thoughts & advice, part 3

July 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm 1 comment

First of all, if you read my RSS feed, please ignore that strange post with the list.  It was for me, so I remembered what to write about, and I accidentally published it – and then learned that while you can delete from your blog, you can’t delete from your RSS feed.  Awesome. 

Anyway, continuing with my thoughts for college freshmen (read part 1 and part 2):

12. There is such a thing as “syllabus shock”.  You will get it.  Everyone thinks that first week of classes is easy because the professors are just giving a general overview of the class and syllabus.  But you should know going into it that it will probably be very overwhelming as well.  (So give yourself grace!  Everyone else is probably freaking out, too).  Go though the syllabi on your own, write down on your planner when tests and major projects and such are due, and then don’t stress about how you are going to tackle the semester all at once.  You are going to work through one day and one week’s homework at a time.  It will be okay. 

13. Be intentional with new and old friendships. We’ve talked about initiating activities and mealtimes and such to foster new friendships, but if you have any good friends from high school that you want to keep, you need to be intentional in maintaining those as well.  Yes, it will be more challenging to keep up with them, but it is also very important.  See if you can call or skype your friend occasionally, and send emails or texts to keep them updated on your life.  I found my high school friends to be a great lifeline, especially those first few weeks, because my new college friends were awesome but it was exhausting to be constantly trying to make friends and develop them.  And it’s comforting to have someone who truly knows you on the other end of the phone.  But on the flip side, don’t do what a few people I know have done, and spend all your free time skyping with your old friends, or even staying within the same circle if a bunch of you are going to the same college.  This is your chance to branch out and make many new and worthwhile friendships that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to make.  So jump out of your comfort zone and go make them! 

14. Realize your purpose.  Why are you at college?  Whether or not you’ve consciously thought of this question, your answer is going to shape the next four years.  If you think you are at school because it’s the “best four years of your life” and you are going to have a ball, you will obviously make one set of choices (and those might not be very smart).  And if you realize that you are here to benefit and grow from the entire experience – getting a degree, learning new skills, making new friends – you will probably make different choices.  The point is, you need to understand why you are going here and what you hope to accomplish in the next four years.  It will fuel you on the late nights when you wail to your roommate, “Why are we doing this to ourselves, again?!”  And regardless of where you are – in college or not – your ultimate purpose is to glorify God in everything that you do.  To live in such a way that all the world can see your real Treasure and the meaning of your life.  How does that impact the things you do?

15.  Join something.  For fun.  The best way to make friends is to join a club that you truly enjoy, meet new people, and do fun things together.  It will be a good way to keep your sanity throughout the semester, and it will help you feel like you belong much faster.  This can be a sports team, it can be a Christian ministry, it can be the juggling club.  I don’t care – just get involved.  And, be careful about overcommitting yourself, because you will get stressed and probably slack off on the schoolwork.  Two clubs worked well for me; I’m not sure how many more most people can handle.  (And for some, you may only be able to handle one – and that’s okay.)  If you are on a secular campus, as I am, I also highly suggest looking up the Christian fellowships on campus.  They are imperative in providing community and support, and also training and challenging you to continue to follow Christ.  (I have heard lots of good things about many ministries; two that I have been involved in and recommend are The Navigators and Campus Crusade for Christ).

16. Go to at least one sporting event if your school has any halfway decent team.  This is strange advice from the girl who can’t really follow or understand any sport, but it is a very fun way to bond with other students and feel school pride.  Though a prerequisite is probably the ability to enjoy enthusiastic crowds.

17. Be careful with multiple drinks on a dining hall tray.  Just be careful.  I usually get water after my tray is already on the table.

18. Find a table first, then get food. It avoids the awkwardness of trying to coordinate who will find a table with your friends when you all finish getting food at different times.  It also avoids you sitting in one half of the dining hall while your friend is in the other, each assuming that one is still waiting in line.  Not that I would know what that’s like or anything.

19. For the older students – focus on three people.  One of my sister’s graduating friends suggested this idea to her class, and she passed it on to me.  I love it.  We can’t be everything to everyone – but are there three people, for this one semester, that we feel the Lord wants us to focus on?  Even Jesus had some disciples who were closer than others  (and I think it may have been three, but I can’t quite remember).  Maybe you should be focusing on the girl in one of your classes; it may be an older student you admire, or a younger one who seems lost, or maybe you just want to make sure your relationship with your roommate continues to grow and thrive.  But pray and ask God if there are three people whose friendship you should especially pursue and focus on for this semester. 

tomorrow: a few college things.  and this will conclude my week on college.  And as always, please comment with your thoughts, questions, concerns, advice, and comments.

Entry filed under: college.

we interrupt this series with a public service announcement college things & who cares about well-rounded?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Alicia  |  July 27, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    I so agree with all of this – especially the syllabus shock part! I had my first day back yesterday, and the information overload is insane! It’s so important to go over it all youself in your own time- thanks for sharing all your advice!


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