I am graduating from college in three days, let me tell you I have learned more while being in college than ever before! Four years does a lot to a person and there are many changes that come with maturing and growing! There is a sense of fear in some aspects of not knowing what you’re going to do when you get into college and when you’re getting out of college. The great part is, that God has great plans for us, and some of them take place after we get done with school because there are no strings anymore. Here are ten things I’ve learned through my four years in college.
1. You don’t know and will not know everything.
We have this idea that we know so much about college and what life away from our parents will be like, however, most of the time we are wrong. We have this idea that we are going to be involved in every school activity, we expect to make friends and be best friends with our roommates. We have this notion that when we graduate we are going to be so knowledgeable and capable. Now, we will be more able, and more capable and knowledgeable, but the fact is, we still will not know everything about the subject we graduated in. You can take as many classes as you want, but people are not always rational, and they are not always predictable.
2. Your roommates will either be your best friends or you won’t like each other at all.
For some reason, growing up watching hollywood movies, I always had this image in my head of being best friends with my roommates but four years of school have proven me wrong. I have learned your roommates won’t always like you, especially when you do the right thing and speak truth to them. They may not like the way you are clean, or the way you throw your things around the house, they may not like that you always have people over or that you spend a lot of time in your room. What I’ve learned is, thats totally okay, you’re not here to please them. Now, its nice to get along with roommates and be good fiends with them but if you’re not, thats okay and totally normal. We are all difficult to live with in one way or another. I have a habit of being really clean, and for awhile I am okay with washing everyone dishes or cleaning the house, but when people take advantage of that and do not help, then I get irritated and I stop helping them. Some roommates won’t be as mature, some may be more mature, some will still be developing life skills, others will be totally capable to be on their own. You never know when you live with other people what they will do. My advice is to love them, love, love, love them, even when its hard. And trust me, there are times when it will be really difficult to love them, but, please try.
3. You will change every year.
There is a popular cliche, “People change” and while I hate the way that sounds, its true. People change a lot, one year can make a person totally different from who they were at the beginning of the year. No one stays the same, as much as we like to think we are the same, we aren’t. Do not fool yourself. Even if you don’t see it, there are things about you that have changed. There will be amazing changes for you and changes that are not that fun. God refines and builds us into who He has purposed us to be! He has amazing plans for us, and each year we get closer and closer. Try to remember who you were and look at how far you’ve come!
4. Paying bills suck but you want to
When we first get into college its nice to have help from our parents in paying bills but, it won’t always work that way. You’re going to hate paying bills but you’re going to develop a sense of independence and you’ll want to pay your own bills. Parents are great, and its nice when they help but as part of the growing process you’ll want to be on your own for real. You won’t want to rely on your parents. I read an article that defined the things that used to define adults in the 1900-1990’s. They were A) Graduating from college, B) Living in your own home, C) Being married, and D) having a job. That cuts out half of the American population today, which is sad but, I think that the more people grow the more of these things they will gain and develop.
5. Take advantage of opportunities
I do not like committing to things. I am the last person who will say yes to something, I always put maybe so there is no expectation for me to go and do anything. This is not a good thing though, there are so many opportunities for us if we only allow ourselves to go through the doors that God opens for us. I am always terrified when people ask me to help with worship but, when I do it, and trust God to lead me, I always come out with such growth and sometimes another opportunity. Opportunities can teach us, they can help us refine our skills, they can help us move forward. God doesn’t open doors for us to say, “Eh, looks good but, I don’t want to go through that door what if they don’t like me? What if something bad happens?”
6. Reading your Bible daily is super important.
I know that not everyone is a bookworm like myself but, even just reading a paragraph a day and praying can make a huge difference. When I got into college I made a habit of reading my Bible once a day. Now, it isn’t a chore, now I enjoy it, I look forward to it. The Bible is the word of God, it is the way we learn about God, and who He is, and what we are to do in life. God will often highlight a verse that is exactly what you need to hear that day. It is amazing the way that His spirit works in our lives, especially when we learn more about His word.
7. You don’t have to be introverted or extroverted.
I think sometimes we get labeled things through life and we think that we have to be those things. I have always been told that I need to be more extroverted, but I have found that its not good for me to think that way. It is more healthy for me to be who I am instead of who others want me to be. Yeah, I could go and pretend to be extroverted and get all of the positions I want in school and work but, I am introverted and God made me that way for a reason. I am good enough, I don’t have to be who others want me to be because the way God has made me is so much better than who society wants me to be. I can do more in my ministry being who I am than someone else. Extroverts, you don’t have to be more introverted, its okay to be extroverted, God created you that way for a reason! Your ability to get along with anyone and talk to anyone is great! In fact it is wonderful for evangelism and leading! Be confident in who Christ mad you to be.
8. You have to learn to eat right.
Growing up our parents help us maintain our weight but when we are on our own, our parents aren’t beside us helping us make good decisions when we go grocery shopping. I lost a ton of weight when I got into college because I started to exercise and eat right, and there have been times when I have gained weight because I wasn’t being diligent about who I was working out and eating. Now, with working out you’ll gain muscle and so sometimes you’ll gain weight but lose inches. You have to develop good eating habits and trust me you’ll be so happy that you did! You have a choice of how you live and if you make the conscious decision not to be lazy, then you’ll be where you want to be one day!
9. Relationships are important.
I want to stress this. Relationships matter, if you try to make it through college without gaining deep relationships you’re doing it wrong and you won’t be happy and at the end of it, you may not have anyone to talk to. Strive to have good friendships even if they are only three or four, those relationships will help you in so many ways. Good friendships can be the thing that gets you through the hard times. When you have good friendships that are deep, beyond surface level, you will find yourself content because you have people who speak truth into your life, and call you out when you need to be. Do not seek only surface level friendships, those are not truly friendships.
10. Be teachable.
The most important thing is you need to be teachable. Allow others to teach you what to do and about the world, and God. Do not be someone who wants to be above everyone else, don’t always seek to argue or prove your “intelligence”. You have things to learn, as do we all. Be willing to admit when you are wrong and ask for help. Being prideful, unteachable and rude will not get you anywhere or anything. You will find more joy in being teachable than “knowing” everything.