Making the leap with faith

By  Alejandra Castaneda, Youth Speak News
  • June 22, 2007
My friends and family in the audience, the lights brightly shining on my face, my classmates all watching attentively as I walk across the stage to receive my high school diploma. I feel a sense of accomplishment, a rush of gratitude and much uncertainty of the unknown. I shake hands and walk back to my seat, wondering what God has in store for me.
This past school year was my last in the halls of a little Catholic school on the North Shore of Vancouver. Throughout the year I thought about life after high school. I applied to universities, won some scholarships, but it never truly hit me that a stage of my life was ending until now. My biggest worry about going to university and entering “the real world” is that my faith will weaken or cease to exist. I realize that may be a little extreme but I can’t stand the idea of losing all the spiritual work and strength I have acquired over the past couple of years.

Our society is full of constant temptations, though in a Catholic high school I was able to avoid some of them. Next year I will be attending the University of British Columbia, a large secular institution with more than 30,000 students. The bubble of protection my school provided will no longer be available. In my classes the students will no longer stand and pray, there will be no school-wide Masses and Confession won’t be available every Wednesday after lunch. These are all things I will continue to do on my own, yet all of these had become habitual. It will feel weird to roam a campus where sex and a lack of morals are the norm.

Although the times ahead may be hard and demanding, there is always hope. I know that even if I turn away from my faith, God will always take me back. I aspire to not stray too far, yet it is comforting to know He will not abandon me. Next year will be a challenge in many aspects of my life. I will have to learn how to manage my time for university courses, maintain extracurricular activities, continue to strengthen my faith and have a healthy balance in everything I do.

I guess it is natural to be apprehensive about the future. I have been told the leap from high school to university is the biggest, but very worthwhile. In terms of my faith, I hope it will take a leap as well. Maybe a more challenging environment is what I need to grow spiritually and become a better person. At the end of the day I know that whatever I do, I am not alone.

Through prayer and living out my faith in all aspects of my life, the years to come seem full of opportunity and promise.

(Castaneda, is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in North Vancouver, B.C.)

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