Monday, January 26, 2015

Top 3 Tips for a Great College Experience

I remember how daunting the prospect was to leave high school and start my college career.  I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff called Childhood and asked to jump into the ravine below called Adulthood.  My toes curled on the edge of the rock, touching the open air.  It was scary.

As the co-leader of the college/career group at my church, I was asked to go to a high school senior retreat to share some of my top three tips to the anxious seniors.  These could probably apply to life in general, so I thought I'd share them with you all. 

#1 – Be intentional.
In high school, almost everything is predetermined for you by adults or conveniently and readily available.  Your schedule is set by the school, you see (most if not all of) your friends five days a week, and your parents drive you to church on Fridays and Sundays.

When you’re in college, the proverbial Pandora’s Box is opened and all of the sudden you are in charge of your life.  Especially if you’re a commuter to campus (as I was all 4 years), you have to be really intentional about how you spend your time, who your friends are, and what is important to you.  The decisions you make say a lot about your priorities.  Decide what those are and intentionally make decisions to demonstrate that.

#2 – Remember where you came from. 
Whether you go out of state or live on campus, don’t forget your family and friends back home.  They shaped you and will continue to if you make a place for them in your life.  While you don’t need to come home every weekend or call your mom every night, don’t forget that your support team back home misses you and wants to know how you’re doing.  Make time for them (part of being intentional) and don’t forget how much you’ve learned and gained from your home team.  (PS – this is also Biblical advice!)

#3 – Challenge yourself. 
College and independence give you a lot of new opportunities, both bad and good.  Keep your head on straight and think, but also don’t be afraid to take a step of faith.  Do something that may be different from the norm. 

Join that club, volunteer, sign up for an extracurricular class, get involved, talk to someone new, befriend someone different, go to professor office hours, be Jesus to those around you.  You probably won’t ever again have as much freedom and available opportunity as you do in this season of life.  Going to college is a privilege, not a right, so make sure you take advantage of the gift God has given you. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

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