Entering Polytechnic, I had many dreams of obtaining a scholarship, strong academic grades and building a good reputation for myself. So, when I was introduced to the Catholic community on campus, I was not interested. Weekly sessions seemed inconvenient and too burdensome a commitment. I only agreed to attend a few sessions to get CCA points for my portfolio but had little intention of staying. However after those 3 years, I can confidently say finding the campus community is one of the greatest things that has happened to me.
My liking towards the campus community was not immediate. As an introvert, I am often uncomfortable around new people and like to keep to myself. During one of the sessions, a senior came up to me and asked why I was so quiet. I was taken aback by his question and did not know how to respond. Even after thinking long and hard, I could not find a good answer. This encounter made me want to change. I started attending sessions but what allowed me to step out of my comfort zone was the kindness of my community members. They were always patient when I was silent, included everyone for after school dinners and provided a safe space for us to share our school or faith struggles.
The community was the living Jesus in my life, encouraging me to grow in self confidence and greater conviction of what it meant to be part of his kingdom. Their actions also inspired me to be more courageous in living like Jesus in my daily life like extending the same warmth they showed me to the people around me like my family or non-christian classmates.
In my second year, I was asked to step up as a leader. Initially, I thought that that required me to stand out and be the best version of myself to bring my community to new heights. I soon realised that true leadership is not to be the next trendsetter but to first, follow Christ. “Following” and “leading” seem quite different but christian leadership is unique in that our call is to first be rooted in following Christ and through that, point others to Christ from the way we live and the choices we make. For example, making extra time to catch up with members, listening to their challenges or just being present with our Lord in prayer. It is a greater call to love God and his people ❤️
Even though I am no longer a leader or member of the polytechnic community, I still find myself being called to love God and the people around me deeper. But it is the warmth I received from my campus community that has built the foundations for me to do so. They have shown me a very tangible presence of the Lord’s love and have challenged me to be more intentional in my relationship with Him, especially in school, a place where God can so easily be forgotten.
This great gift of community is not only reserved for me or a selected few but YOU too! Community was never a priority for me but now I see, we are not meant to walk our faith journey alone. They will be the people you didn’t know you needed to carry you through tough times, rejoice with you in the highs and encourage you on your walk with Jesus. And if you are worried for your studies, know that the Lord sees these desires and worries and will not abandon you. He will definitely bring angels in the form of people and resources to guide you 🙂 So my dear brothers and sisters, if you desire a more fulfilling life or want to grow in faith, I extend the same invitation He first spoke to the disciples, to you:
“Come and see”