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Peer Adviser Post: A Balanced Spiritual Life

Peer Adviser Post: A Balanced Spiritual Life
By Carlos Garcia CC'14



We often hear that to be a successful student at Columbia we need to have a balanced life. It is good to have a balanced diet, a balanced sleep habit, a balanced social life, a balanced class schedule, balanced physical routines etc. But I often find that one very important thing is sorely missing from the lists of the most important balanced habits: a balanced spiritual life. Throughout the entire Core Curriculum we wrestle with questions about the human identity, and yet one element is nearly always present: man’s spiritual essence. From Aristotle to Dante, from St. Augustine to Dostoevsky, from the Iliad to the Qur’an. As a student at Columbia I have found that an indelible part of my journey has been spiritual. Columbia can be particularly stressful in its own unique way, and I have found that nurturing my spiritual self has been a tremendous help to get me along when times get difficult. During finals when studying seem never-ending, during turbulent relationships and friendships, during an overwhelming job and internship search, in times when I seem to fall behind in classes, the list goes on and on …

Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the Columbia community is its many expressions of spirituality. Indeed, Columbia students are in an incredibly unique place when it comes to coming into contact with the many religions and spiritual practices that permeate the university environment. It truly is a crossroads of what the world has to offer. Take, for example, the Hindu Student Organization’s celebration of Holi, or the Muslim Student Association’s Symposium, “The Muslim Protagonist,” or the retreats put on by Christian organizations such as the Catholic Ministry, Intervarsity or Faith in Action. On an intellectual front, the Veritas Forum at Columbia seeks to put into dialogue these many strands of faith, often creating incredibly insightful events. Last semester, for example, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew participated in a lively panel discussion answering the question, “who is Jesus of Nazareth?” As such, the Columbia community offers an amazing amount of ways in which students can keep their spiritual life alive, always improving it and constantly learning about faith and spirituality in other contexts. To find out more about what religious student groups exist on campus, check out the following list: http://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/learn/studentlife/activities (scroll down to religious groups). It contains links to the student group’s website.

I have often found that my own faith journey has greatly helped me along my academic route at Columbia. It has clarified doubts as to what I want to study, instructed me on how best to study, and given me a lot of hope and comfort during stressful moments. Additionally, getting involved in a religious and spiritual campus student group has exposed me to a unique and dynamic community, given me life-changing friendships and expanded my intellectual horizons significantly. Truly, Columbia is an exceptional place to explore and live out faith.|

Many thanks!
Carlos  

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