When I first came to Kalamazoo College in the fall, one of the aspects of my life I was worried about was my spiritual life. I wasn’t really sure of what programs were available, and I had heard that K isn’t the best school to come to if you consider yourself religious or spiritual. But my experience has been radically different than what I expected.
Instead of the negative response I was expecting, I was immediately told about different events and programs on campus that I could attend. One of my peer leaders (Every First Year Seminar has a few upperclassmen to help us adjust to K, and to college life in general. My first year seminar was Salem Possessed, ten weeks on the Salem Witchcraft Trials and it was the best experience I could have asked for!) offered to take me along to her spiritual group, the Fellowship of Christian Students. I wasn’t sure what I wanted my religious life to look like in college, but I knew if I wanted to continue on my spiritual journey, I would need to find some sort of organization. FCS, or what I call Jesus Time (an unofficial nickname), has been perfect for me. The group meets on Sunday nights (when I should have my homework done…) and has introduced me to a whole new side of Kalamazoo College. I’ve made good friends from the organization, and plan on going on a spring break trip with the group to Chicago. At a small school like K, it’s easy to think that no one has the same interests as you, or that you’re alone in your opinions. But if you look, these groups are out there.
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at K offers programs for any type of faith, and if what you want to do isn’t offered, the amazing team in the Chapel will work with you to plan an event, or start a group.
Midway through fall quarter, I applied for an internship with the Chapel (I didn’t get it, but it’s alright). Instead of working as an intern, three first year students were offered positions as Student Chaplains (working on programs around campus, staffing the Cavern). Not only has this been an incredible experience for me personally, as I’ve been given a chance to learn about other faiths and grow in my own, but it’s been an opportunity to reach out to other first year students.
What I’ve found, being religious on the Kalamazoo College campus, is that while most of my fellow students are open to my beliefs and welcome me with open arms, you have to work a little harder to get involved. As a first year, I hope that opportunities become easier to find, no matter what spiritual or religious background you come from.
I would love to answer any questions about the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, religious groups on campus, or any other inquires you may have! Feel free to comment below.