College guide for Mormon students: 6 survival tips

A non-Mormon college is a little bit different from what you’re used to. Photo: College students

SALT LAKE CITY, September 5, 2013 — The fall of the freshman year can be tricky for any new student, but it can be especially tricky for young Latter Day Saint (Mormon) adults attending non-Mormon colleges.

You don’t drink alcohol, you’ve got a lot of Church responsibilities on top of your school and extra-curricular plans and your religion is one not many people know anything about, so let’s face it: it can be difficult at first. But it is doable and college will be a great experience if you keep these six tips in mind:

1. You don’t have to drink. Chances are, at one point during your freshman fall you’re going to be offered an alcoholic beverage or you may be the only person at a function who isn’t drinking and the little voice in your head will be saying, “Why not? Who cares about your religious commitments, this would be a lot more fun if you were participating.”

Don’t fret, thousands of young adults have been there before you and have felt the same discomfort of this very situation. Just say, “No thanks, I don’t drink.” The first time you say this may be tough, you’ll get questionable facial expressions and be asked to explain yourself, but that’s ok. After the first few times, everyone will know and accept your choice.

Book of Mormon

2. If you do drink, or do anything else that you feel is inconsistent with your desired living standard, you can get yourself back on track. Attend your campus Sunday congregations (ward.) Sunday, for you, can be more than just a day to put on a nice outfit and meet other Latter-day Saint students. You can make it a time to worship, to meditate on the events of the past week and to learn ways to (sometimes with baby steps) to improve your life and do better the next week.

3. Listen to the audio versions of The Bible and the Book of Mormon. Studying your scriptures is just as important as everyone has taught you in church. Now that school has started, however, it may be hard to find time for this extra religious study, especially if the classes aren’t built into your school curriculum. Using the LDS Scripture Application on your mobile phone will allow you to get that burst of religious insight while you’re getting ready for the day, walking to class, or before you go to bed.

4. Invite your non-Latter-day Saint friends to church activities. Most church activities are non-denominational in nature and allowing your friends to come along will help dispel many of the misconceptions they might have about your religion. Plus, this provides another way for you to be social without alcohol, which is a good skill for everyone to learn.

5. In a Young Single Adult Sunday congregations it may seem like they are all best friends with each other except for you. They’re not. It’s important to remember this because this, “I don’t belong, I don’t have any friends and everyone else seems to love it here” feeling can make you want to stop going to church. It isn’t true, everyone is uncomfortable in his or her own way.

6. You don’t need to get married the first day. Marriage is a big part of Latter-day Saint culture, and you may have grown up hearing your parents tell the “How we met in college” story. That’s great, good for them and good for others who find their spouses in the first week of class. That, however, may not be you, and it doesn’t have to negatively color your college experience. Spend your days learning, studying, experiencing new things and people, serve others and become interesting. The rest will take care of itself.

Now enjoy your freshman year and your new independence. Check out The Ask Angela Blog for more. 

Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the Latter-day Saint experience. Follow her on twitter @askange_column, Facebook, and her blog.


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Angela Trusty

Angela Trusty brings her great life observations and advice Communities.  Angela also authors   ‘Ask Angela’ which also appears bi-monthly in the Deseret News. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the lucky sibling of 5 sisters and 1 brother.

She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, but Baltimore will always be her home. 

 

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