Smooth Transitions

Hey Ginger, I am a soon-to-be college freshman! What advice/resources can you recommend for me as I start off on this new journey? –T

Congratulations, T! What an exciting transition you are entering. If you are anything like me, you were ready for your freshman year in college when you were a high school junior. I couldn’t wait for the adventure of starting something so completely different and fresh. New friends, new home, new church, new rules, new classes, new everything!

I’ve been jotting down things to share with you all week long, but I’m hoping other readers will comment with some bits of advice to add to the list!

  1. Remind yourself that change brings grief. This IS going to be so exciting, but it’s also going to be so different. Even if you thrive with change, there is some part of you that will mourn a shift or two. Let yourself be sad. It’s ok and it’s normal. Acknowledge your feelings and grieve… just don’t stay in that place for too long!
  2. Repeat this out loud: “When expectations and reality don’t line up, the only thing left is disappointment.” Your freshman year isn’t going to look like what you see in the movies. (Thank goodness.) The reality of grades sets in and sometimes you need to close your door and study, or even sleep. There will be someone staying up all night long just about every night of the semester. You don’t have to be the person that joins them!
  3. Sit with someone new at lunch. There are no more social stigmas. You can introduce yourself to anyone you like and tell them where you are from and your major. They will in all likelihood, share the same info with you! College is a social blank slate. Make the most of it!
  4. Take your time to visit churches, but I suggest selecting one by the end of your first semester. Having a place to belong will help get you out of bed and to spiritual nourishment. I’d also recommend volunteering at your church. When I was super tired and considering staying home, that obligation to the 4th and 5th grade Sunday School class kept me accountable and responsible!
  5. Don’t let yourself assume that you will meet your spouse in college. I certainly didn’t and I only went on 3-4 dates during my whole 4 year experience. Letting go of that expectation will make reality a lot more pleasant!
  6. There are so many things you can do with your time. Try lots of things – take random classes, and try intramural sports. Just make sure you also remain diligent to the purpose of school: your degree! Focus when it’s time to focus and have fun when it’s time to have fun!
  7. You don’t have to get a tattoo, piercing, or anything else to make college memorable. It’s four years. It will be memorable on it’s own.
  8. If you have the ability to study abroad – go for it! I don’t know of a single person who has ever told me, “I regret those 3 weeks/months I spent in that other country.”
  9. Rather than focusing on “WHAT do I want to do when I grow up?”– May I suggest a different question? “WHO do I want to be when I grow up?” Your job can change; your character and integrity are with you for a lifetime.

And lastly,
10. Live out what God has already spoken! Follow His Word and enjoy the experience. You will find Him on the journey with you at every turn.

My favorite books about transitions, change, and adventures:
“A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller
“Chasing Daylight” by Erwin McManus
“I Married Adventure” by Luci Swindoll

And I have a FAVORITE book that I love to give graduating seniors:
“You are Special” by Max Lucado

Alright friends, what would you add to the list for T?