HPU as a Religious Community

Compared to my time at a Catholic grade school and a Catholic High School, High Point does not seem like a religious environment at all. It really is so different when I think about it.

When I first started thinking about college, I told myself I did not want to attend a Catholic university. I was so done with Catholic school. I don’t know how much of a different being at a Catholic university really would have been because I think the college environment is already so different from the high school environment that it still wouldn’t have felt the same as all my previous years in Catholic school. Now I sometimes even wish that I did go to a Catholic university.

Sometimes I just feel so alone and so judged. Not outwardly judged, I am just well aware that there are other religious beliefs, especially other Christian denominations, that view Catholicism as this crazy, strict sect. I know because I have made friends here who think that way.

It drives me crazy that after knowing me for months and spending so much time with me that they still generalize and group me with the widely criticized parts of the Catholic church.

I love my friends, and I don’t think religious needs to play a huge role in compatibility, but sometimes I just wish I was back in my sheltered environment where everyone was Catholic or at least raised Catholic so they didn’t hate on me for being Catholic. It sounds crazy. But it really drives me crazy that I am in such an open and widely diverse environment and still people who I have spent all my time with since coming here, generalize and stereotype me because of my faith.

I am not an overly religious person. I don’t try to push my beliefs on others. I couldn’t care less what religion someone follows. If it doesn’t hurt me in anyway, by all means. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and practices. And that’s all I ask for in return. I will not hide that I am Catholic. I will leave hanging out with my friends to attend campus Mass on Sunday nights, and I will wear my crucifix, but I don’t understand how that gives anyone reason to call me a crazy, strict Catholic, part of a corrupt and overly strict Church.

What?

It blows my mind that in a place of diversity people can be so close-minded and actually reject diversity with degrading stereotypes.

This environment should be one of learning and understanding.

I never thought attending a university with a religious affiliation different than my own would affect me. I remember when I committed to HPU, my boyfriend kept asking me what the affiliation was. He was more interested than I was. I had no clue and didn’t really care. My boyfriend, a year older than me, also chose a school in the south. A Christian school with no denomination. So, a year ahead of me and already experiencing life away from Catholic high school in PA, he told me the affiliation would definitely make a different.

At first I embraced it. I liked being in what I viewed as an open minded and freeing environment. A place open to exploration and freedom. Now I am not so sure. Sometimes I seek that safety of my Catholic school and it acceptance.

Some would argue that HPU is not a religious community. But I would say that’s only true for the Methodist population hear. Because I have felt judged even by my closest friends here for being Catholic. It’s not the majority. And sure there have been scandals within the Catholic church, but I don’t see that as justification for judgement.

It really is much easier to be religious when you are surrounded by likeminded people.

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