To start off I would like to say a big congratulations to the Class of 2013. You made it. The feeling of finishing something as big as 12 years of grade school is pretty incredible.
A year ago I remember being in the same position; excited to leave the high school years behind and experience my new found freedom at college. Since today is such a momentous occasion for a bunch of people I know, I thought I would share some tips to get the most out of your first year “on your own”.
My first piece of advice would be to take full advantage of the freshmen events that your college or university has put in place to get you out and meeting new people. I always felt intimidated to approach people I had never met before, but looking back on it I feel sort of dumb. While some people may not share similar interests with you, every single new student may know a hand full of people from high school, but that’s it. Once you being to realize that everyone is basically looking for people to connect with it makes it easier to step out of your comfort zone and talk to people.
One of the simplest pieces of advice I would give would be to go to class. I’ve learned from personal experience that it really does benefit you to go to class. The professors are more likely to help you at the end of the semester if they can see that you’ve put in the effort to at least make it to class. And who knows, some of your professors next year might actually give you extra credit for going to every class! (A couple of mine did that)
I think it would also really be beneficial to find a small group of people in every class that you can study with. I know you may think you are only able to study on your own because being a group distracts you, but in addition to studying alone, studying in a group will give you a different perspective on the material and allow you to ask questions if you get stuck. This is something I didn’t do a great job of doing, and I feel like if I had I would have b=made it easier on myself.
The last thing I would encourage you to do as your embark on this new part of your life is to figure out what you believe. You’re on you own now, if you don’t go to church mom and dad won’t be there to make you go the next week. It’s real easy in college to get into this mode of spiritual complacency. Whatever you have believed in the past it should be a goal to figure out whether that is something you really believe, or if it’s something you just believe because your parents believe. I think it would be a great thing to find a group on campus that shares in your spiritual desires. Maybe even just a single person who can encourage you to continue to pursue a better relationship with Christ. Having that person can help keep you on track and sort of remind you to keep doing the things to grow your faith.
Again, congratulations Class of 2013, you did it.