Coming to college can be a huge adjustment. You will certainly undergo some degree of change. Regardless if we want to change or not, it is hard to be the same person you were in high school. However, no matter what does change, there are still some aspects of your life that you hold dear to your heart. A good example of this is your religion.
While it is sometimes hard to keep your faith true and devote while away at school, it is not impossible. Judaism, like many other religions, requires a lot of discipline. Keeping Kosher, Shabbat and holidays can seem daunting, but fear not, it is not impossible. Here are a few ways that you can find your Jewish niche on campus.
1. Hillel and Chabad
This may seem obvious, but Hillel and Chabad are both two huge organization across the whole country. They provide a very enriching Jewish experience for all students to share, Jewish or not. They also tend to celebrate all of the holidays, so if you ever can't go home for one, do stop by and celebrate with them!
Many college and university dining halls have some sort of kosher option. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, because it is there specifically for you! Sometimes, the Kosher food is even better than the other food.
3. Classes on holidays
Professors are extremely understanding when it comes to these. Make sure you email them or talk to them weeks in advance. Be open about what is going on, and I'm sure they will be more than happy to give you an excused absence for the holiday. Also make sure to note your own college or university's holiday absence policy.
Sometimes it can be hard to fit in the three prayers of the day. Stop by Chabad or Hillel, they usually run times for students to come and pray, or even the local temple. If possible, ask your roommate for an hour or so to have the room to pray. Sometimes this option tends to be the easiest time-wise.
5. Keep in touch with your Rabbi.
Most Rabbis I know would be more than happy to help with managing your own Jewish life while away at school. Don’t be nervous to ask for help. A lot of people I know tend to do this with their Rabbi and it allows them to keep a healthy and happy Jewish life even away at school.
Ultimately, college tends to change us. Whether it be for good or for bad, it is an inevitable outcome. That doesn’t mean we have to let go of the important things we grew up doing. Holding on to your faith does not have to be one of them.
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