College is about to start here in just a few weeks. My little brother will be moving into his dorm room in just a handful of days.
Starting college is definitely intimidating, but it can also be a great experience. In my 3.5 years, I made great friends, met my husband, and studied what I absolutely love.
For those of you getting ready to go off to college soon, here’s four things you need to do:
1. Find a church. If you are a believer, it is so important that you find a place to worship. Campus ministries like the BCM are wonderful (and you should check them out), but it shouldn’t act as a substitute for the local church. When you find a church to plug in at, you will meet people from the community, build relationships with people, and find people who will care for you. Worshiping with the body of Christ is so important.
2. Live in the dorms. If you’re moving away from home to go to college, don’t immediately jump into apartment-life. Live in the dorm. Yes, that can be the most intimidating part of college. Yes, the bathrooms take some getting used to (tip– wear flip-flops in the shower). But, if you live in the dorms, you’ll meet so many new people. College isn’t just about textbooks, studying, and majors—you need to make friends too!
3. Be kind. Be nice to everyone you meet. Get out of your comfort zone! If you grew up in a small town like me, you probably didn’t know many people with different religions or from different cultures. Don’t be afraid to get to know people. When I was a sophomore, I (accidentally) signed up for an international speech class. Whoops! But being in that class taught me a lot—I had three friends who were exchange students from Russia, got to know two young men from Kenya, sat beside a student from Australia, and really learned quite a bit. Being in this class encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I kept in touch with one of the girls after she returned to Russia (she passed away a few months ago), became friends with several people who believed different things than I do, and learned a lot about myself in the process. Be nice to people—it goes a long way.
4. Get involved! Get involved with something on campus or in the community. Get a job. I occasionally wrote for the school newspaper during my freshman year. By the time I was a sophomore, I was very involved in a church and serving in the community. By junior year, I had a job working at an elementary school. Find something that allows you to meet other people—you will be grateful for it.
College was a great experience. When you find something you love studying, going to class isn’t that bad either. Enjoy it—it goes by way to fast!