I am walking into college orientation today as a sophomore.
As cliché as it may seem, I very much am a different person than I was a year ago.
I have by no means become an expert in college, and I’m certainly not the high and mighty consultant on academia and its many challenges. But I also am not the scared little freshmen I was last year.
College is meant to be a learning experience. That is why it is expected of a college student to drop hundreds of dollars on textbooks, and spend long nights and buckets of tears over papers and projects.
Every person will have a unique learning experience at college. As I prepare to head back into Bible college as a sophomore, I’ve been extremely reflective on my past learning experiences.
I learned so very much during my freshman year. This is a small compilation of slightly organized thoughts about the lessons I learned as a college freshmen.
1. People will fail you.
I struggled with whether or not I should start with such a negative-sounding lesson. But this is such an important lesson that I learned. My eyes were opened more last year to responsibility. I learned a whole semi load about what I was trusting in. Humans are not perfect. People will fail you if you rest all your hope there. Be careful who you trust, and be responsible for you.
Be responsible for your learning.
Be responsible for your relationships.
Be responsible to know God.
2. If you can take a nap, take the nap.
College = sleep deprivation. It is A-okay to take a nap. Sometimes, it truly is the smartest and most productive decision you can make.
3. College is what you make of it.
Sure, there may be a lot of people that are responsible for your success as a college student. You can expect your profs and other authorities to help you with some of what college will throw your way. However, there is so much in college that you are responsible for. Your entire college experience is dependent on you. College allows you just enough freedom to coast and challenges you with the responsibility to make something of yourself, your schooling, and your social life.
College is what you make of it. Which means you have the capability to make it fan-freaking-tastic.
4. Use your resources.
I went through a lot of first semester enjoying my newfound independence. Because I’m a prideful human, I liked the feeling of accomplishing academic tasks and tackling emotional hurdles all by myself.
By the end of freshmen year, however, I realized that I had missed so many opportunities to learn and grow because I was too stubborn to ask for help. I was too scared to ask my profs important questions, and too independent to ask my counselors for advice.
Don’t waste your independence by being too stubborn to ask for help.
5. Prioritize relationships.
College throws you into a crazy circus ring of attractions, all vying for your undivided attention. And I was absolutely terrible at prioritizing one attraction in particular. My relationships with my friends and family back home suffered tremendously and I do regret that. I had to learn through trial and (mostly) error to find out which relationships to spend my time building. A lot of your relationships will change during freshmen year, and I had to learn how to prioritize the ones that needed my time to grow.
It’s a process. I definitely have not figured this one out quite yet. But I want to go into sophomore year being mindful and intentional as I keep up with my family and my friends.
6. Call your Mom. Please.
This kinda goes with the last lesson. But still. It needed to be said.
7. Intentionally know God, or it will not happen.
It can be easy to fall into an attitude of widely accepted and dangerously toxic apathy about many of things in life during college. Being content okay, good enough, or alright can hinder you in all areas of life. College specifically tried me in my apathy regarding my relationship with God.
I go to a Bible college. My days are spent pouring through the Bible, studying and applying it. I didn’t realize how easy in would be to coast, even in such a Bible saturated environment.
I must be intentional about knowing God personally and reading His word, or it will not happen. Grand ideals turn into good enough when there are a thousand things to hold your attention.
My personal relationship with God must come first.
This list is not exhaustive. I learned so much besides what I learned in classes. I learned hard lessons about other people, humbling lessons about myself, and comforting lessons about my God who is worthy of my trust. My experiences, both good and bad, were truly invaluable.
So here I go again.
Sophomore year, here I come.
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