College 101

I promised a while back that I’d write a post for the girls headed off to college, so here it is. I hope it will apply whether you are going away or are living at home while you attend college. And even if you are attending a Christian college, heads up, because there is sin at Christian colleges too.

1. Think like a Christian in class. Don’t be afraid to be identified as a Christian. Many professors will ask leading questions to find out which ones in the class  are the Christians. Don’t back down. Hold your head up. Flunk if necessary. Remember, you are trying to impress God, not your professor.

2. Live like a Christian. If you’re in a dorm or sorority situation, you are living on the front lines. I hope you have been trained well, and you know how to handle yourself. This is no place for beginners. Let everyone know right away that you are a Christian. Don’t keep your head down. Live a holy life, and if you can’t do that in your living situation, move out.

3. Act like a Christian. Don’t cut corners, don’t make allowances or excuses, don’t watch movies or attend parties that you wouldn’t want your parents or your pastor to attend with you. Have high standards and never mind who is offended by them.

4. Choose your friends carefully and don’t fall in with the first people you meet. Get to know everyone, and then make a wise choice. This is especially true when it comes to the opposite sex. Don’t be easily impressed.

5. Read your Bible regularly. Read it before you read anything else. That will keep you in the book. Get involved in a Bible study.

6. Keep your commitments. Go to class. Do your assignments. Get them in on time. Don’t even think about cheating, plagiarizing, or fudging. God will not bless it.

7. Bless your parents by your behavior, your regard for them, your faithful Christian walk, and your work ethic. Talk to them about your friends, your classes, your life.

8. Receive an education. College is not about becoming worldly or sophisticated. Make use of the resources available to you. Learn. Don’t take classes that are a waste of your time and your parents’ money. Switch majors or switch colleges if necessary.

9. Remember your brothers and sisters at home. Write them. Call them. Don’t forget that they miss you. Stay connected.

10. Worship the Lord every Lord’s Day. Don’t skip or sleep in or find excuses. This is more important than everything else.

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14 thoughts on “College 101

  1. I like #2. According to each individual situation, you may be paired up with a random roommate in a dorm. I was an unbeliever who by God’s grace was paired up with a believer. (I didn’t know she was, I didn’t stay long enough to find out.) She was very kind, but I very quickly requested a room change so I could be with a highschool buddy. I later had classes with her and found her to be VERY lovely. What a loss for me! In retrospect…it was probably God sovereignly protecting her from my poor influence. So, it may even be necessary to pay a little extra (if you are able)to have a private room so as not to be paired up with the likes of me at the time. Or, like you said, you may need to move.

  2. Thank you, Mrs. Wilson.

    I would like to chime in here and emphasize the importance of number 4, choosing one’s friends carefully. During the first weeks and months away from home, it is so tempting to open up and be vulnerable to whichever group of people is the first to pay attention. BE LONELY, if that’s what it takes to protect yourself, rather than get in with the wrong crowd. If you are a bad judge of character, like me, then plan to spend a lot of time observing people before you join in and participate with them.

  3. Thanks for that Nancy. I’ll be saving this for when my boys get to that phase, the Lord willing….I think it is just as suitable for guys as it is for girls!
    God bless!

  4. Nancy, this is a great post! How exciting it is to be headed off to college, and these are very useful and practical rules to follow!

  5. This is great Nancy, thanks. It causes me to consider what I can do now to equip my 5 year old daughter with excellent character so she isn’t “a beginner” when entering college.

  6. Excellent points for all college students to remember. I went to a large university and the blessing of finding good Christian friends my freshman year helped me to not just “survive”, but for my faith to grow and be strengthened. I also began a habit of writing down my prayers in college. It was sweet time with the Lord and I still enjoy going back and being reminded of how faithful the Lord was during those important years of my life.

  7. These are wonderful thoughts not only for college but for life. We are to always think, live, and act like a christian. Friendships are important because we do influence each other greatly. But let us not think that hiding in our Christian Cliques is spiritual. I believe a good rule of thumb is that if my “walk” is weak and therefore influenced negatively by another then it is my Christian duty to deny that friendship. But I pray that my walk in the Lord can be strong enough that it influences others for Christ. The world needs to see Christ and the only way they can do that is if they can see our lives up close and personal. The questions is, “who is the stronger influencer in the relationship?”

  8. So true. I regret all the poor decisions/compromises I made in university, and I failed on every single one of these points. I went away to school thinking that I was a strong, committed Christian, and once I made friends and lived with unbelievers, I discovered how weak my faith really was…and I don’t think we can know until we’re there…so best to avoid those situations. It was truly a low period in my walk with God, and I know that I’m blessed to not have fallen away from Him completely and instead be restored.

    I know we will be very careful and involved in our daughter’s post-secondary education.

  9. I’m just chiming in here because I was a new believer when I went across the country for college. I was also a college athlete, and want to underscore that “Christian” college does not necessarily mean Christian athletes. Few athletes in our college were even remotely associated with the church, much less standing firm against the daily profaning of God’s name. Our coaches were thoroughgoing pagans. The Christians I knew were wobbly-kneed at best, and most of them did not return to the church until after college, if at all. My first few months of college were the loneliest of days for me. I remember regularly lying on my dorm room floor pleading with God to give me godly friends. He did. And a life-transforming church, a biblical campus ministry, and a family away from family.

    But I don’t intend to send my daughter into the same situation. My mother did all she knew to send me to a good school, a safe school. But we learned the hard way that Christian in name can be miles away from Christian in creed and conduct.

    If a college girl finds herself in a situation similar to mine, I would encourage her to find a good church family as soon as possible. Stick as close to the people of God as possible. I didn’t have a car, and finding a church was quite difficult at first. But once I settled on a church (and walked almost a mile to worship every week!), a family in the church offered to pick me up every Sunday. Truly, God’s people saw me through my college years. The church was the center of my college experience, the core of my growth as a person.

  10. #1: “Many professors will ask leading questions to find out which ones in the class are the Christians.” If my experience is any indication, this isn’t true. There may be a few bullies out there, but if there were many of them I’d have certainly found one. I never had a single professor that cared a thing about what religion anyone was.

    #8 is ambiguous. Don’t take classes that are a waste of time and money? The lack of clarity is in what is a waste of time and money. Black studies is generally a waste of both, but learning Latin isn’t, even if your major doesn’t require it. College is to some degree about becoming ‘worldly and sophisticated’, because education in general is about producing a certain kind of person, and almost no one throughout history has educated towards a goal of provincial and primitive students. But this is complicated by the fact that our society is currently absurd and has no idea what it means to be sophisticated and worldly. So you may actually agree with everything I just said.

  11. Wonderful advice, I wish I’d read that 13 years ago before I showed up at UI! Thankfully, God was more kind than my cluelessness deserved.

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