Four simple tips will help you keep your feet on the ground:

1. Research the school's personality ahead of time to make sure you're choosing a good one.

2. Remember that it's normal to feel somewhat odd and homesick in any new place and that such feelings normally pass.

3. Remember that a little worldly homesickness can be spiritually good for you. It's a reminder that Christians are always strangers in this world, for we are citizens of heaven.

4. Keep up your spiritual disciplines. What I mean is daily prayer, frequent Bible study and worship, evangelism, service to others, and constantly reminding yourself of the presence of God. If you stay focused on Christ, He'll make even the desert bloom.

Under Pressure 
Think back to the student I mentioned at the beginning of the chapter who told me that every day she spent at the university she felt that her faith was under attack.

The early Christians risked death and torture for their faith. Some were crucified, others beheaded. Still others were roasted, shot with arrows, or thrown to wild beasts. A Roman emperor, Caligula, burned them to light up his garden parties. In various countries, Christians still suffer torture for Christ. In fact, according to Richard John Neuhaus,  "more Christians have been martyred in this century than in all previous centuries put together. Around the world, some 300,000 are put to death annually for their faith."1 Thousands are also sold into slavery or sent to "reeducation" camps. Yet the cause of Christ continues to spread.

Was my student under that kind of attack? No. She was merely in an atmosphere that made Christian faith look ridiculous. Was that all? Yes. And is that kind of thing enough to explain why the modern university has reverted to paganism? Apparently so!

How can this be?

The answer isn't hard to understand. Violent persecution focuses the mind on the fact that the kingdom of this world is an enemy to the kingdom of God. When there hasn't been any persecution for a long time—as in our part of the world—many Christians start expecting the world to be a friend. They slip into seeking the world's approval instead of God's. When the world denies its approval—when the teacher smirks or some of the other students roll their eyes—they go hollow inside.

How can you stand firm? I'm sure you aren't surprised when I tell you again to keep up the Christian disciplines. Spend time with God in prayer, study His Word, tell others about Him, and show mercy to those in need. But it's hard to do that all by yourself, isn't it? I have good news for you. God has not left you all by yourself. He provided the church. You need to seek out your partners in the faith and have frequent fellowship with them. Pray and study and show mercy, yes, but don't do it just by yourself; do it with your brothers and sisters in Christ. You see, God made us social beings; that's why we respond so readily to peer pressure. Peer pressure is good if it's the right kind of pressure from the right kind of peers. Your true peer group is the fellowship of the saints, the household of God.

This is a great secret. I don't mean that God hides it; I mean not many Christian students know it. They try to live their faith alone and find themselves losing heart. No wonder! That's not the way God planned it.

Everyone has had conversations he wishes he could have over again. I now realize that the student who spoke to me about being under attack hadn't yet discovered the secret I've just told you. I wish I could speak with her again so I could tell her about it. There's no such thing as a solitary Christian. If you go into the world alone, you'll be swallowed.