Is religion helpful or harmful?

This is the time in our lives when we learn who we are and where we want to be later in life. College is the ideal place to explore what religion and faith means to you and how you will let it exist in your life. When considering whether religion and faith is something you want incorporated into your university experience, you should weigh the pros and cons. Looking back on my time here at WCU, I did encounter circumstances that required thought about my faith and values. I have not let it hinder my experiences here, but I have sometimes called upon it for guidance. There are both helpful and harmful issues one can consider about religion and faith in college. Having faith can provide a student with purpose and drive. Also, fellowship with others of the same faith can give students a sense of belonging, a place where one can relate to others. How many of you have said a little prayer before a midterm you did not study for? Who knows if this really helped you pull that B- off instead of a C, but I am convinced it did relieve some anxiety so you could better perform. Before you start to think I am all for religion and faith, let me also present some negative aspects for your consideration. Those who are strongly devoted to a religious sect tend to close their minds to other options, ways of life, and opinions. College is an excellent opportunity to meet new people, especially people who are different from you. It is a time to broaden horizons and learn to accept diversity. Some religions tell their followers that differences are dangerous and are to be avoided. This can cause problems between faith and the college experience. Also, the strict moral codes that come with some religions can limit experiencing college to the full extent. College is a time of learning, but it is also a time to establish your impendence and learn what the real world has to offer you socially. If a person of faith feels they can not go to a party for fear of temptation, then this person is limiting the full college experience. No one said that because you are going to a party you have to drink. I feel that going to social events in college is a positive thing that can allow you to make new friends, relax, and feel as though you are a college student living it up instead of sitting alone in your dorm room every night. Having religion and faith in college can be both helpful and harmful, but I hope that you do not let it limit your college life. If you find having faith works for you, that is great, but do not hesitate to try new things. Choosing to not have a religious foundation here at school is admirable, too. My hope is that regardless of the religious choices you make here at WCU, you will keep an open-mind and always follow your heart in life.