Ahhhh...school starting. It sounds amazing, fun, and full of new things. Quadrupedal that and you get the beginning of your freshman year of college. Part scared, part excited, part confused, part wondering if you are really indeed in college. I was thinking of what, in all my mounds of wisdom (just kidding, I don't have much of that), I would share with freshman this year, the beginning of my senior year. Here are a few things I came up with:
1. Get plugged into a church ASAP.
Okay, maybe I'm a hypocrite on this one, but this is something I didn't do until my second semester and I regret it! I came from a super awesome youth group situation and honestly, it's hard to go from the community of a youth group to finding a new church, especially when a lot of churches don't have a college ministry. Find a place that welcomes you! Start helping with kids/youth/music/tech/sign dancing. Check out this post about tips to find a college church, or this one about what NOT to do, both written by an awesome professor.
2. The first few weeks are hard for most people.
You aren't the only one who feels left out. You aren't the only one who hasn't automatically clicked with your best friend for life the very first day. Keep trying, and trying! Have an open mind and try new things! But most of all, remember--you aren't alone in this!
3. Go to everything.
For real. Everything your schedule allows, at least for the first few weeks. Student council meetings, even if you know nothing about politics. Check out football games even if you can't tell a field goal from a punt. Go to the lame stuff and see if someone else is standing on the sidelines rolling their eyes, too. The beginning of the school year is unique because you automatically have something to talk about with everyone...just ask their name/year of school/major/what dorm/where are you from. Ten minutes of convo just like that!
4. For girls...Get your girl friends figured out before you get your boyfriend.
At my small Christian school where the motto is unofficially "Find Your Calling, Find Your Mate" you see the couples the very first day. And what happens when they break up? They're left with no friends, while everyone else has already established their friend groups. Girls, before you start worrying about the cute guy in your freshman class, focus on making real friendships with the girls around you. They truly can last a life time, while most likely your first relationship in college might not last past first semester finals. If you are coming in with a boyfriend, make sure you put real effort into finding girl friends! It really does make for a happier relationship.
5. Know what you stand for and why.
You're a Christian? Great, tell me why. Your parents aren't here to give you the answer to why you think something is wrong or something is right. You think all people should get $100 a month from the government? Great, tell me why. Be able to understand why you believe the things you do, and also work on communicating those things with respect. People will believe different things from you, and it is so easy to be swayed. Professors may teach things you may not agree with, and hearing it every week can get you confused. Even in my small Christian school, I could get wrapped up theological arguments I never even knew about, so for me I had to look in Scripture. What was in it and what wasn't? My beliefs were changed on a few things, while I grew stronger in some of the convictions I already had.
Freshman, for all you who feel alone right now, know you are loved and cared for, and your value isn't at all wrapped up in who you know or what you get involved in. You aren't alone, and God loves you like CRAZY!
So for all you who were freshman once upon a time, what advice would you give to this year's freshman?