Welcome to Nyack, where your walk to class is uphill both ways.
I hope you brought some decent shoes.
It seems like just yesterday I was preparing for my freshman year. Not of college, but of high school. I blinked, and then I was packing up the car and journeying across the midwest to get to Nyack for my freshman orientation. Now I’m preparing for my sophomore year of college. People are not kidding when they tell you that time flies.
As I approach my sophomore year and reflect on my freshman year, there are things I wish people would have told me. As your friendly, neighborhood collegiate, I hope I can share these things with you, like I wish someone would have done for me.
1. Stop and smell the coffee. (Or roses. Whatever floats your boat.)
As you prepare for this next stage in your life, deliberately stop to take it in. While in the midst of things, you think you have all the time in the world. But before you know it, you’re on the other side and wishing you could go back and have just a little bit more time. Trust me, I’d know.
So take the time to take it in. Take mental notes. Take pictures. You’ll want to be able to look back on all of these years, hopefully some of the best years of your life.
You’ll want mementos from this time in your life, as well as photographic evidence of all of your poor fashion and hair decisions. We need something for our kids to laugh at, right?
2. Go do things.
There are a million things to do in college, so you have no reason to be bored. There are even more things to do during your first couple weeks at school. Even if you’re an antisocial introvert (like me), you should take advantage of as many opportunities you can handle your first year, especially your first week. That is the time when everyone is just like you: nervous and and looking for friends.
A pretty picture, right? Not so much.
Everyone is searching for a friend when they first get to school. All of those annoying luncheons and ice cream socials are there to help you meet people. Take advantage of them.
When some random person invites you to go grab a bite with a bunch of other random people you don’t know, say yes. Some of those random people I didn’t know are now some of my best friends.
3. You don’t have to stay friends with people.
It seems like every adult I know has at least one friend that they met freshman year of college, and they have been friends with that person for years. I also know a lot of people who are still friends with their freshman roommate, and that their roommate was later in their wedding.
Maybe you’ll have that friend too. Maybe you’ll meet them week one, maybe week fifteen. Maybe you won’t meet them until year four. Who knows.
But know this: you don’t have to stay friends with the people you meet week one. You don’t have to stay friends with your roommate from freshman year.
Not everyone is cut out to be friends for a lifetime. Think about it. How many of your ‘BFFLs’ from elementary school are still your best friend?
You don’t have to try and save friendships just to save face. You should obviously salvage a friendship if you can, and be cordial at the least. But I know a lot of people who continued to be in torturous friendships because they thought they had to, because it was the first person they met on campus and it makes a good story, etc..
4. Don’t stress over grades.
Yes, the education major just told you not to stress over grades. If you look out your window, you just might see a flying pig.
Stress about your education, not about your grades. Grades are not always an accurate reflection of your effort. Almost anyone who has taken an upper level math class will agree with me.
Whether or not your grades reflect your effort, B’s still get degrees. (Yes, C’s do too for the most part, but C’s don’t always get scholarships.)
So care more about your learning, comprehension, and retention. After all, that is supposed to be the reason we go to college, right?
All in all, enjoy college. Take pictures. Don’t stress. Put your theological studies and knowledge into practice. Seek God and trust Him to guide you. It’s that simple.