What is it like to come to Princeton as a Christian? What part can Christian fellowship play in your experience here? Below are some reflections from Sean, class of 2009, to help get you oriented:
Congratulations, you’ve been admitted to Princeton University! If you’re anything like the people I know—and I’m almost positive you are—you can be from anywhere. Maybe you’re from Zambia, or from Hong Kong, or maybe you’re American but you were raised in Europe or the Middle East, or maybe you’re from Texas or even from my home state, boring old New York.
If you’re currently involved in a church, maybe word of your admission has spread around, and you’ve been experiencing some interesting responses. Perhaps at least one person has expressed concern about where you’re going to college… after all, isn’t Princeton a bastion of secular humanism, atheism, or worse? Aren’t you guaranteed to lose your faith before you graduate?
If you’re worried about coming to Princeton and not finding a good fellowship or having your beliefs opposed at every turn, you can breathe easier. Princeton isn’t a Christian college, but we benefit from a thriving religious life community. With that comes a myriad of Christian groups, students, and faculty. We have Christian professors who host dinner-talks and discuss how their faith intersects with their scholarship, we have after-class lectures on Christian issues and about the Evangelical community, and we have Gospel ensembles and a Christian a cappella group. Christians may not be Princeton’s demographic majority, but we’re not hiding in the basement, either.
If Princeton isn’t a particularly hostile environment for Christians, it is a very busy one. Most Christians find their primary challenge is just making time for God in their schedule. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get involved with a fellowship as soon as possible. It’s difficult to find the time for anything that isn’t a high priority to begin with, so checking out PEF and the other fellowships should be at the top of your list when you get on campus. Don’t worry—they all offer open houses in September, so you won’t be the only new face in the crowd. Of course, you’re always welcome to get involved with PEF at any time of year… just come to the Friday Night meeting! Otherwise, you should get involved as soon as possible (And if you’re visiting during pre-frosh weekend, we host a great open house that weekend).
During the beginning of the year, PEF works with all the other campus fellowships at providing an open environment to display our individual focuses and strengths. Check our home page or the weekly events page for more information on our different events, especially Freshman Bible Study. And then come and check things out — have some cookies, drink some lemonade, meet some cool upperclassmen. It’s a great time.