How to Keep Your Dreams Alive During College

One thing I love about college students is their dreams.

They want justice and peace.

They want a life with meaning and purpose.

They want to help solve troubling social problems.

They want authenticity and friendship.

Most students I’ve met want to live a full, exciting, meaningful, purposeful and noble life. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

But there is also something troubling that I have witnessed in my thirteen years on college campuses. By senior year, many students have lost those dreams — or if they’re not lost, they’ve been buried.

I remember a young man who told me he could hardly remember his freshman and sophomore years. I’ve heard stories from young women hoping for Mr. Right have their dreams of love crushed by Mr. Jerk. I’ve seen young people with plans to make a difference, live life to the full and do something great become so beaten down by mediocrity, defeat, emptiness and loneliness that they give up.

I’d like to spare you this. I want to give you a chance to not only maintain your dreams, but to even allow those dreams to increase and blossom.

I know a girl who looked simply crushed as sophomore. The look in her eyes communicated hopelessness. She had been in a bad relationship, and when it ended she didn’t know where to go. But I had the privilege of watching her heart be restored over the next two years. By her senior year, she smiled all the time, and it wasn’t an act. She is now married to a good man.

I have another friend who had a great job lined up after he graduated. We had a serious conversation about his future during his senior year, and I told to him to pass on the job, even though it was a great offer. His dreams had grown, and we both knew that he was looking for more than just a good career. He knew he wanted more than a big paycheck. He has a great position now. He told me, “It fits with every one of my desires.” How many people can say that about their job?

Now I can’t offer promises or guarantees — but I can offer you an opportunity.

God holds the key to your happiness. He made you. He knows you better than you do. He actually wants your happiness more than you do. Chances are you’ll be tempted to settle for a mediocre contentment. But God sees your heart, and He knows your deepest dreams. He can also make those dreams possible.

“Okay — so where do I start?”

Reach out and make contact with someone. Click here and find a FOCUS missionary on your campus. Tell them who you are and what you are looking for. I have every confidence that they will be able to help you take the next steps. Some other options might be to attend Mass and talk to the people standing in the back, asking you to sign up for something. They are probably back there because they believe in what they are doing.

You have to be open, and you have to search. Putting your name on a piece of paper or showing up to an event won’t change much. However, finding a group of people who will listen to your hopes and dreams, discussing those dreams with them and supporting and encouraging one another to pursue those dreams can start something great in your life.

But you have to jump in. Go to the events. Talk with the leaders. Ask your questions; there’s no need to hold back. Make friends. I’m confident that if you do these things, you won’t lose your dreams. Or, if you do let go of some dreams, it’s only because you’ll have discovered even better ones.

Give it a shot.

Travis Todd
Travis Todd
Travis is from the great state of Nebraska, and now lives in Colorado with his wife Rebecca and their 6 children. He graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with a degree in Catechetics and Theology and has an MA in theology from the Augustine Institute. Travis has served as a missionary with FOCUS, The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, for 15 years. By studying the lives of the Saints and the Scriptures, He became a Catholic during his freshman year of college. He loves the stories of the Saints, and thinks you should pick up a full length biography of one of your favorites—a short blurb just can’t capture the personality of a great Saint!

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