For many of us, school will begin real soon. And that means that for many, college is knocking on our door.
For me, I will be going into my senior year of college. When I think about it, I am amazed at how fast the time has gone by. (It feels that I was just starting college last month!) For me, college has been an exciting time full of great memories (and certainly some rough times as well). I have enjoyed college 100x more than I enjoyed elementary, junior high, or high school.
As I look back on my previous three years, while preparing to go into my fourth and final year, I ask myself: What are some tips I could share with those just beginning their college journey?
Here are 5 tips that I believe you will greatly benefit from if you heed the advice:
1. Make faithfulness to Jesus Christ your number one priority
- In the large scope of things, your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters most. Before grades, career choice, finding a spouse, or anything else, make faithfulness to Jesus Christ your top priority. (Those other things are important, but they shouldn’t take God’s place in your life). No success in life is worthwhile if you aren’t successful in being faithful to God.
2. Read these three books
- The Bible
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
- The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley
- These three books will help you learn more about God, yourself, and help you figure out where you want to go in life (and more importantly, where God wants you to go in life). If you have vision for your life, you will be inspired and filled with purpose. Many people don’t know what they want in life, constantly going through mindless routines where they end up wondering how they got to the place they are currently in. They end up discouraged and frustrated, lacking meaning and purpose in life. Don’t be that person. Pray and ask God to fill you with vision for your life. As the Scriptures say, “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people are discouraged, but blessed is he who keeps the Law.” (Proverbs 29:18). The three books above will help you tremendously.
3. Meet a lot of people, be close friends with only a handful
- Get to know as many people as you like, but find a handful of friends you can be real intimate with. If you try to be best friends with everyone, you are going to get frustrated and disappointed. There just isn’t enough time to be buddy-buddy with every single person. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t know a lot of people and be friends with them. Just be close friends with a handful. (If you can be close friends with many, more power to you. But I have found that it is incredibly stressful and hard to maintain strong, close relationship with many people). Some wisdom from the book of Proverbs: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24).
4. Discover your interests, develop your skill(s) assets.
- Figuring out what interests you is the first step in deciding which career path to choose (which should determine what major you choose). Then, you can begin to develop the skill(s) in that area of interest. Are you interested in being a writer? Start writing and get really, really good at wring. Do you want to be a financial planner? Learn about money and develop the skills needed for the job. Discovering your interest(s) and building a skill set around those interests will help you in life and help you land a job after college. It is also really enjoyable and fun (but hard at points).
5. Learn to manage money
- I never really had any education on money management, and the little I did receive in high school I completely forgot by the time college started. But to be honest, I wish I had learned about managing money earlier in my life. The truth is that learning to manage money is important, because money is a part of everyone’s life, no matter who you are, what you do, or where you live. Developing good personal finance habits will serve you well both now and down the road. This past year, I have read many personal finance blogs, along with a couple of personal finance books. Here are some recommendations to get you started (note: some of these sources have beliefs and values that are different than the Judeo-Christian values, but still have practical and wise advice. Read with discretion and prayer):
So there you go, my 5 tips for those of you going to college. There is more I could share with you all, but I felt that these 5 were of greatest significance. If you feel nervous about going to college, don’t worry, that’s normal. College is an exciting time full of many different emotions. You will have high points as well as low points. Build strong relationships, pray, read your Bible, talk to those who have gone through college, and be wise. Follow this and you will be on the right path.
For those of you who have gone to college or are currently in college, what advice would you share with those just beginning? For those entering college, are there any questions or concerns you have? Feel free to leave your advice in the comments below!