This is my second year attending College Conference. Last year I really enjoyed the speakers and the fellowship. I find College Conference to be a judgement-free zone and a place where one can freely, and openly, grow in the Orthodox faith. Even though I attended College Conference last year, this year was just as informative and spiritually rejuvenating.
Having finished my first year of college, and being half way through my second, I have seen the affects that college can have on one’s faith. There are so many distractions that can lead one away. I have had difficulty in combatting this. I have become so centered on my studies that I often forget Who has blessed me to be able to go to school and learn. Throughout the semester I have tried to keep Orthodoxy in my life by going to church, attending OCF, and praying daily. However, even these tools have not worked all the time, and I came to College Conference in the hope of finding more tools that I could use.
One of the aspects of College Conference that really stuck out to me this year was the speakers. I felt that all of the talks that I went to were very interesting and applicable to my life. Sister Vasa was excellent, and she really hit a lot of my concerns, as far as keeping Orthodoxy in my everyday life at school. One of her lessons that I plan to implement is her 3 daily tools. I have a decently active prayer life, but I don’t often contemplate through prayerful reading or self-examine my day. I believe that including these tools into my daily routine will help keep Orthodoxy central to my life.
Another part of College Conference that impacted me was the fellowship. I loved the new friends that I made last year, and it was amazing seeing them this year. However, the part that really blew me away was how many summer camp and school friends came. Both of these friend groups’ attendance increased from last year, and it only made the conference more enjoyable. One of the most amazing things to me was seeing my college friends interact with my camp friends. It was such a surreal experience, and it was a physical representation of how Orthodoxy transcends all boundaries and it truly unites us all.
I am very blessed to have been able to attend College Conference this year. It spoke to me in ways similar to last year, but also in many different ways. I believe that the reason it spoke to me in different ways is two-fold. The first being the wonderful job the OCF board did in changing the theme and events. The other being that I have grown in my faith, and I have come to look for different things than I did last year. Orthodoxy has endless meaning, and I discovered that because of my different perspective as a sophomore.