University students all across the nation began their fall semesters within the last couple of weeks. For some of these students they did this for the very first time. They left emotional parents, high school, and life routines they have always known, to embark on the college journey. As a college minister, I have seven pieces of advice that I would share with a young man or young lady calling themselves a Christian as they are entering college.
1. Find a local church family to be in community with. Let me start off by saying I love campus ministries. They play a huge purpose-filled role in the life a college student. Some college students however, connect only with a campus ministry and never plug-in with a local church family. Find a church home away from home where you can serve, worship, and fellowship in. Make sure it’s a Bible-believing, doctrinal sound church, with a heart for missions.
2. Be sure you have a daily plan for reading God’s Word. As a university student, the word “busy” is an understatement. Students have class schedules, work schedules, weekends they go home and come back, practices and games for athletes, club meetings, and the list goes on and on. In the midst of all this, time spent in God’s Word can get lost. As Christ followers, our spiritual development hugely weighs on the time we spend in God’s Word. If we want to hear from God we must be in His Word.
3. Be good stewards of time and money. Most college students would say they struggle with not having enough time or money. In regards to time management it’ s huge for a college student to be on a system. Block out times in which you will study for each class you are in. Block out times in which you will read God’s Word. Block out times for R&R. Block out times for hanging out with friends. As far as money goes… yeah I didn’t have much in college either. But what little money I did have I didn’t spend very wisely. Both of these aspects (time management and money) are much easier said than done. I’m still working on them but the key is to be getting better at them each and every day.
4. Spend quality time with mentor figures. There is something to be said about spending time with people who have “been there and done that.” Personally, I still spend time with people who have been in ministry much longer than I have. In this time I ask questions, listen, learn, pray, and take in constructive criticism. There is huge value in this. College students…please have these people in your life.
5. Spend quality time praying through decisions. The college years are full of decisions; some of these decisions are life long decisions. “What should I major in?” “Who will I date?” “Will I go to grad school or take that full-time job opportunity?” “Where is God leading me?” All these questions I have heard from countless college students. Spend hours and hours on your knees when making decisions that will impact your future.
6. Choose your friends wisely. Initially, this statement may sound “elementary” or like something you would say to a middle school or high school student. However, this is huge for college students. As the old saying goes, “you are who you hang out with.” I have seen too many “God-fearing” students step on a college campus and get lost. I’m not referencing getting lost trying to find a class (which I have seen and is pretty funny) but lost in life and faith. College students… who are you allowing to influence your life?
7. LOVE and enjoy the college years. This really is a very exciting time in your life. Go to sporting events and paint up your face. Go on an international mission trip. Eat cold pizza from the night before (just kidding I would not suggest doing that!). Go to a restaurant with a group of friends that gives free dessert to college students. Enjoy yourself because this really is one of the most special times in your life. In the midst of the enjoyment, make wise decisions. Reflect Jesus in all you do, bring Him glory!