Over the next several weeks college freshmen will be moving into their dorms and beginning their college careers.
As I have reflected on the start of a new semester I sat down to compile resources and advice I wish had been sent my way when I was a freshman in college, although the advice is profitable no matter the life stage.
Congratulations, you have achieved a major milestone in your life by graduating high school and are about to embark towards another as you begin school this fall.
Your college years have the potential to be some of the most shaping and defining years of your life.
You will be on your own for the first time in your life and will be faced with numerous opportunities that if leveraged properly will allow you to look back on these next four years as the defining years they have the potential to be.
What follows are resources and keys to maximizing your college years.
Your college years present you a tremendous opportunity to grow spiritually.
via The Freshman 15
“There is no greater way you can spend your time, energy, and effort than pursuing Christ with all your heart. Education matters. That’s why you’re going to college. But pursuing Christ matters more. Remember, you can make only one thing your central aim in life. Make it the right thing. Ask God for much grace to keep him at the center.”
3 Keys to Growing Spiritually During College
1. Connecting with God’s People – determine the local expression of the body you will plug into, serve and belong to during your college years.
2. Community – Real, raw, authentic community with other believers in Christ who will encourage you, hold you accountable and spur you on to love and good deeds. People may learn in rows but they grow in circles.
3. Spiritual Disciplines – regularly practice the disciplines of scripture reading, prayer, fasting, etc. to draw near to Christ.
“Because of all the assigned pages, you’ll be tempted to sideline your Bible reading until the next test has passed, the next paper is done, or the next break is here. Instead, treat your time in the Bible like you treat your meal plan.
Your time soaking in Scripture will be the most fruitful and shaping time of your education. Nothing can replace the wealth you will find there, and nothing will prepare you better for life, family, vocation, or even your next class.”
Read All You Can
Read more than simply what is required in the course syllabus.
Some of the deepest and richest periods of learning take place while reading books not on the assigned reading list.
“Books don’t change people, paragraphs do — sometimes sentences.” – John Piper
This extra reading should include books, journal articles, research papers and blogs.
I would highly encourage you to create a Feedly account and start reading articles and other resources.
While learning is important people matter more.
”Above all we must at all times remember what intellectuals habitually forget, that people matter more than concepts and must come fist. The worst of all despotisms is the heartless tyranny of ideas.” – Paul Johnson
via The Freshman 15
“Take advantage of the unique opportunity to get to know a wide variety of people from different backgrounds who have all been sovereignly put in the same dorm. Ask people to tell you their story. Sit, listen, and ask follow-up questions. Tell them you like to pray for people you’ve met and ask how you can pray for them.”
The ability to write well is one of the most important skills you will need to develop in your college years.
The best way to improve your writing skills is to write. The more you write the more quickly your writing will improve.
A great way to get started is to spend a few minutes each day simply capturing your thoughts. This can be in a notebook or on a blog.
If you will force yourself to sit down and write something for ten minutes each day, you will be surprised at your progress.
In my research I found one additional reason to create a blog as a college freshmen, personal branding.
“According to some experts, it’s all about personal branding, or the art of cultivating a professional Web presence that shows the world what you have to offer…“You need to define your own niche, positioning yourself as an expert on a topic for a specific audience,” says Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.”
Learning is always linked to your ability to listen.
We get this wrong to frequently and it creates all manner of pain in our lives.
The two greatest gifts a person can have are the ability to listen and a teachable heart.
The rest as they say, will take care of itself. The great news is that both of these are something we each have the ability to do something about. We may not all be born with the same natural abilities but each of us is capable of listening and being open to the instruction of others.
“I like the idea of ‘bouncing the ball back.’ This means you listen to your conversation partner, take in what they’ve said and add to it, passing the turn back to them to elaborate further. In fact, studies have shown that people who express interest in their conversation partner’s viewpoint and followed up with questions to encourage debate were more liked and more likely to be picked for future interactions.”
How you used your college years both in and out of the classroom will impact your future.
In a recent blog post Jon Acuff posted the following quote from Stephen King on the value of hard work as compared to the value of talent.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot hard work.” -Stephen King
Talented people are a dime a dozen.
It is your work ethic not your talent level that will make you stand out.