As Graduation Season is upon us, I realized that last week marked nine years since I’ve graduated from college. I thought this would be a great time to look back on the Top 9 Lessons I learned in college.
9. Get Dressed For Class. This one I learned by hearing about my cousin at a different university, who shall go unnamed in order to protect his identity. It was freshman year, he woke up late for class, and decided to rush to class instead of putting on real clothes. In addition to his pajama pants and t-shirt, he added a robe, slippers, and cowboy hat. I think this only happened once (I hope). Needless to say, it wasn’t until after he changed his ways that he met his wife.
8. Do Not Take Classes With Your Best Friends. As fun as it sounds, taking classes with your best friends makes it too easy to convince each other to order Papa Johns and watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang instead of going to English class. Or you’ll go to English class and pass a notebook between the few of your friends, each writing one line of a poem or story, and trying really hard not to laugh out loud. In my case, you’ll never get in trouble because the professor only calls on people with interesting names… so “Kristin” and “Debbie” didn’t get called on all semester, while “Cassandra” and “Petrit” were called on each week.
7. Tips for Sleeping in Class. Sometimes it’s inevitable. Classes from 6-9pm are rarely a good choice due to their length and boring-ness. But if you’re going to fall asleep, sit in the back row, or at least behind someone larger than you. Don’t wear a ribbed sweater and then put your head on your arm (you’ll wake up with lines on your face, trust me). Don’t drool, or at least figure out a system to catch your drool instead of waking up with a pool on your desk.
6. Find a Church. I was only one hour away from home and often came back on weekends to see family, and my boyfriend-now-husband, and go to church. But when I stayed at school on the weekends I had a hard time finding a church I liked. I tried new churches almost every week but I didn’t like the music, or the preaching, or that there wasn’t anyone my age. Looking back I should have just picked a church that teaches the Bible and planted myself there. I ended up finding a church I loved my senior year of college. I became a leader of the youth group and really had a great time being involved. I only wish I had found it earlier.
5. Find a Bible Study. My freshman year there was a girls Bible study that met in my dorm. My roommate and I went, often ordering Papa Johns and watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire when it ended (that show was new then!). That Bible study group lasted all four years of college. Those women became good friends. We would add a few and lose a few each year, but we helped each other stay focused on God, and many of us remain in contact still.
4. Do Not Join a Fraternity or Sorority. It’s not the stereotypes of partying and drinking that concern me. In fact I was in a sorority and had a lot of fun while I was part of it. I made some good friends, was involved in every intramural sport with them, developed my leadership skills, etc. But one day God revealed to me things about the sorority that didn’t honor Him. It’s a secret society, so you don’t know anything about the rituals or initiation until you’re already committed. Further, if something was good, you’d think it wouldn’t be a secret. Many of the ceremonies seemed to mock Christian rituals, even though the sorority posed as a “Christian organization,” even reciting a Psalm and praying each week at meetings. It wasn’t just the particular sorority I was in. I talked to people in other sororities at other colleges throughout the years and they had very similar ceremonies and rituals as mine. I know this isn’t a topic you hear discussed much, so maybe you’re surprised or think I’m crazy. If you want to know more of my experience, send me a message and I’ll talk to you in more details. But in summary, although my experience in the sorority was good, God clearly directed me that I shouldn’t be involved and to leave so I did.
3. Stand Up For What You Believe. I went to a Christian university so you’d assume that most students would have similar Christian beliefs, and that certainly professors would uphold and teach Christian beliefs as taught in the Bible. Not the case. I had one Theology class about the Scienfitic World that taught opposing views from God’s Word. I was surprised, but it caused me to study each topic on my own to find research supporting Christian perspectives. I often disagreed vocally with the professor in class and I wrote papers contrary to what he taught but supported by research I found. When you stand up for what is right, whether it’s disagreeing with a professor or helping a student who is being bullied, God sees what you are doing and will reward you.
2. Don’t Drink. Believe it or not, it’s possible to make it through college without drinking alcohol (or doing drugs or having sex). When I was 16, I decided I would never drink. As my friends in high school began drinking, I would attend the parties but refuse the drinks. “No thanks” became so ingrained in my mind that it just continued into college. I went to parties, I hung out with people who drank, I was around alcohol, but I stood strong in my decision not to drink. As time went on, people stopped asking me if I wanted a drink because they already knew the answer. I didn’t want any substance to have any control over my mind and body. I’ve seen enough people drinking to know that nothing good comes from alcohol, but there are plenty of bad decisions people make while drinking. As the years went on I spent less time at parties and less time with people who drank because I didn’t like being around alcohol. I had a lot of fun in college and didn’t miss out on anything. Weigh the pros and the cons and realize you don’t need to drink to fit in or have fun. In fact, you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of destruction if you choose to avoid alcohol.
1. Read the Bible Every Day. Nothing will keep you grounded in truth like the Word of God. Even if you only read a little bit each day, I guarantee you it will be one of the best decisions you ever make. The Bible is God’s voice directing your path, comforting your concerns, and giving you peace in uncertain circumstances.
When I look back on college, these Top 9 often cross my mind. I’m sure there’s more I could add… like pray for a good roommate and good friends. I don’t remember praying that but God certainly blessed me by giving me great friends who are still great friends today.