Click here for Russian version: Гид для выживания христианина в любом университете
Four areas of emotional problems common to college students are prominent. The most important involves a conflict of values. Emotional problems can overcome a person who has been reared in one value system and all of a sudden is thrown into a completely different value system.
A high school graduate who was reared in a sound Christian environment enrolled in a large state university. Drinking, drugs, promiscuous sex and lewd dress were not only tolerated, they were encouraged. His whole value system was under attack. Under such circumstances a person may begin to doubt the validity of his original set of values. Questions arise such as, Can I justify the morals I was reared with? Who am I? Where am I going? If I need help, where will I get it? Does God want me? Does God know me? Where does God want me? How does God know I exist? What do I really believe? Suddenly his reasons for existence are not as clear as they used to be.
A second source of emotional problems is fear. Fear of failure academically. Fear of rejection by his peers, or of not finding satisfying friendships. Fear may arise from the immense size of the campus, or from the mass of fellow students who live on the campus. Anxiety also comes from the drastic changes one must make almost overnight. Living in a dormitory with so many others. Varying styles of clothes, various lingos and cliques he cannot break into. The vibrations just don't seem right! The new and unknown give rise to legitimate anxiety.
Emotional problems also arise from isolation or loneliness. Even the more mature get homesick for parents and familiar surroundings or a girl or boy friend left behind. Then, too, the campus may seem very impersonal. "No one really seems to care", you might hear a college student say, "I'm just another IBM number".
Another emotional problem is hard to detect because those who have it hardly know it. It is the problem of not having any problems. Some are so anxious to get away from the limits imposed at home, so desirous to do their thing, they abandon their previous system of values. The prodigal son took the money he had coming from his father and left home, thinking he was free. Actually, he was just entering bondage. He thought that he had the solution to the problem of life, when he had not yet heard the question (Luke 15:11-32). This kind of attitude usually stems from a colossal case of selfishness, not yet discovered.
The core solution to anxieties lies in a strong faith that "God is my father". With this assurance no changes in environment or culture will cause us to falter for "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, or anything else in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38,39).
The Apostle Paul had faced many crises: affliction, hardship, calamities, beatings, imprisonment's, labors and hunger. The qualities that enabled him to overcome those crises he listed as purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, the power of God and righteousness (II Corinthians 6:4-10). You have access to the same endurance through Christ.
The following are four suggestions that will help prevent college imposed anxieties:
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