To those of you going off to college…
As summer ends and a new school year begins, some of you are heading off to college, for some college is just around the corner, and for some college is life or it’s in the past. For me personally, I am embarking on my senior year of college. Senior. Year. of. College. I can’t even begin to explain the many emotions going through my head as this time has arrived.
It seems like yesterday that I was in your shoes: either just trying to decide what university to attend or heading off to college for the first time as a first year freshman. Going off to college is not the easiest transition. It’s a big life step: many of you only moving a couple miles away, or moving hours away, and maybe even for some, moving out of state. It’s scary, it’s exhilarating, and it all makes us anxious even while knowing that everyone is in the same boat.
I want to give you all advice, I want to tell you things I wish I would’ve done or the things I wish I wouldn’t have done, but I can’t even pinpoint exact moments because those moments of heartache, the moments of ups and downs are what have made college such a learning experience and some of the best years of my life. But, I would like to share a few little things that helped me have a successful transition to the university that I can call home.
1. If your parents call you, pick up and talk to them. You’re their baby going off to college, they care, they want to hear from you. Just answer the phone or update them every once in awhile about your life. Don’t push them out completely. Sometimes the relationship you have with your parents will even be better and become stronger while you’re in college.
2. Watch where your money goes. Don’t spend it all going out or getting coffee… try to start saving it now because eventually you’ll have to pay rent and bills (maybe some of you already do that and you know it can be tough)
3. Get involved: service, youth group, clubs, organizations, sororities, fraternities. These are some things that will help you make friends and these friends can be friends for life. Also, get involved with what is going on around you. Events, workshops, even becoming involved in different social justice issues around your area that you are passionate about.
4. The friends you make your first year, will not necessarily be the friends that you’ll keep until graduation. Life happens, we become busy and you won’t be able to hang out as much, etc. But, sometimes the friends you make are in your life for a reason, a season, or for life.
5. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, take it. Or if you want to have that opportunity, create it. Make it happen Unfortunately I didn’t create the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or a year, but I did have the opportunity for 2 weeks of service abroad in Canada and Jamaica and those were some of the best experiences of my life.
6. Participate, don’t anticipate. Be present, be engaged in your first year of college! Don’t anticipate what it should be like or compare it to someone else’s college experience. Good, bad, or ugly, be present in that because you will learn so much from those experiences.
7. Be vulnerable and open-minded. College is a time for you to continually learn more about yourself and the people around you. It’s a time to grow and learn from what life brings.
These past 3, going on 4 years have been the best most challenging years of my life but I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it without the people around me at my university. God has placed me at such a wonderful university that I get to call home. He has opened my eyes to beautiful people and has challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and fight for what I believe in. Although my prayer life and trust in the Lord is still something that I am working on, I am so so so happy I trusted in Him throughout my transition into college. You’re going to be challenged, but I challenge you to stay rooted, be engaged, participate, and don’t anticipate.
“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today, so let us begin.” -Mother Teresa
- Mallory Koch, Austin, TX