By: Dolores Hinckley, RHC Print Cooordinator

              Right now, you might be thinking: Starting college is the best thing that’s happened to me — or the worst. I did not like my first few months at UF. I felt like a rat dropped into a big maze, and everything and everyone new I encountered were like sharp corners and diverging paths. On the other hand, for some of my hometown friends who also became Gators, the first semester was just open doors of possibilities with so many great things to do.

              You might have one of these experiences, something in between or neither, and that’s totally OK. Now more than a few semesters on, I can tell you my friends and I feel the same about our college experience. Mostly, that this is where we need to be.

Why do we feel that way?

              The incredible gift that is our Catholic faith is why. You will go nowhere in these next years of higher education that Jesus won’t be with you. He will be with you in the library, in class, in your dorm, and yes, even out late at night on the town.

              As you adjust to life in the Swamp, know that at any moment, He is here for you. Momma Mary and all the angels and saints are here for you. You have a team, an army, a family with the Father, and they’ve got a home base at St. Augustine’s on University Ave. Come spend time with Him and the rest of the Catholic Gators family.

              Don’t be afraid of the wonderfully outgoing guys and gals at Catholic Gators you’ll run into. They are going to be weirdly enthusiastic to have you, specifically you. Kind of like how God made you with intention, except not “kind of” but exactly. Say yes to that invitation for Newman (free dinner!) or other fun event, and see for yourself how awesome everyone at CG is.

newman_dinner catholic gators
Free dinner at Newman every Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.

              Don’t be afraid of those moments alone during your day, either.

              You might find yourself alone for the first time ever. No one to tell you when to wake up in the morning, what to eat, what to wear and where to be at almost every hour. That’s scary, freeing and the first taste of adulthood.

              Take some of those moments alone to the church. When the semester comes crashing down on you, and you question every decision you’ve made so far, those moments in front of Jesus are life-giving. Growing your faith here and now will give you a stability in college you would not believe.

              This probably all sounds doom and gloom like, “Wow, whoever wrote this must be one jaded college student.” I promise, I’m not! I only say this because it can get real in college, either real good or real bad. Be prepared for both.

              Church might be the last thing on your mind as you start fresh. Maybe you’ll roll out of bed Sunday morning and think to yourself something’s missing to your day, something you always did with your parents. The University of Florida might be new to you, but the church isn’t.

mass on the grass

              Catholic Gators has something for everyone, especially if you like free food every Tuesday at Newman Dinner. No matter if you’re into art, sports, music, if you want a bible study, or you’re just looking for friends, we have a community of people here that is genuine in both prayer and friendship.

              Come to St. Augustine’s, come home to Him and come meet us all. We all can’t wait to meet you.

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