1. You are not just a student. And you won’t be one forever.
Don’t get so caught up in school and campus life that you forget about the small towns around you and the family back home. More than just the parties and the pressure to conform to the world by your campus’ status quo exist. I highly recommend leaving campus if you can in order to take a breath of fresh air and remind yourself that other places, other spaces, other mindsets exist. It will help keep you grounded and focused on what’s in your future! I find that my time spent in my favorite coffee shop a few towns over gives me just the break that I need from the high hustle lifestyle that sparks from campus.
2. Prioritize your Jesus Time. Schedule it in. Thank me later.
If you’re anything like me and you like to keep busy, your days will fill up in a blink and before you know it, its bedtime. Uh-oh. No prayer time. I try to pray lying in bed, but you and me both know we start-a-thinkin' and then a-sleepin'. I tried making a pact with myself (and jesus) to bible journal every day. That lasted probably two weeks. Loved it. But it took time and materials that I didn’t always have. Then I realized something. If Jesus was a priority in my life, why wouldn’t I schedule in time for Him in my planner? If it’s in my planner, it gets done—why is prayer any different? That’s the catch it isn’t. Now you can catch me with ‘Jesus time’ written in my planner, which allows me to switch up what that means. If I’m in the union, maybe I will take out my bible and read some, but if it has been a long day of classes, I’ll try taking a walk. Figure out what your Jesus time needs to look like, and where you need Him most each day. It’ll make a world of difference.
3. Sweetie, no one cares if you don’t go to the party.
I mean that in the nicest way possible. You’ve had a long week? Your feet hurt? You’d rather watch HGTV and order in Panera? You want to study at a coffee shop or catch up with your mom on the phone? Hun, just do it. It’s your Friday night. Tell your gal pals you’ll catch them later and have them text you when they get there safely. Then kiss it goodbye. Do your thing and be happy! High school drinking was not my thing. College hasn’t changed that. I don’t drink. I don’t like the party scene. You don’t have to either. Don’t let the pressure of being social in that way distract you from knowing that there are other people out there who don’t like the bright lights on Friday nights either. Find them, if that’s you—or heck, find me. You can catch me with HGTV and my twinkle lights in my dorm room, or maybe making a target run for some new canvases. You’re welcome to join.
4. If you do go to the party, promise me it isn’t for a guy.
I get it. I was single practically my entire first year of college, and when I wasn’t single, I was in a long-distance relationship or dealing with the heartbreak from said relationship. It isn’t easy. It isn’t supposed to be. It can be tempting, as its probably your first time being constantly surrounded with such a huge number of people your age, to fall into the “I NEED a boyfriend spiral.” When you find yourself in this mindset, don’t panic, and don’t go to the party because of it. More than just going to the parties because of the guys, don’t do everything in order to find this boyfriend or future husband you see on social media. Have faith Jesus will bring your loving husband into your life at just the right time. Be intentional about who you spend time with and don't walk through college constantly looking for your match. Even if you do find your husband during your four years, remember that God has such a big purpose for you there – don’t overlook it because you’re obsessed with how guys look at you.
5. Make time for finding your bridesmaids.
It can be super easy to make lots of surface level friends at college, and there’s honestly nothing wrong with that. The people on your floor, the girl next to you in calc that eats lunch with you every Tuesday and Thursday, or the guy at the front desk of the learning commons in the library quickly become regular conversations. We love that. I’ll be the first to say that it is so heartwarming to see familiar faces all over campus, especially when you’re missing home. But further than those soft smiles and waves, there is comfort in finding someone that you trust with more than just the hump day vent session about your psych teacher or a Sunday night text about your medical ethics homework question. Focus on finding your people. Some of you may luck out with your roommate, I sure did. Some of you might find more luck with finding a bible study or small group on campus. A few that I know of that you can look into are Cru, Younglife, and Focus Ministries, but I guarantee your campus probably has local churches or Christian outreach programs. Find them. Seek them out and they will draw you in. And don’t be afraid to be yourself, you’re a ray of sunshine—radiate!
6. Ask. For. Help.
From Your professors, from your advisor, from your mom, dad, auntie, uncle, or a stranger on the sidewalk. Maybe they’ll be your good Samaritan. Or you can ask Jesus. I’m serious though, If you don’t know how or what or where or why, chances are, someone else does. And nine times out of ten, someone will be nice enough to help you, sweet girl. Might I also suggest trying the bible if you don’t know where else to turn. Jesus speaks real words to us through the pages of the bible. They are written for us to read to turn us in the right direction. Pray for trust, not the answer sometimes. He will provide.
7. There is literally no such thing as having it figured out.
That’s a good joke. I had a good belly laugh a few nights ago when I realized that I couldn’t even picture what I wanted to do with my life. Trust me when I say that I understand the pressure. I have ¼ of my college career under my belt and I have already been an OT major, undecided, general business, marketing, and now PR major. Let’s not even mention the minors. (I’m currently undecided there too, not to the liking of my advisors) I understand the pressure that comes with college. I know how it can sometimes feel like you have to have your major picked by a certain deadline or you’re screwed, or out eight grand dollars for an extra semester. I know it can seem like you need to have every internship lined up or you’ll end up unemployed after graduation day. And I know the expectations that might be on you – whether imposed by your parents, society at large, or even by your own ambition – when it comes to preparing for the future and securing an impressive job post-graduation. But trust me too, when I say there is no such thing as having it all figured out, because is your name God? Nope. Didn’t think so. His hand is moving you slowly through your life. Only he knows what comes next. Am I telling you to sit back, relax, and never leave your dorm, with the excuse that God will take care of what happens next? Oh sweetie, I wish. But I am telling you not to worry, that He will be with you every step of the way. He gave you talents and passions and experiences so that you would be with equipped with what you need when your time comes. Try to remember that the course of your life isn’t determined by your major. I’m trying to remember that too. Let’s remind each other.
8. You. Are. Sunshine.
You have a light inside of you that cannot be put out. You were created by the One who made the stars twinkle, the One who painted that sunset last night. You were breathed into life by the same breath that makes a baby giggle and makes Beyoncé sing her high notes. You were formed by the one who carved the Grand Canyon, one rushing wave at a time. Your story was written by a God who laid out the stories of the best authors known to man. He took His time on YOU. You are worth the world to Him and He will leave the 99 for you every single time. You are His sunshine. Don’t let that spark fade. Embrace who He made you to be and don’t let college put a pair of knock-off Ray Ban shades to dim it.