Alan Jacobs had a great line in his Wall Street Journal column this month that could not have been more spot-on to what I experienced when I arrived at UCLA as a green 18-year-old. In discussing the new secular studies department at Pitzer College, Jacobs wrote:
It might be good for some secularists to think more historically and critically about their own convictions. This can be a challenging experience—as it has been for many young believers who have gone off to college and learned for the first time that beliefs that have seemed obviously true to them are not quite so compelling to others. Some of these believers change their minds, but many emerge from their college years with their beliefs largely intact. Perhaps young secularists will be equally resilient.
It’s that middle part that reminds me of how odd I found it to find not other students but other in fact Christians who didn’t believe the same things I did.
For more on this phenomenon, check out this story about the intersection of God and grades on college campuses.