculars, and church into a minuscule 24 hours. But, this is your time you get to balance it all on your own and you owe it to yourself to do a great job.

You have the ‘nutrients’ and ‘soil’ you need from home, which allowed you to start growing, now that you are in a new ‘pot’ you can more fully grow into who you are as a person. 

Let’s continue with a few more common problems freshman students face, and some advice as to how to overcome them. These problems are attributed to

Problem #3 Financial Issues

College is expensive. Financial issues can be difficult to navigate. Finances are a huge factor when making decisions and choosing where you go to school. It can get stressful but it is something you can work through and overcome to get the education that you want.

  • Get help if you need it. All schools have a financial aid office, and they are experts in answering any and all of your questions.
  • Talk to someone. Talk to your parents if you need to help solve something out. The stress associated with financial problems can be really difficult.
  • Be thankful. Practice gratitude for the things you have. Don’t forget to thank God every day for the blessings you receive! This advice will help change your outlook on life if practiced consistently.
  • Get a job! Most schools have work-study programs, and a lot of college towns have jobs for students. Just make sure to balance it properly as to not let your grades suffer as a result.

Problem #4 Problems With Choosing Your Major

Choosing your major is a big decision that can help set your path in life. Some people are born knowing what they want to study while for others its a gradual revelation. Your major is a decision that you should take your time with and be sure about, but know that your job and your life after college won’t be limited by the classes you take in college.

  • Don’t be afraid to explore. Most majors, unless you are in a specific track, have a lot of flexibility that allows you to take classes that you are interested in different.
  • Think ahead, if you know there is a specific major you want to get into, speak to advisors and take classes related to it so that you don’t have to lose time studying something you don’t want to.
  • Ask for help. Many saints are patrons of education and in their divine wisdom, they can offer prayers to help you with your decision. Pray to saints like St. Katherine or the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian. They will help if you ask for it!

Challenges are opportunities for growth! Take stress, channel it and use it to grow. College is a time to learn about yourself and mold yourself into the person you want to become.

Times are Changing

Times are Changing

College, while it may be fun, is a challenging part of our lives. There is so much personal, social, spiritual, physical, and emotional change that students undergo. It is so tempting to clutch to the bit of stability we hold onto from our high-school lives, which is great, but there is a point where you have to know where and when to let go and allow yourself to grow.

You have the ‘nutrients’ and ‘soil’ you need from home, which allowed you to start growing, now that you are in a new ‘pot’ you can more fully grow into who you are as a person. 

Let’s begin with a few common problems freshman students face, and some advice as to how to overcome them. These problems are attributed to


Problem #1 Homesickness/Loneliness

This is a problem that gradually arises for many college freshmen especially after the shiny “newness” of the school begins to fade. Everything around you is different and that can make you long for the familiarity, comfort, and closeness of your home family and friends.

  • A good way to deal with this problem is to try and establish a routine for yourself. This includes eating breakfast most days, working out (which will help against the dreaded freshman 15), and going to bed at a reasonable time most days.
  • Don’t be afraid to call your family. I am a senior in college, and I still talk to my mom and dad every single day. You would be surprised how much stronger your relationship with your parents gets with regular, real communication. They are your strongest supporters!
  • I recommend bringing a piece of home with you, like pictures of your family and friends. Reach out to your home friends too, they are probably also experiencing similar feelings about being in a new place and a conversation can really help dissolve some of those negative feelings.
  • You can always pray! Jesus, His Mother, and His Saints all felt times of loneliness during their times on earth. Ask your patron saint for a bit of help. Having an icon of them and praying to them can feel like a spiritual ‘hug’ that can really help in times of need. St. Anthony went out into the desert alone, and he must have felt lonely sometimes!

Problem #2 Poor Time Management & Organizational Skills

Poor time management is a skill that will never go away. Time is one of the most valuable resources that we as students have and it is all too often in short supply. For all you type ‘A’ OCFers out there, organizing things can be cathartic in and of itself–use that energy to your advantage!

  • I reiterate the importance of establishing a routine. It really helps you maximize your time if you know how you are spending it, and using it effectively. It forces you to know your schedule and know when you have to get work done.
  • Keep a journal or assignment notebook. So many classes nowadays have numerous online components with seemingly random due dates and times. YOU NEED TO WRITE THOSE DOWN! Keeping a written record will keep you accountable and will help ensure that you meet those deadlines, plus that feeling of checking off a task that you have finished is so relieving.
  • Put the phone away. You know what I mean when I say this. Homework and phones don’t mix in a very productive way.
  • Set priorities. Part of the reason we may feel that we don’t have time for things is actually due to our priorities. If we prioritize our social lives more than our academic lives, our grades can suffer. Remember that you are going to university to learn, and that should be your priority.

Feeling homesick is natural. Organization is a skill that people are constantly working on. You have time to solve these problems, so use them as an opportunity to grow. All freshmen are going through similar situations use that situation as a means to bond with others, you’re not on this journey alone!

OCF Announces Annual First Forty Days Initiative

OCF Announces Annual First Forty Days Initiative

Brookline, MA–As the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is pleased to announce the launch of its annual First Forty Days campaign – working together with the various Orthodox youth departments to connect students to Christ and His Church during college.

Most students form the relationships and habits that last the entirety of their college career within the first six weeks of their time on campus. Therefore, OCF strives to make sure that every student is connected to an on-campus chapter and local parish within this time period.

With the blessing and encouragement of His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa (ACROD), the episcopal liaison for OCF to the Assembly of Bishops, OCF requests that all parishes participate in the First Forty Days. This initiative ensures that the Church is present during the crucial first forty days of campus life through the ministry of OCF. By submitting student contact information directly to OCF, parents and parishes can be assured that their students will be contacted by local OCF leaders within the first forty days of the academic year.

Parents, parishes, and youth program coordinators can submit student contact information for their graduating high school seniors at All student information submitted by July 15, 2018 will be distributed appropriately in advance of the fall semester.

Please contact OCF at with any questions regarding this important initiative.

Orthodox College Prep: Upperclassmen Advice

Orthodox College Prep: Upperclassmen Advice

Lehigh UniversityStarting college is a scary time – alone and away from home, trying to navigate your way through the unknown territory of classes, dorm living, and new friends. To guide you through the blur of beginning, here are some words from real life OCF students who survived their first year.


“College (and freshman year especially) is an exciting time, but it’s also easy to get swept up in a wave of busyness. While juggling classes and clubs and plain old fear of missing out, a lot of college students underestimate the value of taking the time to just do nothing…to just be. Try to take just 10 minutes every day to unplug from everything and pray. Life doesn’t get any less stressful after college (surprise!), so making the effort now to be intentional about quietness and prayer will go a long way for you as your journey continues.”

Tim Markatos, Georgetown University


“College will give you some of the best times of your life… but it may also give you some of the worst. My words of advice are to please remember who you are, no matter where you are. And in times of doubts, stay connected with the Church community. Remember the story of Thomas who demanded proof that Christ resurrected. Even during his doubts Thomas stayed connected with the apostles, and they stayed with him. The Orthodox Church has the testimony of men and women who had their lives radically changed because of the resurrection of Christ. Among those was Thomas himself, who was so convinced he had seen the risen of Christ he died a martyr’s death. Gladly he died for which he once doubted.”

-Elyse Zappia, LIU (Long Island University) Post


“Christ says, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’ (Matthew 6:33). There is going to be a lot to get used to in the coming days weeks and months, but I urge you to seek out the local parish by your school at your first opportunity, if you have not already. By doing so, you have a whole community of people to help and support you. Also, meet and become friends with the OCF at your school, and if possible at nearby schools. College is a place of a variety of values, but whatever time you spend with your OCF friends, whatever you are doing, you know that you are surrounded by people who share your values, which can be surprisingly refreshing in the middle of college life. I know for sure that every aspect of my life (academic, social, musical, athletic, spiritual) would not be as successful if I was not a part of my local parish or OCF.”

Paul Murray, Franklin & Marshall College