Written by Hope Brakenhoff. Media by Taylor Harpster.
Take a second and think about where you will be in four years. One thing every single person here at Greenville University has in common, regardless of age, is the fact that they will inevitably have to figure out what it means to live a life glorifying to God in the “real world,” outside of the bubble that a Christian university can be. That means potentially being surrounded by co-workers who have opposite beliefs. Some may not even know who God is, and every student will have to figure how to best navigate those relationships.
People have different experiences in the work world after college. Some are blessed with a staff full of Christians that live similar lifestyles, surrounded by people who promote personal growth in faith. Others may be working in places with very few Christians and very little understanding from others about what being a Christian looks like. It can be tough to find your niche after college and it could look completely different from how you originally imagined. After talking to some recent graduates, it became very apparent that every person has a different experience with being a Christian in the work world.
A couple of college graduates, who prefer to be kept anonymous, spoke about their experiences in the work world. One of the graduates considers himself to be very blessed at his job. “I’ve been blessed overall by not having a work environment that is hostile toward Christians and have occasionally had the opportunity to discuss my faith.” His only experience that has challenged his beliefs and morals has been inappropriate conversations that are had in the office on occasion. He believes that in his workplace, it seems to be a generational situation. The younger generation at his job seems to be less faith-oriented and provide more of a vulgar atmosphere at times. He has also run into issues of work responsibilities conflicting with regularly attending church on Sunday, but this is something that has not occurred too often, so it has not caused him much strife.
Another graduate has an interesting take based off of a healthcare profession. In healthcare, employees have to be cautious because some people do not want to talk about faith, but others do. She allows this to be a case-by-case situation. If a person brings up Christianity, then she is open to talking and discussing, but she doesn’t bring it up first. “My ministry is more with a population of individuals who need help/healing.” She focuses on what the patient needs from her, whether that is openly praying for them or not.
Another recent Greenville graduate spoke about the tools that Greenville equipped her with when she entered the work world. She believes Greenville prepared her to be thrown into an environment that wouldn’t provide her with the same support she had as a Christian at school. “When you are in a place where everyone values God and your personal faith with Him, then, of course, you are going to be able to make that choice and put God first. Now I am in an environment where I am more than likely going to have to be the one that puts my faith out there and ask others about their faith.” She has been challenged in the work world, but she has been stretched as a Christian, too, and she has been able to use the challenges as opportunities for growth.
Regardless of what job you have after you graduate, you are guaranteed to be challenged in a new way with your faith. Even if you become a pastor, your challenges will be different than what you had while you were attending school. Greenville provides a community that promotes your growth in faith, but outside of Greenville University, you have to make the effort to find the resources that will promote personal growth in your walk with God. You have to be prepared for a world that is not necessarily going to push you toward God. You may have to work a little harder to find that support, but it is out there.