Looking back over my four years at Texas Tech University, I sometimes wonder what advice I would give someone who’s preparing for college life. What pointers would I have given “freshman-Garrett?” After all, going to college is a big step. It’s an exciting but daunting new chapter.
So here’s what I came up with—15 things I wish I had known as a college freshman, 15 things that I would share with those of you prepping for college life:
#o n e
You’ve probably heard of the freshman 15—the dreaded weight gain that affects first-year college students. But watch out for junior and senior 15. Pretty sure that’s a thing, too.
#t w o
Don’t forget your scantrons. Keep an extra one in your backpack, just in case.
#t h r e e
Recognize that the world is much more complicated than you thought it was. Nobody understands everything. Be teachable.
#f o u r
Don’t let little setbacks ruin your day or make you distraught. Focus on the big picture. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, even when exam scores are disheartening or your social life takes a hit.
#f i v e
Maintain at least a somewhat consistent sleep schedule.
#s i x
A degree change isn’t the end of the world. Meet with advisers if your original degree plan doesn’t pan out like you expected. Far better to adjust your career trajectory now than later.
#s e v e n
Before signing up for classes, check out the exceedingly helpful RateMyProfessors.com.
#e i g h t
Choose your battles carefully, especially when debates erupt inside the classroom. Often it’s better to bite your lip and stay above the fray. Remember, there were even occasions when Jesus held His tongue (Matthew 26:62-63).
#n i n e
Be prepared for a deluge of foul language on campus, which can be a shock, especially for those of us who grew up in protected Christian homes.
#t e n
Before you submit papers, carefully proof-read them to weed out typos. Ask a friend to read over them too.
#e l e v e n
Recognize the joy of the moment. Down the road, I promise, you’ll miss aspects of your college days.
#t w e l v e
Make new friends.
#t h i r t e e n
When deadlines approach and big assignments are due and your stress level escalates, pause. Breathe. Pray. Thank the Lord for His merciful provision and hope-giving promises.
#f o u r t e e n
Remember that the days will often drag by sloooooooowly…
#f i f t e e n
…but the years will fly by faster that you ever anticipated.
By the way, other Come Awake writers have shared quality advice for surviving the college era.
In 2014, Julie compiled a great list: 22 things I would tell my 22 year old self. In 2015, Jennifer shared 15 pieces of advice before moving out to college. Also, Priyanka once offered some thoughts on partying—and how Christian college students should respond.