“How’s Your Spiritual GPA?” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 67
For many students, going away to college is their first experience of living away from home. The sense of freedom this brings is immense, and the temptation for indolence and indulgence can be great. New ideas, not all of which agree with gospel principles, will come from both lectures and fellow students. In addition, time, distance, and lack of money and transportation may make attending church difficult for some students.
In such a situation, it is vital for students to ask themselves important questions: “Am I easily influenced by what others think? What problems, if any, do I have in living the gospel?” If students are honest with themselves and learn to avoid situations in which they know they will face great temptations, they can participate in college or university life and still thrive spiritually.
When your daily life is one of study, it may be tempting to neglect religion with the excuse that your brain is saturated. But, as a student, I found it important to begin each day with half an hour’s institute study, which not only helped me learn more about the gospel, but also improved my self-discipline—which, in turn, helped me with my classwork.
Regular prayer is another great source of help and strength—not just at the beginning and end of each day, but whenever necessary. I found it particularly helpful to offer a prayer just before attending a class in which controversial ideas might arise.
One year while I was attending a university, I shared a room with an LDS student from a nearby college. We organized a home evening group for fellow students in the area—which proved to be a great help to many of us who were away from our families.
Being away from their parents’ and other family members’ influence and guidance may well provide the first opportunity young LDS students have to test their faith. But prayer, gospel study, and activity in Church programs will enable students to pass that important test and continue learning and living principles of the gospel.—Rosalie West, Ilford, Essex, England