Higher education helps some find a higher power

Photo by Leah Klafczynski

Blythe Alspaugh

Champaign Bounds didn’t plan on finding God when she came into college. Although she came from a strong Christian background, she didn’t want to identify as a Christian because of the seemingly bad reputation the faith had.

“Christianity is based as a faith of love and hearing that all the time as you grow up while seeing people in the church gossiping, being hypocritical and judgmental… that’s why a lot of people don’t want to identify with that,” said Bounds, a sophomore communication studies major.

The vibe Bounds received from churches was what pushed her away from her faith. Coming to college changed that.

“I was upset and depressed, and I didn’t let anyone know,” she said.

Bounds met a girl during her first semester at Kent State, who was eager to spend time with Bounds and get to know her better. It made Bounds look more into Christianity, and what “real Christianity” could be.

“Instead of getting this storybook picture that everyone gets, I got to see that Christians are broken,” Bounds said. “It’s broken people pouring into broken people.”

Lauren Odell-Scott, a philosophy professor at Kent State, has encountered students who have come from nonreligious families or have been alienated from their religion, only to find religion in college.

“It’s a time of life when you are seeking for yourself, ‘What are my values? What do I want to do with my life?’” Odell-Scott said. “Sometimes the way religious groups help people figure that out is by offering opportunities to travel.”Travel reconnected Josh Bodziony with his religion.

Bodziony, a sophomore applied engineering major, came from a Catholic background, but through friends and campus organizations, ended up finding Christianity on a trip to Florida with Campus Navigators during spring break his freshman year. He and his friends spent the week sharing gospel on the beach, but when his turn came to lead, he was nervous. Another team leader pulled him aside to talk about it.

“He pulled me off to the side and pulled out the diagram we were showing to other people about what the gospel is. He went through it, and for some reason it started clicking,” Bodziony said. “I’d always had head knowledge about Christianity because I grew up with it, but I never felt it in my heart. But things started clicking and that was the day I accepted Jesus into my life.”

For sophomore anthropology major, Wolfgang Davidson, finding Judaism came after he got into a car accident while coming back to Kent from his workplace. To avoid hitting a car on the road, Davidson swerved to miss it and ended up fishtailing because of the weather conditions at the time. His car hit the guardrail and slid across the highway, hitting the opposite wall.

“I had my eyes closed … when I hit the other wall, it felt very soft,” Davidson said. “I thought I had died, and that was why the impact was so soft.”

The accident left Davidson traumatized, but there was still good to come of the situation. He began to go to Hillel more with his newfound free time, helping him to find new meaning to his life.“[Religion] acted, and continues to act, as a way for me to handle life,” he said.

Contact Blythe Alspaugh at [email protected].