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The College Connection

Keeping Your Conscience
by Carl E. Carey, Jr.

One of the most significant challenges a college student faces is maintaining his or her integrity in the midst of a college environment. Let’s face it—there are a lot of temptations for the young adult who is on the college campus. Sex, alcohol, drugs, cheating and stealing are just some of the pitfalls that college students are vulnerable to. As a former university administrator and current college professor, I have personally witnessed the metamorphosis that can occur when a young person gets to college. Once the student arrives on campus, the environment begins to infiltrate their mind and before you know it, the student who initially entered the university with a conscience transforms into a person who their parents would have a hard time recognizing.

Most people have a desire to belong to something in this world. Sometimes, that desire is so critical to our happiness that it causes us to change ourselves in an attempt to be accepted or to fit in. If the change we make is for the better, then that’s a good thing. It’s when we lose our moral standards or integrity for the sake of belonging or being accepted that we do damage to ourselves and to our relationship with the Lord.

Quite simply, don’t ever let anyone else define who you should be or how you should be. Be yourself and if that’s not good enough for your peer group, then maybe you should choose another group to be around. There are countless stories of good, young people who changed themselves and their moral code in order to gain acceptance. Often times, they eventually end up in some type of trouble or distress as a result of changing for the worse.

Rather than altering who you are for your peers—why not have them make a change for the better by being in your company? You have the power to be a positive influence on someone, rather than allowing them to be a negative influence on you. Keep your conscience while in college, ultimately, you will be glad you did!

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