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22 Oct 2017

HOW TO RECONCILE ACADEMICS AND RELIGION AS AN UNDERGRADUATE

The first question that comes to mind as one launches into this piece expectedly borders around why education and religion should have need for a reconciliation since they are ordinarily expected to be worlds apart, but quite ironically, the realities of life hold otherwise particularly in tertiary institutions of learning.

The fact remains that campuses and students’ communities could be either swamps where religion cannot successfully thrive and many students who have hitherto been religious turn apostates and jeopardise their faiths. In the other hand, campuses could also be fertile grounds for religion where students are consciously or subconsciously subsumed in religious activities with complete disregard for everything secular including their academics!

The aspects to religion and religious activities on campus highlighted above are two extreme sides of the coin, and there is hardly a middle ground. On the one hand, it is possible to find young undergraduates who were not only raised in highly religious homes but have themselves been rooted in their religious beliefs turn apostates only a few months into their stay in school. One is then forced to wonder: are campuses actually threats to religious faiths? While it might be difficult to provide a yes or no answer to this puzzle, we make bold to assert that there are several factors that influence what theologists call ‘spiritual deadness’ on campus.

First off is students’ inability to manage freedom. It is often the case that many young undergraduates are unable to harness their newfound freedom. Seduced by free lifestyle which the school environment affords, undergraduates often see such forums as opportunities to break free from religious constraints, make decisions of their own, engage in other activities that interest them or visit places just for the fun of it, and as a result gradually steer off the religious course.

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Another factor that is worthy of mention is students’ passionate pursuit for academic excellence. In the same vein, this set of extremists turn apostates, neglecting all forms of religious activities because they need to squarely face their academics and emerge with the best grades. On the other hand, however, one could also find diehard religious fanatics who would not be separated from religious activities for whatever reasons. They are the class of students who jettison classes for conventions, spend more hours at Bible study than in the library, stay back at fellowship centres for long hours after the Sunday morning worship, to cite but a few instances

Beyond doubts, these viewpoints to religion on campus go with their respective pros and cons, but our interest is on students’ ability to effectively manage both religion and academics. While it is not advisable to apotheosize academics, it sure does no good to make jettison of one’s fundamental enterprise as an undergraduate. Students must be willing to prim religious excesses, appropriate their time and ensure that neither infringes on the other. In conclusion, undergraduates must understand the principle of urgency and importance and apply it when necessary.

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